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I-10 Exit Reconstruction At Old Us 80 Interchange


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#1 mga707

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 12:07 AM

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is currently in the midst of a major I-10 exit realignment/reconstruction at Exit 289 east of Tucson. This exit, signed as Marsh Station Road, is significant to 'roadies' as it is the east end of of an old US 80 loop off of the current alignment. This loop extends eight miles west to Exit 281, the SR83/Sonoita exit, and is well-known as a prime example of 1930's-era US highway construction. The loop was bypassed circa 1955-56 by a newer, straighter US 80 section over Davidson Canyon that was incorporated into Interstate 10 by the early 1960s.
The reconstruction of the Marsh Station Road exit is extensive, with the entire exit being moved eastward about a mile and a half. Once the new exit is completed, in a couple of years, the old exit, including a part of the original 1920s Old Spanish Trail/US 80 alignment, will be removed and the Interstate alignment widened where the old exit underpass once stood. As it is now, this is the only section of I-10 outside of the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas where the speed limit is reduced to 65mph due to the narrowness of the median. Once the new exit is opened and the Interstate realigned, it will be 75 all the way.
So, if one wants to drive the full extent of the old 80 loop, do it soon!

#2 mobilene

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 07:28 AM

I understand that roads are here to serve the modern need, but it always makes me sad to see an example of old road engineering get ripped out. jim

#3 mga707

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 08:32 PM

I understand that roads are here to serve the modern need, but it always makes me sad to see an example of old road engineering get ripped out. jim


I know what you mean. One could always tell that this particular exit had some years on it just by the way it was designed. 1955 state-of-the-art doesn't take long to become 2010 totally obsolete!

#4 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 08:34 PM

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is currently in the midst of a major I-10 exit realignment/reconstruction at Exit 289 east of Tucson. This exit, signed as Marsh Station Road, is significant to 'roadies' as it is the east end of of an old US 80 loop off of the current alignment. This loop extends eight miles west to Exit 281, the SR83/Sonoita exit, and is well-known as a prime example of 1930's-era US highway construction. The loop was bypassed circa 1955-56 by a newer, straighter US 80 section over Davidson Canyon that was incorporated into Interstate 10 by the early 1960s.
The reconstruction of the Marsh Station Road exit is extensive, with the entire exit being moved eastward about a mile and a half. Once the new exit is completed, in a couple of years, the old exit, including a part of the original 1920s Old Spanish Trail/US 80 alignment, will be removed and the Interstate alignment widened where the old exit underpass once stood. As it is now, this is the only section of I-10 outside of the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas where the speed limit is reduced to 65mph due to the narrowness of the median. Once the new exit is opened and the Interstate realigned, it will be 75 all the way.
So, if one wants to drive the full extent of the old 80 loop, do it soon!


I took a look on Google Maps at that section. Very evocative of the period. No shoulders, blind hills.....just a ribbon across the desert....GREAT! Thanks for the heads up!

Dave

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PS. I was at the Museum of Flight today. As i recall, you were planning to visit there. You will enjoy it.

#5 mga707

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 11:19 PM

I took a look on Google Maps at that section. Very evocative of the period. No shoulders, blind hills.....just a ribbon across the desert....GREAT! Thanks for the heads up!

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!


What is even 'neater' about this particular old 80 section--which I had not discovered until I read Jeff Jenson's excellent "Broadway of America" guidebook last year--is that there are several locations along this loop where the original 1921 roadbed is still visible, along with old bridge abutments, etc. The alignment was slightly changed in several places circa 1933, which is probably when the first blacktop was laid down. In one small area there are four distinct road eras: The original 1921 dirt Bankhead Highway/Broadway of America/Old Spanish Trail, the 1933 improvement/slight realignment, the 1955-56 major realignment over Davidson Canyon, eliminating this section as part of US 80, and the early 1960's overlay of Interstate 10 over the 1955/56 alignment, with two new lanes of blacktop, and a twin bridge over the canyon, paralleling the 1955/56 roadway. Now the interchange rebuild/realignment will add a fifth era to part of this section. Lots of highway history here.

PS. I was at the Museum of Flight today. As i recall, you were planning to visit there. You will enjoy it.


Actually, I've been to the excellent Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, Seattle, although it has been a good 20 years. Next summer I'll hit all of the Portland-area aviation history establishments, which will all be new to me. Will get back to BFI for another jaunt through the Museum of Flight (love the original Boeing "Red Barn"!) someday!

#6 DennyG

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:23 PM

Sorry to see this go. It's unlikely that I'll get to drive it before it is altered but I've noted it just in case. Thanks for the information.

#7 knightfan26917

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 01:02 AM

I know what you mean. One could always tell that this particular exit had some years on it just by the way it was designed. 1955 state-of-the-art doesn't take long to become 2010 totally obsolete!


NO kidding.

