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Author Topic: US Route 6  (Read 936 times)

Max Rockatansky

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US Route 6
« on: September 02, 2018, 07:49:15 PM »

Back in 2016 I visited the terminus of US Route 6 in Bishop and followed a large portion of the east to the Nevada State Line.  Of note was Laws Depot which still houses a small segment of the Carson & Colorado Railroad which US 6 generally followed to the State Line.  On the below blog I went through the end point history of US 6 in Long Beach before it was shifted to Bishop in 1964.  US 6 was really weird in California and almost was fully multiplexed "west" of Bishop to Long Beach.  The alignment of US 6 was also much southern in direction than true west. 

http://surewhynotnow.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-western-end-of-us-route-6-and-laws.html

sparker

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Re: US Route 6
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2018, 04:32:07 AM »

Even as a kid, it had always seemed weird to me that US 6 headed west, but at the CA/NV state line it abruptly headed south to eventually terminate in Long Beach; that always struck me as a bit gratuitous.  Later I read about the "Grand Army of the Republic" association with the highway; that organization (apparently WWI military survivors) pushed for a transcontinental highway; their influence was so great in the '30's that US 6 was pushed west, subsuming then-US 32 and much of US 38, but that the organization wanted it to extend to the Pacific Ocean in a populated area so as to engender publicity.  And since US 395 had by that time subsumed much of SSR 7, it was decided circa 1937 to simply route US 6 down US 395 and the remainder of SSR 7 east of US 99 in order to get it to the L.A. area; once in L.A., it simply multiplexed its way down to Long Beach (south of the US 99 junction in Sylmar it was always MPX'd with other routes: US 99, US 66, SSR 11, and Alternate US 101).  Part of it was slated to be relocated to Lankershim Blvd. (LRN 159) in the San Fernando Valley in 1963, but the '64 renumbering rendered that moot prior to signage in the field.  I remember small black-on-white "Grand Army of the Republic Highway" signs sporadically erected on San Fernando Road in the Valley when that street was still US 6/99; they were removed some time after I-5 was completed through the valley in 1963. 

It's probable that US 6 wouldn't have made it past it originally planned terminus at West Springfield, PA (now the terminus of US 6N) without the efforts of the G.A.R.   
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nexus73

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Re: US Route 6
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2018, 10:11:21 AM »

"Grand Army Of The Republic" is a Civil War term. It refers to the Union forces.

Rick
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US 101 is THE backbone of the Pacific coast from Bandon OR to Willets CA.  Industry, tourism and local traffic would be gone or severely crippled without it being in functioning condition in BOTH states.

sparker

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Re: US Route 6
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2018, 03:16:42 PM »

"Grand Army Of The Republic" is a Civil War term. It refers to the Union forces.

Rick

I had heard otherwise; thanks for the correction.  I guess even with a 70-year time gap between the end of the Civil War and the deployment of the highway bearing the name, that group (or its descendants and supporters) still maintained aa significant degree of "clout" to have a transcontinental route commissioned in their name (and all in former Union territory, no less!).   
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nexus73

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Re: US Route 6
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2018, 06:23:03 PM »

The GAR term shows up in the Star Wars prequel trilogy as well.  I would guess few Star Wars fans or road geeks know much of American history these days.  The same could be said of the US population in general.

Rick
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US 101 is THE backbone of the Pacific coast from Bandon OR to Willets CA.  Industry, tourism and local traffic would be gone or severely crippled without it being in functioning condition in BOTH states.

andy3175

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Re: US Route 6
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2018, 11:43:12 PM »

It is interesting to me how US 6 was eliminated south of Bishop. Yes, 6 is primarily an east-west highway, but from a simplicity point of view, isn't "6" an easier (fewer syllables) number to remember than "395"? In hindsight, I wonder if anyone thought about having 6 extend to LA and terminating 395 in Bishop? I don't think it would be a challenge to post "north" and "south" 6. If that had happened, then perhaps US 395 south of Inyokern could have been called SR 295 or something comparable.

