A freeway looks unremarkable from a car, but on foot what becomes apparent is the outsized scale.
Signs at the roadside that appeared to be just a few feet tall are double your initial guess. A bridge's small rise in elevation becomes a hike challenging for its steepness. And a mile is never longer than when it's traveled step by step.
On Tuesday, people can see for themselves the size of the soon-to-open stretch of the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway. A celebration will be held that night, and everyone is welcome to walk its 4.83-mile length.
"It's a unique experience to see how large a freeway actually is," Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Doug Nintzel said.
ADOT officials anticipate the highway will open to traffic in time for the morning rush hour on July 21.
This is the final leg of the freeway system approved by the voters of Maricopa County in 1985. So, people also have an opportunity to check out the road network in its entirety - 137 miles of asphalt connecting east Mesa with Sun City, not to mention Chandler to Scottsdale and Avondale to Gilbert.
Tuesday's event kicks off at 5 p.m., and an hour later will be the ceremonial ribbon-cutting. Among those participating will be Gov. Janet Napolitano, ADOT director Victor Mendez and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.
Also taking place during the three-hour festivities will be a 5K fun run, 5K bike ride and a hula hoop contest.
In the meantime, visitors can check out the sweet rides of local car clubs, fire engines and a helicopter from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Also, there will be information booths from community and business organizations, and ADOT will be interviewing people about what the opening of the road means to them.
Entrances to the event are the southbound on-ramps at McDowell and Brown roads; the festivities will be held on the northbound lanes.