This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Looking at construction of roads, bridges, and freeways in Phoenix, Arizona


Like all kids, I loved to watch construction. And like most people, I can't even began to understand the process. I still call the vehicles that I see on construction sites "Tonka Toys". I slow down for construction workers (and not just because fines double in construction zones, although that may be only in California, I don't remember?).

Luckily, I have spent most of my adult life in Phoenix, which has always had construction. I have a special interest in freeway construction, which, although it puzzles most people that I care about it, is some of the most amazing architecture and construction that I've ever seen. And I someones wonder if there are other people out there who feel the same way that I do?

I live in the west valley and nowadays the construction of the 303 freeway is at its most amazing. Yeah, in a few years people will just take it all for granted, or complain about it, because that's what we all do with roads and freeways. Somehow most of us just imagine that they just suddenly appear, like magic.

I'm interested in the history of Phoenix, and I collect old photos and post them on a Google+ page, and that makes looking at the roads, bridges, and freeways of the Phoenix area all that more amazing. Sometimes I'll just go take a look at a chunk of empty land and wonder how in the world they figured out where to build the road, how to build the bridge, and how something as gigantic as a stack on a freeway interchange could be designed. But there they are!

And it gets even better, and more complex. It's not enough nowadays to build freeways that work, they have to look great. There are graphics on them, and of course, landscaping around them. Sure, we take them for granted after they're built, that's what we're supposed to do. But the people who design them, and build them, deserve more respect than that. At the very least you could slow down. And may I recommend that you take a look at construction? You knew how to do when you were a kid!

Image above: construction the Black Canyon Freeway (I-17) in 1961.



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