Arizona State Route 74

Last updated

Arizona 74.svg

State Route 74
Route information
Maintained by ADOT
Length30.40 mi [1] (48.92 km)
Major junctions
West endUS 60.svg US 60 near Morristown
East endI-17.svg I-17 in Phoenix
Highway system
Arizona 73.svg SR 73 SR 75 Arizona 75.svg

Arizona State Route 74 (SR 74), locally known as the Carefree Highway, is a state highway in central Arizona that stretches east to west from its junction with U.S. Route 60 (US 60) just south of Wickenburg to its junction with Interstate 17 (I-17) in North Phoenix. It serves Lake Pleasant Regional Park and serves as a northern bypass around the often congested stretches of US 60 through the northwest suburbs of the Phoenix metropolitan area. From end to end, it is 30.4 miles (48.9 km) long.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Wickenburg, Arizona Town in Arizona, United States

Wickenburg is a town primarily located in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, with a portion in neighboring Yavapai County. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town is 6,363.

Interstate 17 (I-17) is an Interstate Highway located entirely within the U.S. state of Arizona. I-17's southern terminus lies within Phoenix, at Interstate 10, and its northern terminus is in Flagstaff, at Interstate 40. The majority of I-17 is known as the Arizona Veterans Highway. In the Phoenix metropolitan area, it is mostly known as the Black Canyon Freeway, however the southern 4.16 miles (6.69 km) is part of the Maricopa Freeway. The portion of the highway south of Cordes Lakes was built along the alignment of SR 69, while the northern part was built along old SR 79's alignment. I-17 is one of the most scenic Interstate Highways as it gains more than a mile in altitude between Phoenix at 1,117 feet (340 m) and Flagstaff at 7,000 feet (2,100 m). The highway features several scenic view exits along its route that overlook the many mountains and valleys found in northern Arizona.


The Carefree Highway is the inspiration for a Gordon Lightfoot song of the same name. [2]

Gordon Lightfoot Canadian singer-songwriter

Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr. is a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music. He is credited with helping to define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s. He is often referred to as Canada's greatest songwriter and is known internationally as a folk-rock legend.

Carefree Highway (song) 1974 single by Gordon Lightfoot

"Carefree Highway" is a song written by Gordon Lightfoot and was the second single release from his 1974 album, Sundown. It peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent one week at #1 on the Easy Listening chart in October 1974.

Route description

Stretches of the highway are known as the Morristown-New River Highway, Lake Pleasant Highway, and Carefree Highway, the last of which actually extends 12 miles (19 km) past I-17 to Tom Darlington Drive in Carefree. This stretch of Carefree Highway is sometimes numbered as SR 74 on maps, but is not actually part of the state highway system.

Carefree, Arizona Town in Arizona, United States

Carefree is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population of the town is 3,363.

This route offers good views of undeveloped desert landscapes, especially of large saguaro and other desert plants. It is frequently used as an alternate route to US 60 (Grand Avenue) between Phoenix and Wickenburg for motorists traveling to and from Las Vegas, Nevada, with fewer traffic signals than using US 60 directly.

Saguaro species of plant

The saguaro is an arborescent (tree-like) cactus species in the monotypic genus Carnegiea, which can grow to be over 40 feet (12 m) tall. It is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Mexican State of Sonora, and the Whipple Mountains and Imperial County areas of California. The saguaro blossom is the state wildflower of Arizona. Its scientific name is given in honor of Andrew Carnegie. In 1994, Saguaro National Park, near Tucson, Arizona, was designated to help protect this species and its habitat.

U.S. Route 60 highway in the United States

U.S. Route 60 (US 60) is an east–west United States highway, traveling 2,670 mi (4,300 km) from southwestern Arizona to the Atlantic coast in Virginia. Despite the final "0" in its number, indicating a transcontinental designation, the 1926 route formerly ended in Springfield, Missouri, at its intersection with the major US 66. In fact, US 66 was almost given the US 60 number.


