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The philosophy of when a highway ceases to exist?

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Max Rockatansky:
I think for most this is probably a straight forward answer in that a highway ceases to exist when a government body like a State DOT, Legislature or something like the AASHTO says it does.  That said, Iím finding this narrow definition to be subjectively challenging in light of several oddities in the world of highways.

-  Example one: Highways that continue to exist by technicality.

A good example of this would be CA 187 on Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles.  The relinquishment of CA 187 was approved by the Legislature and California Transportation Commission during 2015-16.  The hook here is twofold; the legislative forgot to delete the routing of CA 187 by law and there is still field signage on route in addition to active highways like I-10.  I tend to believe CA 187 exists by technicality.  Subjectively judge for yourself:

When I was researching the history of CA 225 the routing was very clearly relinquished by the legislature and all signage was removed.  Amusingly I found that Caltrans still maintained an underpass in the Caltrans Postmile Tool as part of CA 225 rather than a collateral facility of US 101.  This has been since corrected in the Caltrans Postmile Tool but CA 225 still appears to have never been legislatively deleted:

-  Example two: highways that are signed over a segment they by a different authority than normal.

When I drove the defined route of CA 130 my trip took me past the defined eastern terminus to at Mount Hamilton to San Antonio Valley Road.  For whatever reason Santa Clara County chose to place home brew style CA 130 signage east to the Merced County Line.  I tend to be of the view that this example on San Antonio Valley Road is at best a glorified County Route and not a segment of CA 130.  My opinion is further swayed by the fact that CA 130 has a planned routing which never was intended to carry San Antonio Valley Road.

Conversely CA 180, CA 120 and CA 140 all have continuation signage in National Parks on NPS maintained roads.  The CA 180 signage in Grant Grove is Caltrans spec but the CA 140 and CA 120 signage in Yosemite is not.  All three highways are very clearly conveyed to be continuous in August 1934 California Highways & Public Worke during their initial definition through their respective National Parks.  To me each counts as existing because it is clear the California Highway Commission did not intend to have state maintenance denote if a Sign State Route existed or not.  This is further backed up by the California Transportation Commission which still puts continuation signage clauses in relinquishment agreements.

-  Example three: post mortem resurrection

In the case of something like US Route 66 as it is defined by the AASHTO the highway has long been officially dead.  That said, numerous other agencies and groups have taken it upon themselves to sign US 66 post mortem.  I tend to be of the opinion that this is not a resurrection given the AASHTO clearly since 1926 has had sole dominion over deciding whether a US Route exists or not. 

In the case of the Lincoln Highway it can be well signed and has an active private association promoting its existence.  I tend to be of the opinion since there was never really a clearly defined death for the Lincoln Highway (unlike some other Auto Trails) that it never actually died or has been effectively resurrected. 

Any thoughts on this out in the crowd? 

Example 1 doesn't exist in Indiana because route numbers aren't written into law. If INDOT says a route ceases to exist, no other action is required.

Example 2 doesn't exist in Indiana because only INDOT signs routes. There were some decommissioned routes in Clark County that the county signed as county routes using the same numbers, but they marked them as "County Highway" on the shields and not with state highway shields.

For example 3, the Lincoln Highway and Michigan Road are signed, but that's done by non-government organizations and they aren't official state routes.

Max Rockatansky:
To clarify my first post, if anyone has an additional example on how to view this please share.  I donít want to make it seem like this discussion is limited to the three examples above. 

I did think of one example in Indiana - Business US Routes. They aren't official INDOT routes and aren't state maintained unless they are concurrent with a state route. All of them have signage, but none are signed thoroughly enough that you can follow them from end to end without otherwise knowing where the route goes.

Dirt Roads:
Perhaps the case where an old state route that was superseded by a US Route number and relocated/bypassed shortly after?  We have two roads near Hillsborough, North Carolina that were once part of the east-west cross highway NC-10 that was supplanted by US-70.  The part east of Hillsborough is locally known as "Old Number 10" and (now) officially posted as "Old NC 10", and the part west of Hillsborough is known as "West 10" and officially posted as "West Ten Road".


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