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Author Topic: Former US Route 99 in Earlimart and Pixley  (Read 461 times)

Max Rockatansky

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Former US Route 99 in Earlimart and Pixley
« on: May 07, 2021, 01:18:56 PM »

Former US Route 99 in Earlimart and Pixley share a largely common history given their close proximity in southern Tulare County.  Within Earlimart US Route 99 was aligned on Front Road whereas it passed through Pixley on Main Street.  US Route 99 bypassed Earlimart via a freeway in 1955 whereas it bypassed Pixley by 1956.  The freeway development of US Route 99 in Earlimart and Pixley was spurred by development originating from Delano (in Kern County) northward. 

https://www.gribblenation.org/2021/05/former-us-route-99-in-earlimart-and.html?m=1
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M3100

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Re: Former US Route 99 in Earlimart and Pixley
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2021, 02:07:19 PM »

Thx for posting, including the history of the town names and noting when the bypasses were built.  I have driven the 'southern half' of California SR 99 a few times, and thought that 'Earlimart' sounded like a business/trade name.

I have yet to explore all the towns that the freeway alignment bypassed.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Former US Route 99 in Earlimart and Pixley
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2021, 04:11:58 PM »

Thx for posting, including the history of the town names and noting when the bypasses were built.  I have driven the 'southern half' of California SR 99 a few times, and thought that 'Earlimart' sounded like a business/trade name.

I have yet to explore all the towns that the freeway alignment bypassed.

I’m kind of working my way through a lot of former US Route segments in California which I grabbed pictures of lately.  I have something coming up for Salida and Stockton which will round out every surface alignment of US 99 (displayed on Gribblenation) between Los Angeles and Sacramento.  The CHPWs have been a huge asset getting the timeframes for when everything was built. 
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sparker

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Re: Former US Route 99 in Earlimart and Pixley
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2021, 05:27:30 PM »

As both Earlimart and Pixley were among the first towns to receive freeway bypasses in the mid-50's, it's not surprising that both sections of 99 freeway feature clearances well below current standard -- some well short of 15 feet.  Of course, all these are technically slated for replacement under the CA 99 "master plan" outlining upgrades to the entire Wheeler Ridge-Sacramento corridor -- but Caltrans doesn't seem in any particular hurry to even request budget outlays for such upgrades -- even though just about all of those bridges bear "scars" where overheight or bouncing semi-trailers have knocked off chunks of concrete from the overhead spans.  Tulare County features more underheight bridges than any other segment of the CA 99 freeway; like the proverbial eating of an elephant, I would expect D6 to tackle these one small bite at a time.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Former US Route 99 in Earlimart and Pixley
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2021, 05:51:51 PM »

As both Earlimart and Pixley were among the first towns to receive freeway bypasses in the mid-50's, it's not surprising that both sections of 99 freeway feature clearances well below current standard -- some well short of 15 feet.  Of course, all these are technically slated for replacement under the CA 99 "master plan" outlining upgrades to the entire Wheeler Ridge-Sacramento corridor -- but Caltrans doesn't seem in any particular hurry to even request budget outlays for such upgrades -- even though just about all of those bridges bear "scars" where overheight or bouncing semi-trailers have knocked off chunks of concrete from the overhead spans.  Tulare County features more underheight bridges than any other segment of the CA 99 freeway; like the proverbial eating of an elephant, I would expect D6 to tackle these one small bite at a time.

What I find interesting is that this segment of 99 really begins in Delano.  Delano was part of that mid-1950s upgrade to convert US 99 into a freeway.  Most of the overhead structures in Delano from the 1950s are still present but nonetheless the freeway has been widened to a full six lanes.  It kind of makes me curious how many like structures on 99 in Tulare County will ultimately end up being retained in the event of a widening.
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sparker

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Re: Former US Route 99 in Earlimart and Pixley
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2021, 07:05:45 PM »

As both Earlimart and Pixley were among the first towns to receive freeway bypasses in the mid-50's, it's not surprising that both sections of 99 freeway feature clearances well below current standard -- some well short of 15 feet.  Of course, all these are technically slated for replacement under the CA 99 "master plan" outlining upgrades to the entire Wheeler Ridge-Sacramento corridor -- but Caltrans doesn't seem in any particular hurry to even request budget outlays for such upgrades -- even though just about all of those bridges bear "scars" where overheight or bouncing semi-trailers have knocked off chunks of concrete from the overhead spans.  Tulare County features more underheight bridges than any other segment of the CA 99 freeway; like the proverbial eating of an elephant, I would expect D6 to tackle these one small bite at a time.

What I find interesting is that this segment of 99 really begins in Delano.  Delano was part of that mid-1950s upgrade to convert US 99 into a freeway.  Most of the overhead structures in Delano from the 1950s are still present but nonetheless the freeway has been widened to a full six lanes.  It kind of makes me curious how many like structures on 99 in Tulare County will ultimately end up being retained in the event of a widening.

Yeah -- the County Line Road overcrossing -- obviously at the Kern/Tulare county line just north of Delano (in fact where the business loop rejoins the freeway) is a design match for the Earlimart/Pixley ones (and also underheight); that would be the first interchange north of the NB lane drop north of the CA 155 folded-diamond ramps.  From there to north of Tulare the freeway retains most of its original characteristics -- with the exception of bridge widening along the main carriageways -- in another related thread I mentioned that much of that widening occurred as part of the repairs after the flooding of early 1997.  Also, the original oleander median has been augmented by guard rails -- the dense bushes, considered sufficient to hinder the passage of errant cars, obviously couldn't stand up to a Peterbilt or Kenworth plowing through to the other side!  Otherwise, not a lot of changes; the inner shoulders remain gravel or, at best, rather ragged chipseal, while along some stretches the outer shoulders have been brought out to a 10-foot width.  It's going to take a lot of effort to bring the 55 or so miles in Tulare County up to modern standards, much less full Interstate criteria; it'll probably be a drawn-out process unless some federal funds can be allotted to it.         
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