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Author Topic: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT  (Read 3240 times)

Max Rockatansky

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Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« on: March 25, 2021, 08:36:03 PM »

Recently I had an opportunity to revisit Old US Route 91 from Beaver Dam, AZ to Washington, UT.  This would include Mojave County/Washington County 91, UT 8, UT 18, UT 34 and the derelict Bigelow Tunnel.  Iím honestly torn, I think Old US 91 might beat the Virgin River Gorge given it has a hell of a view of Snow Canyon.  The road on both state lines is way better than what I recall from when I did it regularly a decade ago:

Beaver Dam-St. George

https://www.flickr.com/gp/151828809@N08/5ce30Z

Bigelow Tunnel

https://www.flickr.com/gp/151828809@N08/2tvmM1

Regarding the Bigelow Tunnel does anyone have more exacting dates of service other than 1920s to 1950s?
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2021, 09:11:31 PM »

How many think Historic US 91 signs should be erected along this segment and all segments of old 91 between Long Beach, CA and Brigham City, UT?
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2021, 09:14:29 PM »

How many think Historic US 91 signs should be erected along this segment and all segments of old 91 between Long Beach, CA and Brigham City, UT?

It would be nice but it also doesnít seem like US 91 has a huge following like US 66 and US 99 do. 
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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2021, 09:41:29 PM »

Regarding the Bigelow Tunnel does anyone have more exacting dates of service other than 1920s to 1950s?

We discussed it a bit in this thread; apparently the big cut now used by I-15 was done in about 1954.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2021, 09:46:44 PM »

Regarding the Bigelow Tunnel does anyone have more exacting dates of service other than 1920s to 1950s?

We discussed it a bit in this thread; apparently the big cut now used by I-15 was done in about 1954.

So far the newest map I can find which shows US 91 aligned on Middleton a the Bigelow Tunnel was the 1950 Shell Map of Utah on David Rumsey:

http://www.davidrumsey.com/ll/thumbnailView.html?startUrl=%2F%2Fwww.davidrumsey.com%2Fluna%2Fservlet%2Fas%2Fsearch%3Fos%3D0%26lc%3DRUMSEY~8~1%26q%3DUtah%20highway%26sort%3DPub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No%26bs%3D10#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&r=0&xywh=1017%2C8357%2C609%2C998

Iím kind of surprised given how significant this tunnel was that there is so little information on it.  The Washington County history page eludes to being built in the 1920s and part of US 91 which to me implies 1926-1929?  I kind of wonder how accurate that is given the tunnel is literally named after the guy behind the Arrowhead Trail Association. 
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2021, 06:37:18 PM »

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Mapmikey

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2021, 11:13:22 AM »

Completion of the project that included the tunnel was April 1927 - see pg. 83 here - https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015080098505&view=1up&seq=83&q1=tunnel
A picture is on pg. 51 of the same reference.

Also check out the awesome looking "3-D" posting of a US 91 shield on page 39 of the above reference!

Pg 183 of https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015021027381&view=1up&seq=183&q1=tunnel shows a pic of tunnel and old road that preceded it

Bypass of tunnel was completed in the 1953-54 biannum per pages 906 and 907 here - https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015021027407&view=1up&seq=906&q1=tunnel
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2021, 11:27:13 AM »

Completion of the project that included the tunnel was April 1927 - see pg. 83 here - https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015080098505&view=1up&seq=83&q1=tunnel
A picture is on pg. 51 of the same reference.

Also check out the awesome looking "3-D" posting of a US 91 shield on page 39 of the above reference!

Pg 183 of https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015021027381&view=1up&seq=183&q1=tunnel shows a pic of tunnel and old road that preceded it

Bypass of tunnel was completed in the 1953-54 biannum per pages 906 and 907 here - https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015021027407&view=1up&seq=906&q1=tunnel

Thanks, Iíll be sure to add these in given they have the specific timelines I was looking for. 
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andy3175

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2021, 02:25:41 PM »

Completion of the project that included the tunnel was April 1927 - see pg. 83 here - https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015080098505&view=1up&seq=83&q1=tunnel
A picture is on pg. 51 of the same reference.

