Arizona State Route 74 Information

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State Route 74 marker

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

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.

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

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.

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.


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]


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
Morristown0.000.00 US 60 – Phoenix, WickenburgWestern terminus
Phoenix30.4048.92 I-17 – Flagstaff, PhoenixEastern 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


  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.

External links

Route map:

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