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Author Topic: CA 70; Feather River Highway  (Read 1664 times)

Max Rockatansky

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CA 70; Feather River Highway
« on: June 25, 2017, 08:27:29 AM »

I haven't been to the Feather River Highway in along time but I took it back over the Sierras after using CA 49 on Yuba Pass.  I think that I managed to get all the pictures of the good stuff like the; steel truss bridges, rail shifts over the highway, tunnels, and I even managed to get a train going under CA 70:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsm3e3sLn

This one kind of interests me because I haven't really taken a serious look into US 40a and the original alignment on Dark Canyon Road in much depth.  That being said I'll probably make it a priority to revisit this one early in the week with all the 1935 County Highway Maps.

andy3175

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2017, 12:33:53 AM »

Good set of pictures, Max. Our take from seven years ago:

http://www.aaroads.com/california/ca-070.html
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2017, 01:34:07 AM »

Good set of pictures, Max. Our take from seven years ago:

http://www.aaroads.com/california/ca-070.html

Thanks, I think you guys got the better angle on the Pulga Bridge compared to me though.  I like the stub on Dark Canyon Road, I really wish that I had the time to go down there but I wanted to make it over to Oroville Dam to see what I could see with the spillway construction.  Really that didn't amount to a whole lot as nobody really lets you get too close the broken spillway but I did manage some decent pictures of the Dam and Lake with some emphasis facing the North Fork Feather River where CA 70 used to be:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsm359dCq

Incidentally the power plant at Oroville seems to have churned out a good 100 feet of water from the lake since the spillway eroded during the winter.  I asked the visitor center if there was any decent vantage points that were still accessible....sadly there are none.

Incidentally I'm not sure how often you guys are out on the road doing route clinching these days.  But if you see something that might be viable for the site that hasn't been covered before let me know, I'd be more than happy to have it shared on the main site.  There might be some stuff that is viable like Nacimiento-Fergusson that might be handy to have.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 01:44:59 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2017, 06:36:30 PM »

CA 70 from Oroville along the Feather River Highway to Quincy has some interesting history in terms of route numbering and alignments.  Originally the Feather River Highway was part of SSR 24 which can be see on the 1938 State Highway Map:

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239588~5511892:Road-Map-of-the-State-of-California?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=69&trs=86

Prior to the construction of Oroville Dam the Feather River Highway was substantially different.   East out of Oroville SSR 24 took what is now Oroville Dam Blvd/County Route B2 to the approximate location of Oroville Dam where it would have crossed the Feather River.   SSR 24 followed the west bank of the North Fork Feather River where it would have joined the modern alignment of CA 70 via Dark Canyon Road.  The 1935 County Road Map shows the older alignment very clearly:

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~247269~5515345:Butte-County-?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:california%2Bdivision%2Bof%2Bhighways;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=26&trs=163

In 1955 the Feather River Highway was renumbered as US 40A and really honestly it is kind of the perfect alternate to even Donner Summit, much less Donner Pass.  The change from SSR 24 can been on the following two maps:

1954 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239555~5511870:Road-Map-of-the-State-of-California?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=47&trs=86

1955 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239552~5511868:Road-Map-of-the-State-of-California?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=45&trs=86

By 1958 the newly adopted planned alignment of US 40A out of Oroville appears to the west of the highway to make way for the Oroville Dam project:

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239543~5511862:Road-Map-of-the-State-of-California?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=39&trs=86

By 1963 US 40A is shifted onto the new aligment modern of the Feather River Highway:

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239528~5511852:State-Highway-Map,-California,-1963?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=29&trs=86

By 1965 State Highway Maps show the Feather River Highway renumbered to CA 70:

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239522~5511848:State-Highway-Map,-California,-1965?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=25&trs=86

And finally on the 1967 state highway map Oroville Lake appears as the project was nearing completion:

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239516~5511844:State-Highway-Map,-California,-1967?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=21&trs=86

I know Oroville Dam was dedicated in 1968 but I'm unsure of when the actual waters were allowed to filled the reservoir.  Obviously with the whole Oroville Dam spillway debacle earlier this year the lake level is much lower to prevent any sort of issue if the repairs aren't completed on time.  It might be a good time to check out Dark Canyon Road since it certainly is well above water at present time.

sparker

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2017, 09:06:31 PM »

Max: as per your usual, outstanding pictures.  Glad to see UP got the Feather River tracks opened again; last winter's flooding really did a number on that line.  Looks like you captured a unit BNSF/CP "grain train"; these trains are assembled from both U.S. and Canadian wheat crops at Minot, ND and use BNSF's trackage rights over UP from the Keddie Wye (right off 70/89 further up the canyon) down to Stockton before reaching the port terminal at Richmond.  Export grain is one of the few bright spots in our Chinese balance-of-trade; the Chinese certainly have developed a taste for pasta, and winter durum wheat is the grain of choice for that product. 
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 09:10:37 PM by sparker »
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2017, 09:15:10 PM »

