Queen Creek, AZ

New stretch of State Route 24 now open along Maricopa-Pinal County line

Jeremy Beren

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Courtesy of Town of Queen Creek

By Jeremy Beren / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Queen Creek, Ariz.) — Drivers commuting along the border between Maricopa and Pinal counties received welcome news on Thursday, as the Arizona Department of Transportation confirmed work to extend State Route 24 was complete.

SR-24 has been lengthened by an additional four miles between Williams Field Road and Ironwood Drive, putting the finishing touches on a construction project that began in November 2020. The expansion means SR-24 westbound now ends at Loop 202, better connecting residents in the southeast Valley with the Phoenix metropolitan area.

“Getting us to this point has taken a great deal of partnership between ADOT, the city of Mesa, the Maricopa Association of Governments and its member communities, as well as the Federal Highway Administration and Pinal County,” ADOT director John Halikowski said in a statement.

"It's going to be very important"

Originally, SR-24 was built as a four-lane expressway to relieve congestion prompted by consistent, continuous growth toward the eastern edge of Pinal County.

The project's first mile, between Ellsworth and Williams Field Roads, opened ahead of schedule in April. It allowed drivers the ability to hop off Loop 202 and head eastbound along SR-24.

"We're able to provide more traffic capacity in the area by giving drivers this four-lane east-west route," ADOT spokesperson Doug Nintzel told ABC15. "It's going to be very important, especially with the congestion that has been growing on Ellsworth Road."

As of last June, Queen Creek's population has exceeded 68,000, and the town's median age (a shade over 34-years old) is the youngest in the expanding East Valley.

The newly completed $77 million widening of SR-24 is expected to accommodate the shifting demographics and increased traffic flow on the eastern edge of Pinal's border with Maricopa County.

Watch your speed — and watch for future projects

Officials are stressing that the extension does not mean SR-24 is now a freeway.

According to ADOT, the speed limit along the new roadway is set at 45 miles per hour, and there are traffic signals along the five-mile route's intersections. These intersections are at Williams Field, Signal Butte, and Meridian Roads and Ironwood Drive. Drivers have on- and off-ramp connections at Ellsworth Road.

ADOT's Nintzel also told ABC15 that longer-term plans are in the works, building pathways between rural Pinal and Phoenix metro.

Nintzel iterated that ADOT and the Maricopa Association of Governments, which played a significant role in the SR-24 expansion, are still studying the feasibility of a proposed 50-mile "north-south corridor" between U.S. Route 60 in Apache Junction and Interstate 10 in Coolidge and Eloy.

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Jeremy is a freelance journalist covering health, energy, labor, and local politics. Reach him at jeremy.beren@newsbreak.com.

Phoenix, AZ
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