Regional Boards > Pacific Southwest

Was US 99 almost retained?

(1/3) > >>

Max Rockatansky:
The November/December 1963 California Highways & Public Works contains an excerpt which seems to suggest the state of California initially planned to retain US Route 99.  In a stub regarding Tehama County US Route 99 East south of Red Bluff is stated to become (new US Route 99) in anticipation of US Route 99 West being consumed by Interstate 5.  This ultimately did not occur as US Route 99 in California was approved for truncation to Ashland, Oregon by the AASHO Executive Committee during June of 1965 (as seen in the AASHO Database).  Modern California State Route 99 south from Red Bluff follows what was US Route 99 East to Yuba City.  From Yuba City California State Route 99 utilizes a more direct alignment south to Sacramento via a corridor inherited largely from California State Route 24 rather than the previous corridor of US Route 99 East towards Roseville and North Sacramento.

https://archive.org/details/cvol4142alifornia196263hiwacalirich/page/72/mode/2up?q=Corning

To me this makes a lot of sense in a number of ways:

-  There was several freeway bypasses and cutoffs planned for the corridor of US 99E which were ultimately not built between Red Bluff and Yuba City.  These would have further streamlined US 99E into a facility more resembling US 99W/I-5.  Ultimately only the freeway segments in Chico and Yuba City were built. 
-  Having US 99 take over the corridor of CA 24 from Yuba City south to Sacramento is far more direct than US 99W and US 99E ever were. 

I suspect there might be an answer to this question possibly in a rejected proposal in the AASHO Database.  The fact US 99 wasn’t on the list of highways approved (rejected by the CHC and approved by the AASHO) to be eliminated prior to the 1964 Renumbering suggests the highway was planned to be retained.  Certainly by November 1963 the facets of the 1964 Renumbering were already well known established facts given they would take effect at the start of the new year.  I wonder if the likes of CA 273 and CA 263 might have been intended to branch away from I-5 similar to how like US 6 does from I-70 in Colorado?

sparker:

--- Quote from: Max Rockatansky on August 30, 2021, 07:44:35 AM ---The November/December 1963 California Highways & Public Works contains an excerpt which seems to suggest the state of California initially planned to retain US Route 99.  In a stub regarding Tehama County US Route 99 East south of Red Bluff is stated to become (new US Route 99) in anticipation of US Route 99 West being consumed by Interstate 5.  This ultimately did not occur as US Route 99 in California was approved for truncation to Ashland, Oregon by the AASHO Executive Committee during June of 1965 (as seen in the AASHO Database).  Modern California State Route 99 south from Red Bluff follows what was US Route 99 East to Yuba City.  From Yuba City California State Route 99 utilizes a more direct alignment south to Sacramento via a corridor inherited largely from California State Route 24 rather than the previous corridor of US Route 99 East towards Roseville and North Sacramento.

https://archive.org/details/cvol4142alifornia196263hiwacalirich/page/72/mode/2up?q=Corning

To me this makes a lot of sense in a number of ways:

-  There was several freeway bypasses and cutoffs planned for the corridor of US 99E which were ultimately not built between Red Bluff and Yuba City.  These would have further streamlined US 99E into a facility more resembling US 99W/I-5.  Ultimately only the freeway segments in Chico and Yuba City were built. 
-  Having US 99 take over the corridor of CA 24 from Yuba City south to Sacramento is far more direct than US 99W and US 99E ever were. 

I suspect there might be an answer to this question possibly in a rejected proposal in the AASHO Database.  The fact US 99 wasn’t on the list of highways approved (rejected by the CHC and approved by the AASHO) to be eliminated prior to the 1964 Renumbering suggests the highway was planned to be retained.  Certainly by November 1963 the facets of the 1964 Renumbering were already well known established facts given they would take effect at the start of the new year.  I wonder if the likes of CA 273 and CA 263 might have been intended to branch away from I-5 similar to how like US 6 does from I-70 in Colorado?

