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I'm trying to identify the alignments of US 99 in Siskiyou County

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donutbandit:
Here's what I've come up with.

Enters from the south on Crag View Drive.  Crag View peters out into a wrecking yard, where you can still see the original concrete slab. Beyond that, is apparently buried beneath I-5 until the South Dunsmuir exit, where it picks up again as Dunsmuir Avenue.

After you pass the cemetary, there is a newer looking jog to the left. All of this looks like newer construction. At the jog, there is a short segment of dead end street, that, if continued, would meet up with Sacramento Avenue. This street runs along the railroad tracks, and has what looks like the original downtown of Dunsmuir.

Question: is this the original alignment of the original US 99?

Following the jog, it continues to look like newer construction. It looks like a few city blocks were razed to accomplish this. At one point on the jog, you can drive directly into Hill Street, which makes it look like this was the original city block pattern. The jog takes a diagonal course, which was not the practice when towns were laid out. They were laid out in square blocks.

Aside from the California Theater, built in 1925, almost all of the construction along the jog looks to date from the 1940s - 1950s, which fits with my theory that this was a new routing, and that buildings were sacrificed to create a new downtown area.

Sacramento Avenue rejoins Dunsmuir Avenue just before another major split in the route. The original 99 entered Florence Loop, and emptied onto the original 1916 Sacramento River bridge, which now serves as the northbound lanes of I-5.

Bearing off to the left, we enter a US 99 bypass that must have been built in the late 1940s. The aforementioned jog was also probably part of this bypass. A newer bridge across the river. Dunsmuir Avenue proceeds north until you can bear left on Mott Road, which was the newer 99 alignment.

Back on the original alignment, you turned right after crossing the bridge, and enter what is now Siskiyou Avenue. It meanders through a residential neighborhood, past the elementary school. and joins I-5 just east of Mott Road. The original 99 alignment is under I-5 for a short while, until you round a soft curve to the west, and spot an old, almost grown over trace through the woods to the right.

Following that trace leads you directly into Mott Airport Road. This is the original alignment.  Mott Airport Road runs northward for a few miles before entering private property and disappearing.

Meanwhile. over on the bypass to the west, at that same point, Mott Road makes an abrupt end. A long ago closed Diamond National building supply store sits in the way. Originally, Mott Road ran straight into what is now the south Mt. Shasta exit off I-5.

Picking up the original alignment, it suddenly appears as Big Canyon Drive, which meanders around, crosses the new CA 89, and eventually joins Mt. Shasta Blvd. Until the intersection was reconstructed a few years ago, it actually just merged in like a freeway exit. Now, it has been squared off.

There is an old Beacon gas station here, with the original Beacon tower still standing. Today, the old Beacon station serves as the studio for KCWH-FM.

Mt. Shasta Blvd. seems to follow the original alignment, until you get to Bank of America. Here, a new alignment was built, which veers to the left. The original alignment followed Castle Street.

Until 2003, there was a short stretch of Castle Street that still boasted the original US 99 concrete slab.



heading north, as we approach the animal shelter, we clearly see that the original route went straight rather than bearing left. Following that, we enter a short street that quickly peters out into a parking lot. The original slab plainly visible, on the map, this is called N2M16. ????

This exits back out onto Mt. Shasta Blvd., where we see the distinctive lava rock retaining wall that one can see on many parts of old US 99. At the freeway entrance, we once again have a splitting of the ways.

The original 99 alignment turned onto Spring Hill Drive. This continues for about 2 miles before entering private property.

The later bypass route apparently is buried under I-5, until it comes alive again as Summit Drive. Summit Drive ends abruptly just past Truck Village Drive. The rest of it is under I-5.

Back to the original alignment, which picks up again as Truck Village Drive. It meanders about for about a mile until it enters private property once again. The map shows it continuing on, blocked only by the railroad tracks until it resumes as Black Butte Drive in Weed.

Black Butte Drive enters South Weed, and there is a point where you can clearly see that it once continued over the present I-5 alignment into South Weed Blvd.



Back to the bypass. At the southern end of South Weed Blvd., there is a stub which tells you the bypass once entered here. For about a mile, it's 55 MPH on 1950s style super 2. Then, you abruptly enter the old part of S. Weed Blvd. at exactly the same point were the old alignment would have joined.

On the super 2. Just around that curve, the original alignment would have joined, and we are suddenly at 25 MPH on a narrow city street.



