History of the Loop 101

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Remember the song called “California” by the band Phantom Planet? Well, if you don’t remember or haven’t heard of it, one of their great lines in the song is “…driving down the 101..” And while this references the 101 in California and not Arizona, some Phoenix residents really took it to heart whenever they heard it on the radio.

Believe it or not, the 101 actually has a pretty deep and interesting history. Looping all the way from Glendale/Goodyear to Tempe/Chandler, the 101 is the only beltway that can get you from one side of Greater Phoenix to another.

Construction on the Loop 101 started in 1988, and was technically finished in 2001, despite the amount of frequent roadwork. Assigned as a massive construction project in 1987, the Loop 101 was originally designed to be two different freeways, the SR417 and the SR117. The Loop 202 was also once part of the 101 but became independent of the 101 in 1991.

Not everything happening with the 101 has been particularly good for citizens. It was only ten years ago that a speed enforcement photos became a reality in people’s lives. In 2006, the city of Scottsdale fashioned a large number of photo enforcing radars on the 101. Even though the intention was to stop the number of accidents, the people became aggravated with the tickets they were receiving for speeding violations. If a person violated the speed limit, they would receive a $162 fine. Enough people became so upset with this that the radar photo enforcement cameras were removed from the 101 in 2010.

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