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Plutonic Panda:
What is going on at lake Isabella with CA-178? That short segment of freeway is so bizarre. Unless they plan to extend it one day(which I doubt) this is a freeway removal that would make sense. Did they expect the metro area around Lake Isabella to become larger than it did or something?

Max Rockatansky:
There was a planned freeway bypass of Kern River Canyon that was never built which would have connected it to Bakersfield.  That segment of CA 178 gets pretty wild given how much it is used by recreational crowds on the weekend.  Lake Isabella being at such a low elevation tends to stay popular as a place to visit all year.

Freeway removal? Have you driven the road it replaces? It's even more tortuous than the road that would be replaced if the expressway were extended. (Actually, I love Kern Canyon Road, but I'd rather drive it while everyone else is on the expressway.)

The plan was to cross the river again, west of where the current expressway ends, go up onto the plateau, and come back down roughly along Rancheria Road. I think a more practical plan would simply be to extend it a couple miles on the south side of the river, straightening lots of curves, until around Willow Spring Creek. There are also a few tight curves at lower elevations that could perhaps be handled with a couple of short tunnels.

Plutonic Panda:
I wasn’t sure how busy it was. Thanks for the history on it Max. Any chance it gets extended? When I was on it it seemed so short and no traffic since it 2am so that’s why I asked I wants t sure. Lake Isabella is such a cool area I can’t believe I just found out about.

Max Rockatansky:
I doubt it now.  The entirety of the Kern River doesn’t seem to be anywhere near the peak popularity it was at in the 1950s and 1960s.  Speaking just regarding Alfred Harrell Highway it had traffic counts high enough to rebuilding much of it freeway standards.  Nowadays there just isn’t the same volume of people visiting Hart Park.  I would imagine there is a similar pattern at work with CA 178 and Lake Isabella.  That’s even before getting into things like environmental group pushback.


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