We follow Weed Blvd. until the north I-5 exit (in the process, it has become the shortest CA state highway - 265.) The southern terminus of US 97 now past, we see a turn to the right - either Edgewood Road, or Trailer Lane. Currently, it is called Edgewood Road. This is the original US 99 alignment. However, there is eventually a dirt road leading off to the right called Old Edgewood - Weed Road. This must have been the old stage road.

Edgewood Road comes down a grade, and you are suddenly looking straight across I-5 into Old 99 Highway. That's the way you would have gone after crossing a 1936 style bridge, but newer construction picks up here, and you are either sent to Edgewood, shunted onto I-5, or choose to take Old 99 Highway.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_99_Highway

This road is straight out of 1950. 2 lanes, not a super 2, and parallels I-5, often very close, but at one point, deviating away by maybe 2 miles. You drive about 10 miles and then are faced with a choice - take the jog to the left (remember Dunsmuir?) or go straight and find yourself right back on the original US 99 alignment which takes you to Grenada.

The route T-bones into County Route A-12 in Grenada. I'm not sure where it went after this. In the fields to the north of the T-bone, there are no signs of a long lost highway. You can go right about 500 feet, and find yourself on northbound County Route A-28, which was the preferred routing for both US 99 and I-5.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_Route_A28_(California)

Yreka fought bitterly both times to have the main route come through the county seat and won, ultimately costing a small fortune each time, since going though Yreka meant a lot of concessions. 99 had to be routed through the tortureous Shasta River Canyon (now CA 263 - a majestic and wildly beautiful 10 mile drive.) I-5 had to negotiate the Anderson Grade (not nearly as hard, but can be a problem in winter.)

I don't know where the original 99 went at this point. It may have followed A-28 for a short distance before ending up under I-5. I can't discover any clues.

Old 99 picks up again near Yreka as Shamrock Road. The newer bypass alignment is west of I-5 as Easy Street. Shamrock Road ends abruptly as it enters private property. There is a very interesting and quite sad story about this old 99 alignment.

This enters Indian lands. A few years ago, the local Karuk Tribe wanted to build a casino here. An Alturas based tribe also owned a small piece of land here, and contested it. The 2 tribes got into quite a heated dispute over it. Finally, Siskiyou County gave the Karuks the go ahead to build. They basically rebuilt the old US 99 alignment over their property, and began to build the casino. But, wait! They did not get the go ahead from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which oversees all such activity. The BoIA issued a cease and desist, and the Karuks are stuck with a highway, and a half built casino that they can no longer legally finish. The new asphalt highway paralleling I-5 is clearly visible, gated at both ends.

Back over on the bypass, we come to a stop sign at Walters Road. You can go right, over the I-5 bridge, and pick up Old 99 as it comes out of a trailer park as Fairlane Road. Bearing left onto Fairlane, we are once again on the super 2 US 99. I don't know where the original one is - buried?

At a certain point as you pass the fairgrounds, you bear around to the right, and looking straight across I-5, you realize that the old alignment went right into South Main Street. The rest is newer construction, 1960s super 2, and was probably bult after I-5 went in.

Back on the bypass, you can go straight into a little connector road that takes you to CA 3. This was likely the alignment of the later bypass. CA 3 becomes Main Street and you travel north through town on Old 99.

At the north end of town, you either get on I-5, or take CA 263. it's a gorgeous drive once you get into the river canyon. This is the original alignment of US 99. Looking far down below, you see a dirt road following the river. This was the old stage road.

When you meet CA 96, you can either take that west, or get on I-5. After this, Old 99 exists only in little segments through towns like Hornbrook and Hilt. You don't really see Old 99 again until you get into Oregon and Siskiyou Summit.

If anyone knows more about this than I do, I would welcome some information. I'm constantly looking, but at this point, the only recourse is to sit for years looking at old newspapers. I've searched in vain for old maps that would show the kind of detail I need for this project.

agentsteel53:
I have a two-book set called "That Ribbon of Highway" by Jill Livingston.  Volume 1 is from Oregon to Sacramento; 2 from there to Mexico.  ISBN 0-9651377-0-8 and 0-9651377-2-4 respectively.

not only does it give the route, but it has plenty of photos of old bridges, scans of AAA maps, and a whole lot more.  Well worth hunting down.

looks like it's easily found on Amazon.

donutbandit:
I have that, but Jill, like me, isn't clear on the routing through the towns. That's basically what I'm trying to discover.

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