Here, the intersection of US Route 20 and Shales Parkway, on the east side of Elgin IL, was originally designed years ago. It was a "regular" intersection, with a 4-way stop light. It was obviously not designed with a lot of traffic in mind ... at least, not the extent it sees today.

Recently, that intersection was redesigned. While the 4-way stoplight remains, traffic turning right off Shales Parkway onto west-bound US Route 20 no longer has to stop. The right turn lane was turned into an entrance-ramp-like "exit" onto US Route 20 ... and it keeps traffic flowing SO much better than it did before, especially since, at that point, west-bound US Route 20 turns into the bypass through Elgin.



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#8 Roamndav

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 09:52 AM

Just to expound a little, though true that the exit is being reworked, we want folks to kknow that the vast majority of this loop is blissfully untouched from its last major re-alignment work back in the Thirties and remains a wonderful time capsule - not to be missed. Rolling hills through a mesquite studded terrain, pebbly outcroppings and roadcuts; the historic 1921 Cienega Creek arch bridge and it's high and long neighboring Union Pacific RR trestle make this additional 15 minute side trip a worthy excursion for those that are aware of it!

#9 mga707

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 11:29 PM

Just to expound a little, though true that the exit is being reworked, we want folks to kknow that the vast majority of this loop is blissfully untouched from its last major re-alignment work back in the Thirties and remains a wonderful time capsule - not to be missed. Rolling hills through a mesquite studded terrain, pebbly outcroppings and roadcuts; the historic 1921 Cienega Creek arch bridge and it's high and long neighboring Union Pacific RR trestle make this additional 15 minute side trip a worthy excursion for those that are aware of it!


Agree totally with the above. The best thing for me about the 'Cienega loop' of old 80 is that it is only about a 15-minute drive from my house on the southeast side of Tucson to the west end of the loop at the !-10/SR 83 exit. One of my favorite 'Sunday drives'!
Kind of funny that we will be losing the mid-1950s Marsh Station Road interchange (at the east end of the loop) but keeping the 1930s highway alignment that is the loop itself.

#10 DennyG

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:25 PM

I'll be visiting a son in San Diego in a few weeks and I've plotted a route to this loop several times to see if I can work it in. It's clearly too far away but I'll probably plot it another time or two to see if it gets any closer.

#11 mga707

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:35 AM

A quick update: The new Marsh Station Road/Interstate 10 interchange is now open. It is nearly a mile east of the old interchange, which is where pre-1956 US 80 veers off from the I-10 alignment. The old Marsh Station Road bridge over I-10 is set for demolition on the night of April 8/9, which will of course require the Interstate to be closed for some hours that night. I plan to drive over there at some point over the next week to take a last look at the 65-year-old bridge, and will naturally drive the 'old 80' loop at least in one direction.

#12 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:21 PM

A quick update: The new Marsh Station Road/Interstate 10 interchange is now open. It is nearly a mile east of the old interchange, which is where pre-1956 US 80 veers off from the I-10 alignment. The old Marsh Station Road bridge over I-10 is set for demolition on the night of April 8/9, which will of course require the Interstate to be closed for some hours that night. I plan to drive over there at some point over the next week to take a last look at the 65-year-old bridge, and will naturally drive the 'old 80' loop at least in one direction.


It is appropriate that the "gang" here has a representative pay our last respects! I nominate you, and propose to give you all the rights and responsibilities pertaining to the position! ;) Take photos!

Dave

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#13 mga707

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 11:11 PM

It is appropriate that the "gang" here has a representative pay our last respects! I nominate you, and propose to give you all the rights and responsibilities pertaining to the position! ;) Take photos!

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!



OK, I will! I realize I made a bonehead 'math error': A 1956-vintage overpass bridge is 55 years old, NOT 65!

#14 mga707

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 03:01 PM

Drove out to the Marsh Station Road exit today and took some photos of the old overpass bridge before it is demolished next weekend. Had to 'bushwhack' to it as the old approaches have already been obliterated.
The new interchange is a full one and one half miles east of the old--don't know why ADOT (AZ Dept. of Transpotation) decided on such a large variance between the two bridges. Attached are two pictures of the old bridge, one showing it's limited (15'2") clearance), one shot looking across the top of the overpass, and, as a bonus, a picture of a remnant of the original 1920-era Old Spanish Trail/Broadway of America/Bankhead Highway, taken from the mid-1930s alignment of US 80, about a mile or so east of the AZ 83 (Sonoita Highway)/I-10 interchange. Thanks to Jeff Jensen and his wonderful book, "Drive the Broadway of America", for cluing me in as to the existence of these old pre-80 segments along the Marsh Station Road segment of old 80.




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Edited by mga707, 03 April 2011 - 03:05 PM.


#15 DennyG

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 07:20 AM

Thanks for the photos. I'm guessing that last shot is of the abutments that Jeff describes as "sitting right in the median". If so, then I'm further guessing that they are near the point where the unnamed road running west from Empirita Road turns north to pass under the expressway. Is my guessing close?