Max: as per your usual, outstanding pictures.  Glad to see UP got the Feather River tracks opened again; last winter's flooding really did a number on that line.  Looks like you captured a unit BNSF/CP "grain train"; these trains are assembled from both U.S. and Canadian wheat crops at Minot, ND and use BNSF's trackage rights over UP from the Keddie Wye (right off 70/89 further up the canyon) down to Stockton before reaching the port terminal at Richmond.  Export grain is one of the few bright spots in our Chinese balance-of-trade; the Chinese certainly have developed a taste for pasta, and winter durum wheat is the grain of choice for that product.

Thanks, yeah that was really something that I just happened to pull over at the Pulga Bridge when that train was coming.  Admittedly I'm on the novice level with rail knowledge but that was really neat to see that slow crawl up to the bridge.  But what a feat of engineering that rail-line really is, doesn't it maintain a 1% grade through the entirety of the Feather River Canyon? 

Edit:  Incidentally did you see the rail sheds pictures I took from Donner Pass?  It also looked like there was a new rail over pass east of the pass on 89 in Truckee.

hm insulators

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2017, 04:36:09 PM »

My brother lives in Paradise, so you were really close to him. I've been up the road from Oroville to Paradise, as well as the unnumbered road from Chico to Paradise (Skyway, I think it's called).

Great picture of the road ducking under the powerhouse structure in the canyon; as a longtime insulator collector and someone who looks at a lot of power lines, that was truly unique!  :clap: I've never seen anything like it; I'll have to check it out whenever the next time I see my brother will be.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2017, 04:52:49 PM »

My brother lives in Paradise, so you were really close to him. I've been up the road from Oroville to Paradise, as well as the unnumbered road from Chico to Paradise (Skyway, I think it's called).

Great picture of the road ducking under the powerhouse structure in the canyon; as a longtime insulator collector and someone who looks at a lot of power lines, that was truly unique!  :clap: I've never seen anything like it; I'll have to check it out whenever the next time I see my brother will be.

I've never seen that with a powerhouse either but I seem to recall there was mine structures that crossed over AZ 177 and US 191 in Arizona.  Really though there so much transportation and infrastructure stuff all piled on top of each other in the Feather River Canyon that it's a pretty amazing piece of engineering in my opinion.  70 is such a gentle drive also which makes it easy to see why it's a popular truck route. 

sparker

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2017, 05:10:24 PM »

Max: as per your usual, outstanding pictures.  Glad to see UP got the Feather River tracks opened again; last winter's flooding really did a number on that line.  Looks like you captured a unit BNSF/CP "grain train"; these trains are assembled from both U.S. and Canadian wheat crops at Minot, ND and use BNSF's trackage rights over UP from the Keddie Wye (right off 70/89 further up the canyon) down to Stockton before reaching the port terminal at Richmond.  Export grain is one of the few bright spots in our Chinese balance-of-trade; the Chinese certainly have developed a taste for pasta, and winter durum wheat is the grain of choice for that product.

Thanks, yeah that was really something that I just happened to pull over at the Pulga Bridge when that train was coming.  Admittedly I'm on the novice level with rail knowledge but that was really neat to see that slow crawl up to the bridge.  But what a feat of engineering that rail-line really is, doesn't it maintain a 1% grade through the entirety of the Feather River Canyon? 

Edit:  Incidentally did you see the rail sheds pictures I took from Donner Pass?  It also looked like there was a new rail over pass east of the pass on 89 in Truckee.

Yeah, the old Western Pacific (acquired in 1982 by UP) did maintain a consistent 1% grade all the way from Oroville to Beckwourth Pass (with a flatter section near Portola, where they had a switching yard that's now part of a RR museum).  The line wasn't opened until 1909, so by that time improvements in track geometry were available -- plus lessons learned from past efforts.  Like the SP surmounting of the Tehachapi range, there's a complete loop (the "Williams" loop, after the surveyor who laid it out) on this line about a quarter-mile off 70/89 between Quincy and Spring Garden, necessary to maintain grade along a Feather River segment with a significant elevation drop and some nasty rapids -- they needed to gain a lot of elevation in a short longitudinal section, so a loop it was!   I would have loved to have ridden the original California Zephyr over this route, but it was discontinued in 1969 while I was still a poor undergraduate in SoCal, so that was an opportunity unfulfilled! 