Also check out the awesome looking "3-D" posting of a US 91 shield on page 39 of the above reference!

Pg 183 of https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015021027381&view=1up&seq=183&q1=tunnel shows a pic of tunnel and old road that preceded it

Bypass of tunnel was completed in the 1953-54 biannum per pages 906 and 907 here - https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015021027407&view=1up&seq=906&q1=tunnel

That is great info Mapmikey. I especially like the explanation provided in the book regarding the difficulty early road builders had with the terrain; the tunnel may have been an early solution that was bypassed when more advanced road construction techniques were introduced to the area.

Here is a quote that notes the challenges of routing US 91 through this area, especially between St. George/Santa Clara and the Arizona State Line:

Quote
Federal aid projects constructed during the period on this section are: Kanarra to Washington County line, F. A. P. 55-B, 4.5 miles, completed in November, 1927, at a cost of $38,477. Harrisburg Bench to St. George, 8.9 miles, completed in April, 1927, at a cost of $188,218. The contract includes the construction of an 87-ft. concrete bridge across Middleton Creek, a similar structure of 30-ft. span over Washington Creek and a 230-ft. tunnel through Middleton Ridge. This project extends through extremely rough country where suitable material for road building was difficult to obtain, making its successful completion one of the outstanding improvements of the biennium. From St. George to the Shivwits Indian Reservation via Santa Clara, the road is graded earth with some sections of gravel surfacing. The alignment is poor, the only section of this class remaining on U. S. 91 in Utah. Survey is being made preparatory to the early improvement of this section. The remainder of the route to the Arizona line, 17 miles, is under construction as Federal Aid Project 80-A & B.
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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2021, 05:11:56 PM »

These are awesome reports - and not just about old 91. I probably lost at least half an hour just skimming those... at some point I'll have to come back and read through them in more depth.

The Middleton Creek bridge on old 91 still stands, by the way, though it has been closed to traffic: https://goo.gl/maps/f1s2YbUy32nzemaGA

Max Rockatansky

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2021, 05:22:25 PM »

These are awesome reports - and not just about old 91. I probably lost at least half an hour just skimming those... at some point I'll have to come back and read through them in more depth.

The Middleton Creek bridge on old 91 still stands, by the way, though it has been closed to traffic: https://goo.gl/maps/f1s2YbUy32nzemaGA

That was just a couple hundred yards from the last photo I linked on Gribblenation.  I could see it in the distance but from the west it was on private property.  I guess that I should have drove around the remaining open portion of Middleton Drive.

Regarding those Biennial Reports that might be the level of information for Utah akin to what was in the CHPWs.  It seems like more of these state highway documents are popping up online these days.
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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2021, 12:30:10 AM »

These are awesome reports - and not just about old 91. I probably lost at least half an hour just skimming those... at some point I'll have to come back and read through them in more depth.

The Middleton Creek bridge on old 91 still stands, by the way, though it has been closed to traffic: https://goo.gl/maps/f1s2YbUy32nzemaGA

How did US 91 connect from Utah 34 (St. George Boulevard) to Middleton Drive to cross that bridge? Is the continuation of Old US 91 along Middleton Drive and Red Cliffs Drive/Telegraph Street leading northeast out of St. George into Washington City?
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2021, 12:32:52 AM »

These are awesome reports - and not just about old 91. I probably lost at least half an hour just skimming those... at some point I'll have to come back and read through them in more depth.

The Middleton Creek bridge on old 91 still stands, by the way, though it has been closed to traffic: https://goo.gl/maps/f1s2YbUy32nzemaGA

How did US 91 connect from Utah 34 (St. George Boulevard) to Middleton Drive to cross that bridge? Is the continuation of Old US 91 along Middleton Drive and Red Cliffs Drive/Telegraph Street leading northeast out of St. George into Washington City?