With all that said, 395 is the Eastern Sierra route, and perhaps that is why it was retained over 6.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: US Route 6
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2018, 12:02:31 AM »

It is interesting to me how US 6 was eliminated south of Bishop. Yes, 6 is primarily an east-west highway, but from a simplicity point of view, isn't "6" an easier (fewer syllables) number to remember than "395"? In hindsight, I wonder if anyone thought about having 6 extend to LA and terminating 395 in Bishop? I don't think it would be a challenge to post "north" and "south" 6. If that had happened, then perhaps US 395 south of Inyokern could have been called SR 295 or something comparable.

With all that said, 395 is the Eastern Sierra route, and perhaps that is why it was retained over 6.

Personally I don't think the multiplex was that inordinate considering the major destinations US 6 had on it's trek the Los Angeles Area.  I know the goal was to eliminate as many long multiplexes as possible but having US 6 end in the Los Angeles Area made more sense than a randomly drawn from the hat designation of CA 14. 

sparker

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Re: US Route 6
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2018, 02:30:12 AM »

It is interesting to me how US 6 was eliminated south of Bishop. Yes, 6 is primarily an east-west highway, but from a simplicity point of view, isn't "6" an easier (fewer syllables) number to remember than "395"? In hindsight, I wonder if anyone thought about having 6 extend to LA and terminating 395 in Bishop? I don't think it would be a challenge to post "north" and "south" 6. If that had happened, then perhaps US 395 south of Inyokern could have been called SR 295 or something comparable.

With all that said, 395 is the Eastern Sierra route, and perhaps that is why it was retained over 6.

Personally I don't think the multiplex was that inordinate considering the major destinations US 6 had on it's trek the Los Angeles Area.  I know the goal was to eliminate as many long multiplexes as possible but having US 6 end in the Los Angeles Area made more sense than a randomly drawn from the hat designation of CA 14. 

Seeing as how west of Denver US 6 assiduously avoided major metro areas, it was possible that when the route was extended west from that point -- mostly on multiplexes after it merged with US 24 near Minturn, CO -- that the original goal was somewhere in Central California -- Fresno (then an oversized farm town) or perhaps over to US 101 on the Central Coast -- utilizing the CA 168 alignment west of Bishop and surmounting Kaiser Pass as originally planned for that route (LRN 76).  Reality (as in the feasibility -- or lack thereof -- of such an alignment) set in, and wanting to get the G.A.R. route to the Pacific Coast, multiplexing southward with US 395 and then subsuming much of the remainder of SSR 7 through Mojave and Palmdale was essentially a "consolation" routing.  Of course, once in the L.A. metro area (which happened after the final surface routings of US 101, US 66, US 99, and the other major routes entering the area had been established) it pretty much had to pass through the corner of Figueroa and Sunset -- the functional "crossroads" of L.A. in pre-freeway times; taking it down to Long Beach was simply to provide the "coastal experience" for the G.A.R. corridor promoters.     

Nevertheless, it's interesting to speculate that if Kaiser Pass or a similar cross-Sierra routing would have been deemed "doable" in the mid-30's, US 6 may have ended up in Morro Bay, Monterey, or Watsonville -- all more in line with its basic trajectory than its eventual southward "dip" into greater L.A. 
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jon daly

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Re: US Route 6
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2018, 06:40:02 AM »

<--Excellent thread.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: US Route 6
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2018, 09:07:25 AM »

It is interesting to me how US 6 was eliminated south of Bishop. Yes, 6 is primarily an east-west highway, but from a simplicity point of view, isn't "6" an easier (fewer syllables) number to remember than "395"? In hindsight, I wonder if anyone thought about having 6 extend to LA and terminating 395 in Bishop? I don't think it would be a challenge to post "north" and "south" 6. If that had happened, then perhaps US 395 south of Inyokern could have been called SR 295 or something comparable.

With all that said, 395 is the Eastern Sierra route, and perhaps that is why it was retained over 6.

Personally I don't think the multiplex was that inordinate considering the major destinations US 6 had on it's trek the Los Angeles Area.  I know the goal was to eliminate as many long multiplexes as possible but having US 6 end in the Los Angeles Area made more sense than a randomly drawn from the hat designation of CA 14. 