#16 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:20 AM

Drove out to the Marsh Station Road exit today and took some photos of the old overpass bridge before it is demolished next weekend. Had to 'bushwhack' to it as the old approaches have already been obliterated.
The new interchange is a full one and one half miles east of the old--don't know why ADOT (AZ Dept. of Transpotation) decided on such a large variance between the two bridges. Attached are two pictures of the old bridge, one showing it's limited (15'2") clearance), one shot looking across the top of the overpass, and, as a bonus, a picture of a remnant of the original 1920-era Old Spanish Trail/Broadway of America/Bankhead Highway, taken from the mid-1930s alignment of US 80, about a mile or so east of the AZ 83 (Sonoita Highway)/I-10 interchange. Thanks to Jeff Jensen and his wonderful book, "Drive the Broadway of America", for cluing me in as to the existence of these old pre-80 segments along the Marsh Station Road segment of old 80.




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That last photo is pure gold! Can you imagine a car on that road? Sites like that are rare and a joy to visit, and to see in a photo.

I am having a little trouble deciphering one aspect of the image, however. Obviously it is a crossing of a culvert of a type fairly common in the southwest of my younger days. What I can't reconcile is what appears to be an overly high concrete "rail" (abutment?)on the left. What is that? (We are in a remodel, so Jeff's excellent book is safely in a box....somewhere.)

Do you happen to have the coordinates for that photo?

Dave

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#17 mga707

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 03:07 PM

Thanks for the photos. I'm guessing that last shot is of the abutments that Jeff describes as "sitting right in the median". If so, then I'm further guessing that they are near the point where the unnamed road running west from Empirita Road turns north to pass under the expressway. Is my guessing close?


No, the old abutments are between the 1921 Cienega Creek bridge and the AZ 83 exit (Exit 281), just to the north of Marsh Station Road, which is old 80. From Jeff's book, page 52: "Re-zeroing our odometers at the bridge, we continue our journey along the old road to the SW. The road rises and falls with the terrain, and at about two miles, watch for old bridge abutments in the washes...a sure fire sign of the old B(ankhead)H(ighway) alignment which will parallel you on the right all the way until I-10."

I read the section on page 51 about the old abutments in the I-10 median area, but invisible from the highway, by Empirita Road (Exit 292). Have not yet checked it out, but will!

#18 mga707

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 03:15 PM

That last photo is pure gold! Can you imagine a car on that road? Sites like that are rare and a joy to visit, and to see in a photo.

I am having a little trouble deciphering one aspect of the image, however. Obviously it is a crossing of a culvert of a type fairly common in the southwest of my younger days. What I can't reconcile is what appears to be an overly high concrete "rail" (abutment?)on the left. What is that? (We are in a remodel, so Jeff's excellent book is safely in a box....somewhere.)

Do you happen to have the coordinates for that photo?

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!


Dave--
Please see my above answer to Denny G's post as to where the shot was taken. Sorry, do not have coordinates, but it is about two miles from the old bridge and maybe a mile or so from where Marsh Station Road effectively becomes the I-10 frontage road, paralleling the highway for about a half-mile before one reaches Exit 281 (SR 83).
The abutments date from circa 1920, so the missing portions could certainly have been reused for other purposes after the road was realigned and paved in the mid-1930s, especially if the bridge was made from wood.

#19 mga707

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 04:42 PM

I again drove east today on Interstate 10 to see the results of the Marsh Station Road demolition this past Friday night/Saturday morning. Sure enough, the overpass is gone...only the uprights are left standing. I also took Jeff Jensen's book with me to explore some of the other old/80/Bankhead Highway sites that he mentions on pp. 51/52, including the old bridge abutments at the Empirita Road exit that still stand on either side of the railroad tracks in the present I-10 median. Very interesting to see!
Since I've nearly used up my "global upload quota" (anyone know if that quota is ever replenished?), I'll only leave one picture here, of the "fine 1933 bridge" on the Marsh Station Road old 80 segment that Jeff mentions on page 52 of his book.
I have added some other shots to the member's gallery. Hope you enjoy them.

Attached Files


Edited by mga707, 10 April 2011 - 05:13 PM.


#20 mga707

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 12:19 AM

Finally, an update from the AZ Dept. of Transportation (ADOT) on this multi-stage Marsh Station Road (old US80) interchange realignment: Early next year (2013) the old Southern Pacific (now Union Pacific) railroad bridge across Interstate 10 is scheduled to be demolished. This bridge is located just to the west of where the old Marsh Station Road overpass stood until it was demolished in 2011 (see above). Once the railroad bridge is gone, the short 65MPH section of I-10 in this area will be replaced with new pavement and a much wider median, so that it will have the same 75MPH speed limit as the rest of the highway. When this happens, the last vestige of this early (mid-1950s) limited access (freeway) section of US80/Interstate 10 will be history. Don't worry, the original two-lane 1930s old US 80 that parallels it is still there and drivable!




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