Check the blog link that I posted from Gribblenation, UT 34 was US 91.  I mapped out how US 91 transitioned from downtown to the Bigelow Tunnel via Industrial Drive.  From the east portal of the Bigelow Tunnel US 91 would have crossed over I-15 via Middleton Drive to Telegraph in Washington.
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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2021, 01:05:50 AM »

These are awesome reports - and not just about old 91. I probably lost at least half an hour just skimming those... at some point I'll have to come back and read through them in more depth.

The Middleton Creek bridge on old 91 still stands, by the way, though it has been closed to traffic: https://goo.gl/maps/f1s2YbUy32nzemaGA

How did US 91 connect from Utah 34 (St. George Boulevard) to Middleton Drive to cross that bridge? Is the continuation of Old US 91 along Middleton Drive and Red Cliffs Drive/Telegraph Street leading northeast out of St. George into Washington City?

Check the blog link that I posted from Gribblenation, UT 34 was US 91.  I mapped out how US 91 transitioned from downtown to the Bigelow Tunnel via Industrial Drive.  From the east portal of the Bigelow Tunnel US 91 would have crossed over I-15 via Middleton Drive to Telegraph in Washington.

Here is a portion of the 1940 census map to illustrate that:



In the earliest days US 91 may have followed Tabernacle Street instead of St George Blvd, but I don't have any real evidence to back that up other than that it was connected to Industrial Rd at its east end on the map above. I'm more certain that the earliest 91 used Diagonal St west of the city center before being moved to the modern St George Blvd and Bluff St by the 1940 date on that map.

To be honest, to me the more interesting feature on that map is the route of Utah 18. I guess if there was no Bluff Street yet it would have to take some other route into town. Looks like it followed today's Red Rock Road, then Old Dump Road, and then some connections that may or may not even exist anymore to get to the modern route in the Diamond Valley area.

Max Rockatansky

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2021, 09:17:54 AM »

These are awesome reports - and not just about old 91. I probably lost at least half an hour just skimming those... at some point I'll have to come back and read through them in more depth.

The Middleton Creek bridge on old 91 still stands, by the way, though it has been closed to traffic: https://goo.gl/maps/f1s2YbUy32nzemaGA

How did US 91 connect from Utah 34 (St. George Boulevard) to Middleton Drive to cross that bridge? Is the continuation of Old US 91 along Middleton Drive and Red Cliffs Drive/Telegraph Street leading northeast out of St. George into Washington City?

Check the blog link that I posted from Gribblenation, UT 34 was US 91.  I mapped out how US 91 transitioned from downtown to the Bigelow Tunnel via Industrial Drive.  From the east portal of the Bigelow Tunnel US 91 would have crossed over I-15 via Middleton Drive to Telegraph in Washington.

Here is a portion of the 1940 census map to illustrate that:



In the earliest days US 91 may have followed Tabernacle Street instead of St George Blvd, but I don't have any real evidence to back that up other than that it was connected to Industrial Rd at its east end on the map above. I'm more certain that the earliest 91 used Diagonal St west of the city center before being moved to the modern St George Blvd and Bluff St by the 1940 date on that map.

To be honest, to me the more interesting feature on that map is the route of Utah 18. I guess if there was no Bluff Street yet it would have to take some other route into town. Looks like it followed today's Red Rock Road, then Old Dump Road, and then some connections that may or may not even exist anymore to get to the modern route in the Diamond Valley area.

The Washington County History page cited; Tabernacle, Main and Diagonal.  My guess is that that the alignment on St. George and Bluff was constructed after 1927 given what was said regarding the alignment west of the Bigelow Tunnel in the 1927-28 Biennial Report. 
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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2021, 12:28:48 PM »

Thanks. That really helps to bring it all together on the original US 91 routing.