--- End quote ---

Seeing as how the elimination of multiplexes with Interstates became an almost fanatical pursuit by the CHC and DOH in 1963-64, it's highly unlikely that retention of US 99 as a in-town alternative to the then-nascent I-5 would have been considered because that would have required a multiplex in the interim areas.  But OTOH, there's also a viable but non-state-maintained alternative over the former US 99 between Yreka and Weed, plus the original alignment from Weed through Shasta City down to past Dunsmuir -- although because I-5 overlays much of the original alignment north of Dunsmuir, the old route, marked as "Historic 99", has been relegated to frontage roads.  But farther down in the Sacramento Canyon narrows, there was only room for one facility; that would obviously have been I-5, despite the fact that it took until 1992 to fully complete it to Interstate standards.  If DOH and/or CHC would have been less adamant about even short multiplexes, the concept might have gained traction -- but single-mindedness prevailed, so the renumbering proceeded as per history.

But that only pertains to that portion of US 99 from Red Bluff to Oregon; at about 400 miles, there's no administrative reason that US 99 could not have been retained from Wheeler Ridge to Red Bluff over the remnants of US 99E, CA 24, and the old LRN 245 connector near Nicolaus -- which was considered a routing improvement over the previous eastward arc through Roseville and Lincoln (both 99E and 99W were originally laid out to follow the two main SP lines north of Roseville and Davis respectively).  Common lore has it that the decision to jettison US 99 in CA was prompted by a decision by OR (and indirectly WA) to delete the highway in their state for much the same reasons as were prevalent in CA.  But seeing as how US 99E was one of the first routes to be renumbered back in 1964 (as 65 over its southern end and, of course, 99 north of Yuba City) with the then-new green state shields, it seems clear that statewide elimination of US 99 was the aim of agency management in conjunction with their CHC handlers.  Perhaps a thorough review of the timeframes regarding (a) just when the elimination-of-multiplexes planning expanded into the full statewide renumbering scheme ostensibly sometime during 1963 but possibly earlier (b) precisely when ODOT or its predecessor agency issued the decision to eliminate US 99 there, and (c) whether there was a decided attempt on the part of DOH to "downgrade" the overall 99 corridor through the Valley in favor of I-5, leveraging the "status" change from US to state highway on that corridor to encourage travelers to shift to I-5 to lessen the traffic flow on 99, enabling DOH to "stretch out" improvements over a longer period of time, since funds that would have flowed to US 99 prior to the alignment shift over to the LRN 238 "west side" freeway in 1957 would have likewise been diverted to that new freeway.   And, finally, an examination of the factors that went into that I-5 alignment shift -- which clearly favored a "straight shot" between the state's "800-pound-gorilla" metro areas to the detriment of the smaller cities arrayed along US 99 in the Valley -- might be enlightening as a precursor to the decision to get rid of US 99 some years later. 

Quillz:
US-99 certainly should have been kept for historical purposes. Like US-66. There's some US-99 signage around California, mainly in the Colorado Desert area, for those who want to trace the historical alignment.

sparker:

--- Quote from: Quillz on September 10, 2021, 09:37:13 AM ---US-99 certainly should have been kept for historical purposes. Like US-66. There's some US-99 signage around California, mainly in the Colorado Desert area, for those who want to trace the historical alignment.

--- End quote ---

There's quite a bit of "historical US 99" signage in the Lincoln Heights section of L.A., principally located on Avenue 20, North Main Street, and Valley Blvd.; these signs indicate that this is a pre-1935 alignment of the route.  Since US 99 was shifted to the alignment multiplexed with US 66 (and later 6) via Figueroa, Sunset Blvd, and Macy Street before segueing onto the Ramona Parkway, along with US 60, east of the L.A. River that year, the signs are generally accurate despite not following the LRN in-city "network" as defined in '34. 

Kniwt:
FWIW, my 1967 RMcN shows the strange combination of both CA 99 and US 99W.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version