Seeing as how west of Denver US 6 assiduously avoided major metro areas, it was possible that when the route was extended west from that point -- mostly on multiplexes after it merged with US 24 near Minturn, CO -- that the original goal was somewhere in Central California -- Fresno (then an oversized farm town) or perhaps over to US 101 on the Central Coast -- utilizing the CA 168 alignment west of Bishop and surmounting Kaiser Pass as originally planned for that route (LRN 76).  Reality (as in the feasibility -- or lack thereof -- of such an alignment) set in, and wanting to get the G.A.R. route to the Pacific Coast, multiplexing southward with US 395 and then subsuming much of the remainder of SSR 7 through Mojave and Palmdale was essentially a "consolation" routing.  Of course, once in the L.A. metro area (which happened after the final surface routings of US 101, US 66, US 99, and the other major routes entering the area had been established) it pretty much had to pass through the corner of Figueroa and Sunset -- the functional "crossroads" of L.A. in pre-freeway times; taking it down to Long Beach was simply to provide the "coastal experience" for the G.A.R. corridor promoters.     

Nevertheless, it's interesting to speculate that if Kaiser Pass or a similar cross-Sierra routing would have been deemed "doable" in the mid-30's, US 6 may have ended up in Morro Bay, Monterey, or Watsonville -- all more in line with its basic trajectory than its eventual southward "dip" into greater L.A.

Kaiser Pass and Piute Pass were probably the most realistically close unbuilt Trans-Sierra Route to being completed.  On the western side of the Sierras the Big Creek Project has built Kaiser Pass Road as Far East as Florence Lake over Kaiser Pass and Ridge before the State started getting involved with maintenance.  The trouble from there was bridging the gap in the road would have required a Pass over 10,000 feet no matter what and it definitely wouldn’t be an all year route.  Really it seems that unless there was an existing road over the Sierras the Division of Highways eventually lost interest.

But that said if US 6 ever made it across on a hypothetical Kaiser/Piute Pass Route getting it to US 101 on CA 152/156 would be pretty realistic....or maybe the unbuilt part of 180. 

sparker

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Re: US Route 6
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2018, 05:24:39 PM »

^^^^^^^^
The fact that it wouldn't have been an all-year route wouldn't have fazed the Division; nothing south of US 50 was open during the winter until the late '60's (to get to Alpine County, one had to detour through NV in those days from November to April).  The 10K altitude was what probably scared the Division off -- and the Depression didn't help much either.  I am somewhat surprised that the Division never seriously explored extending LRN 111 (present CA 203) west down the hill from Devils' Postpile, which is on the west side of the ridgeline; while a bit convoluted for a potential US 6 routing, it might be at least marginally higher on the feasibility scale.  Probably would have had to hug the canyon walls in the San Joaquin River watershed -- and, let's face it -- any crossing south of Tioga would be exceptionally expensive to both construct & maintain -- particularly with prewar construction methods.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: US Route 6
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2018, 07:37:06 PM »

^^^^^^^^
The fact that it wouldn't have been an all-year route wouldn't have fazed the Division; nothing south of US 50 was open during the winter until the late '60's (to get to Alpine County, one had to detour through NV in those days from November to April).  The 10K altitude was what probably scared the Division off -- and the Depression didn't help much either.  I am somewhat surprised that the Division never seriously explored extending LRN 111 (present CA 203) west down the hill from Devils' Postpile, which is on the west side of the ridgeline; while a bit convoluted for a potential US 6 routing, it might be at least marginally higher on the feasibility scale.  Probably would have had to hug the canyon walls in the San Joaquin River watershed -- and, let's face it -- any crossing south of Tioga would be exceptionally expensive to both construct & maintain -- particularly with prewar construction methods.

The Depression likely is what killed the Lone Pine to Porterville Highway as most of it was built before 1927 (the eastern half of the plan was brought into the long term goals for CA 190).  By the time anyone floated extending LRN 111 to Fresno it was way too close to the California EPA act.  Fears of demolishing or marring Devil’s Postpile certainly didn’t help matters.  The irony is that the Forest Service was the one who built the only new Trans-Sierra Road in the second half of the 20th Century over Sherman Pass.

 


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