From 1927 to 1931, SR 74 was assigned from Wickenburg west to Ehrenberg; this stretch of highway was renumbered as part of US 60. In 1962, SR 74 was assigned to a new planned alignment, to be built from New River southwest to Morristown. [3] The leg east of Lake Pleasant Regional Park was originally planned to angle northeast away from its current alignment. [4] But by 1974, the highway heading eastbound abruptly ended southeast of Lake Pleasant, at Lake Pleasant Road and the Carefree Highway; that same year, Carefree Highway between SR 74 and I-17 was designated SR 74T (Temporary 74). [5] On October 18, 1989, the "Temporary" banner was officially removed from the Carefree Highway leg. [6]

Ehrenberg, Arizona CDP in Arizona, United States

Ehrenberg, also historically spelled "Ehrenburg" is a census-designated place (CDP) in La Paz County, Arizona, United States. The population was 1,470 at the 2010 census. Ehrenberg is named for its founder, Herman Ehrenberg.

New River, Arizona CDP in Arizona, United States

New River is an unincorporated community and a census-designated place (CDP) in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. The population was 14,952 at the 2010 census.

Morristown, Arizona Census-designated place in Arizona, United States

Morristown is a census-designated place in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Phoenix, at the junction of State Route 74 and U.S. Route 60.


The passage of a sales tax extension by voters in Maricopa County in 2004 provided significant funding for highway improvements throughout the region. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) will use a portion of that funding to acquire right-of-way along SR 74 for future improvements, but has no plans to upgrade the highway to a controlled access freeway until sometime after 2025. [7]

ADOT is also in the planning stages for a bypass around Wickenburg. This bypass would effectively continue SR 74 beyond its current western terminus with US 60 to connect to the planned alignment of future I-11. [8] Whether this bypass would be marked as SR 74 or not is undetermined.

Major intersections

The entire route is in Maricopa County.

Locationmi [9] kmDestinationsNotes
Morristown 0.000.00US 60.svg US 60  Phoenix, Wickenburg Western terminus
Phoenix 30.4048.92I-17.svg I-17  Flagstaff, Phoenix Eastern terminus, exit 223 on I-17; continues east as Carefree Highway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also

Related Research Articles

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U.S. Route 60 in Arizona highway in Arizona

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U.S. Route 93 in Arizona highway in Arizona

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U.S. Route 89 in Arizona highway in Arizona

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Roads and freeways in metropolitan Phoenix regional highway network

The metropolitan area of Phoenix in the U.S. state of Arizona contains one of the nation's largest and fastest-growing freeway systems, boasting over 1,405 lane miles as of 2005.

Below is a list and summary of the unconstructed state highways in the U.S. state of Arizona. Some are currently proposed while the others have been since cancelled prior to being constructed.


  1. Staff (2008). "2008 ADOT Highway Log" (PDF). Arizona Department of Transportation . Retrieved April 17, 2008.
  2. Naglin, Nancy. "After "Sundown" Gordon Lightfoot makes up for lost time". Crawdaddy (April 1975). Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  3. Breyer, Joe. "Arizona DOT Right-of-Way Resolution 1962-053". Arizona Highway Data. Works Consulting, LLC. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  4. Breyer, Joe. "Arizona DOT Right-of-Way Resolution 1968-062". Arizona Highway Data. Works Consulting, LLC. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  5. Breyer, Joe. "Arizona DOT Right-of-Way Resolution 1974-053". Arizona Highway Data. Works Consulting, LLC. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  6. Breyer, Joe. "Arizona DOT Right-of-Way Resolution 1989-10-A-080". Arizona Highway Data. Works Consulting, LLC. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  7. Staff. "State Route 74 (SR 74) Planned Improvements". Arizona Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  8. Interstate 11 Corridor (PDF) (Map). Maricopa Association of Governments. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 12, 2013. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  9. "2012 State Highway System Log" (PDF). ADOT. Retrieved 3 March 2015.

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