California 14, a major north-south corridor connecting metropolitan Los Angeles with the Eastern Sierra, was formerly part of transcontinental U.S. 6. It begins at Interstate 5/Golden State Freeway at the massive Newhall Pass interchange near Sylmar in the city of Los Angeles and extends north as the Antelope Valley Freeway to serve Santa Clarita, Palmdale, Lancaster, and Rosamond. Once in Kern County, the highway passes through the business section of Mojave, then resumes through the Mojave Desert toward a rendezvous with U.S. 395 north of Inyokern and northwest of Ridgecrest. The section of California 14 between Mojave and U.S. 395 alternates between conventional two-lane highway, four-lane expressway, and four-lane freeway. Plans call for the entire route to eventually have four lanes.
A short section of former California 14 within the city of Santa Clarita generally between Newhall Avenue (former San Fernando Road) and Via Princessa) remains in the state highway system as California 14U. It is unclear if or when the state highway department (Caltrans) plans to relinquish this route to the city.
When U.S. 6 was truncated in 1964, with its western terminus moved to the city of Bishop in the Eastern Sierra, the remaining segment between Sylmar and Inyokern was recommissioned as California 14. Originally following the historic U.S. route along the Sierra Highway, California 14 is now largely routed onto a freeway alignment, bypassing Santa Clarita, Palmdale, Lancaster, and Rosamond. Old U.S. 6, which follows the Sierra Highway, is signed with occasional brown, historic U.S. 6 route shields in Los Angeles County.
The Sierra Highway is a long roadway that extends from Los Angeles north to Lake Tahoe via California 14, U.S. 395, and California 89. All of California 14 follows the path of the Sierra Highway. However, much of the original Sierra Highway remains separate and distinct from the freeway segment of California 14, especially between Newhall Pass and Lancaster. While most of Sierra Highway (Historic U.S. 6) is maintained by the county or cities through which it passes, an unrelinquished component of California 14/Sierra Highway remains in the state highway system in Santa Clarita.
Designated as California 14U, this state route begins at Via Princessa and extends southwest to Newhall Avenue (former San Fernando Road). The "U" means "unrelinquished" (i.e., not removed from the state highway system, even though most old alignments similar to this one have long since been removed from the state highway system). Signs are posted on California 14U, which makes it one of the few state routes in California to have a alphanumeric designation (another example of a California state route with an alphanumeric designation is California 86S in the Coachella Valley). All of California 14U follows the original alignment of U.S. 6/Sierra Highway.
The following list provides key opening dates of California 14 freeway and expressway sections:
- Interstate 5 to California 126 – December, 12, 1974
- California 126 to Lost Canyon Road – July 19, 1972 (widened September 10, 1998)
- Lost Canyon Road to Sand Canyon Road – Circa 1963 (widened September 10, 1998)
- Sand Canyon Road to Escondido Road – Circa 1963 (widened February 18, 2000)
- Escondido Road to Ward Road – Circa 1963
- Ward Road to Mountain Springs Road – June 25, 1965
- Mountain Springs Road to Avenue Q – November 1, 1966
- Avenue Q to Avenue I – November 3, 1972
- Avenue I to Rosamond Boulevard August 28, 1968
- Rosamond Boulevard to Silver Queen Road – July 25, 1972
- Silver Queen Road to South Mojave Overhead – May 1, 1990
- South Mojave Overhead to South Junction Old California 58 – Circa 1946 (widened May 1, 1990)
- South Junction Old California 58 to North Junction Old California 58 – Circa 1946 (widened July 24, 1985)
- North Junction Old California 58 to Randsburg Cutoff – Circa 1947
- Randsburg Cutoff to About 2 Miles South of Cantil Wash – Circa 1947 (widened October 31, 1994)
- 2 Miles South of Cantil Wash to Cantil Wash – Circa 1947 (widened February 28, 1980)
- Cantil Wash to 5 Miles North of Red Rock Canyon Bridge – Circa 1959
- 5 Miles North of Red Rock Canyon Bridge to Junction California 178 West – Circa 1947 (widened January 29, 1968)
- Junction California 178 West to 1.5 Mile North of Junction California 178 East – Circa 1947
- 1.5 Mile North of Junction California 178 East to U.S. 395 Separation – Circa 1947 (widened May 2, 1994)
Many thanks to C.J. Moon for his assistance in providing this historical chronology.
|Scenes Pertaining to California 14|
|Historic U.S. 6 and California 14U/Sierra Highway north|
||California 14U is an unrelinquished segment of former U.S. 6 between Newhall Pass and Via Princessa in Santa Clarita. Signs for the route are posted on northbound between California 126/Newhall Avenue and Friendly Valley Parkway. This segment of highway runs through a deep rock cut that remains the custody of Caltrans rather than the city of Santa Clarita. This reassurance shield photo was taken along northbound U.S. 6/California 14U after the Newhall Avenue (former San Fernando Road/U.S. 99) intersection in Santa Clarita. Photo taken 12/20/09.|
||As of 2009, California 14U is one of two suffixed California state routes. The other is California 86S, which connects Interstate 10 with California 86 in the vicinity of Indio. Photo taken 12/20/09.|
||The next signalized intersection along California 14U north is with Dockweiler Drive. Another California 14U reassurance shield is posted here. Photos taken 12/20/09.|
||Northbound California 14U (U.S. 6) meets Golden Valley Road (Cross Valley Connector west to California 126 west to Ventura) at this intersection. Photo taken 12/20/09.|
||Soon thereafter, the next signalized intersection along northbound California 14U (U.S. 6)/Sierra Highway is with Friendly Valley Parkway. The final reassurance shield for California 14U is posted here. The interchange with Via Princessa is visible at the bottom of this hill; California 14U is presumed to end at this point based on Caltrans records of the unlikely state route. Photo taken 12/20/09.|