Quote
To be honest, to me the more interesting feature on that map is the route of Utah 18. I guess if there was no Bluff Street yet it would have to take some other route into town. Looks like it followed today's Red Rock Road, then Old Dump Road, and then some connections that may or may not even exist anymore to get to the modern route in the Diamond Valley area.


Good point. I'm surprised Utah 18 started so far to the east of where it begins now. Perhaps the relocation of the route to Bluff Street was intended to help open new areas of the city up for development as well as connect the parks and natural areas toward the northwest of St. George.

I'll have to look for the tunnel and the old bridge myself next time I head that way. I've had Snow Canyon on my list of areas to check out for some time now.



SM-G975U

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2021, 01:08:11 PM »

I've been to Snow Canyon twice and it is easily one of the coolest places I've ever been. Rivals some of Utah's national parks even.

Unfortunately, I have not been to St George since I learned of the tunnel's existence, so I've never been able to check it out for myself. I will for sure do that next time I'm down there.

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2021, 10:54:26 AM »

These are awesome reports - and not just about old 91. I probably lost at least half an hour just skimming those... at some point I'll have to come back and read through them in more depth.

The Middleton Creek bridge on old 91 still stands, by the way, though it has been closed to traffic: https://goo.gl/maps/f1s2YbUy32nzemaGA

How did US 91 connect from Utah 34 (St. George Boulevard) to Middleton Drive to cross that bridge? Is the continuation of Old US 91 along Middleton Drive and Red Cliffs Drive/Telegraph Street leading northeast out of St. George into Washington City?

Check the blog link that I posted from Gribblenation, UT 34 was US 91.  I mapped out how US 91 transitioned from downtown to the Bigelow Tunnel via Industrial Drive.  From the east portal of the Bigelow Tunnel US 91 would have crossed over I-15 via Middleton Drive to Telegraph in Washington.

Here is a portion of the 1940 census map to illustrate that:



In the earliest days US 91 may have followed Tabernacle Street instead of St George Blvd, but I don't have any real evidence to back that up other than that it was connected to Industrial Rd at its east end on the map above. I'm more certain that the earliest 91 used Diagonal St west of the city center before being moved to the modern St George Blvd and Bluff St by the 1940 date on that map.

To be honest, to me the more interesting feature on that map is the route of Utah 18. I guess if there was no Bluff Street yet it would have to take some other route into town. Looks like it followed today's Red Rock Road, then Old Dump Road, and then some connections that may or may not even exist anymore to get to the modern route in the Diamond Valley area.

So, US 91 definitely followed St. George Blvd. Ė you can tell that because of its position relative to Diagonal Street.
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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2021, 06:54:57 PM »

So, US 91 definitely followed St. George Blvd. Ė you can tell that because of its position relative to Diagonal Street.

At the time that map was made, yeah... but that was in 1940, almost 15 years after the US highways were first introduced. There's a lot of room for movement in that time frame. Look at the east end of Tabernacle - why else would it extend that far east and have that nice connection to the north?

Also, Max already confirmed that suspicion of mine with information from the county's history page:

The Washington County History page cited; Tabernacle, Main and Diagonal.  My guess is that that the alignment on St. George and Bluff was constructed after 1927 given what was said regarding the alignment west of the Bigelow Tunnel in the 1927-28 Biennial Report. 

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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2021, 07:43:43 PM »

1920-22 State Highway report has the state highway passing through "1st No and Main St"
babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015080098547&view=1up&seq=130&skin=2021&q1=george

The 1922 Blue Book has the route using Main from 1st to Diagonal northwest out of town
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=pst.000052908637&view=1up&seq=772&skin=2021


modified to add Blue Book reference
« Last Edit: September 07, 2021, 11:11:37 PM by Mapmikey »
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Re: Former US Route 91 Beaver Dam, AZ-Washington, UT
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2021, 07:52:39 PM »

How many Nos before you get to a Yes?
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