As you know, CA 89 still goes through the "mousehole" near Truckee; the only new overcrossing of the RR tracks is the parallel CA 267 bridge to the east, built when the road was twinned a couple of years ago.  CT District 3 certainly has "roundabout fever", particularly near the 80/89/267 interchange; probably works quite well for a tourist-oriented "village" situation like that posed in Truckee.  Fortunately, there's not a lot of truck traffic on 89 north of I-80; most commercial distribution for the area originates in Reno, so US 395 and CA 70 bear most of that brunt!   
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andy3175

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2017, 11:59:51 PM »

Incidentally I'm not sure how often you guys are out on the road doing route clinching these days.  But if you see something that might be viable for the site that hasn't been covered before let me know, I'd be more than happy to have it shared on the main site.  There might be some stuff that is viable like Nacimiento-Fergusson that might be handy to have.

With life changes, my road tripping has reduced significantly in the past seven or eight years. Where in the 2000s I'd try to get out onto the road two or three times a month, nowadays I am lucky to be out two or three times a year. That said, Alex has been far more active with his road tripping, and he's taken several significant trips already this year.

In addition to challenges with time available for trips, I've also had limited time to make site updates. Alex again has been much more prolific than me, but I do hope to catch up. My most recent update was to add pictures of I-80 eastbound in Wyoming, and I'm still not done with that update.

As for your pictures added onto the main site, I think that would be a great idea. Right now, we're converting main site pages from HTML to PHP, and that conversion will make further updates of webpages much easier to complete. Your pictures of CA 49 through Downieville for instance are terrific and far better than the ones I took in 2003. So perhaps there is an opportunity down the road, pun intended, once we get more of our pages converted. We don't have any page for Nacimiento-Fergusson Road on AARoads. That would be a fun one to profile too.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2017, 02:33:36 AM »

Incidentally I'm not sure how often you guys are out on the road doing route clinching these days.  But if you see something that might be viable for the site that hasn't been covered before let me know, I'd be more than happy to have it shared on the main site.  There might be some stuff that is viable like Nacimiento-Fergusson that might be handy to have.

With life changes, my road tripping has reduced significantly in the past seven or eight years. Where in the 2000s I'd try to get out onto the road two or three times a month, nowadays I am lucky to be out two or three times a year. That said, Alex has been far more active with his road tripping, and he's taken several significant trips already this year.

In addition to challenges with time available for trips, I've also had limited time to make site updates. Alex again has been much more prolific than me, but I do hope to catch up. My most recent update was to add pictures of I-80 eastbound in Wyoming, and I'm still not done with that update.

As for your pictures added onto the main site, I think that would be a great idea. Right now, we're converting main site pages from HTML to PHP, and that conversion will make further updates of webpages much easier to complete. Your pictures of CA 49 through Downieville for instance are terrific and far better than the ones I took in 2003. So perhaps there is an opportunity down the road, pun intended, once we get more of our pages converted. We don't have any page for Nacimiento-Fergusson Road on AARoads. That would be a fun one to profile too.

Let me know when you guys have everything sorted out, I definitely would be up for sharing some stuff to the main site.  Really hobbies like this are more a labor of love IMO than anything else.  That being the case I already have everything cataloged with all the links/information that I've been putting on here, it would be cake to get the notes translated into something more reader friendly I think (kind of like the Nacimiento-Fergusson thread as an example format).  I would just hate to see something viable or enjoyable go to waste and not be shared....really I tend to stick to more obscure, mountainous, dangerous, or historic stuff.  It probably doesn't hurt I find even the writing and research parts of these threads almost as enjoyable.  I think it would be a fun endeavor provided the site is upgraded at some point in the future when that is more of an open possibility.  I'll be around, just hit me up and we'll figure it out then.

andy3175

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2017, 12:50:30 AM »

Incidentally I'm not sure how often you guys are out on the road doing route clinching these days.  But if you see something that might be viable for the site that hasn't been covered before let me know, I'd be more than happy to have it shared on the main site.  There might be some stuff that is viable like Nacimiento-Fergusson that might be handy to have.

With life changes, my road tripping has reduced significantly in the past seven or eight years. Where in the 2000s I'd try to get out onto the road two or three times a month, nowadays I am lucky to be out two or three times a year. That said, Alex has been far more active with his road tripping, and he's taken several significant trips already this year.

In addition to challenges with time available for trips, I've also had limited time to make site updates. Alex again has been much more prolific than me, but I do hope to catch up. My most recent update was to add pictures of I-80 eastbound in Wyoming, and I'm still not done with that update.

As for your pictures added onto the main site, I think that would be a great idea. Right now, we're converting main site pages from HTML to PHP, and that conversion will make further updates of webpages much easier to complete. Your pictures of CA 49 through Downieville for instance are terrific and far better than the ones I took in 2003. So perhaps there is an opportunity down the road, pun intended, once we get more of our pages converted. We don't have any page for Nacimiento-Fergusson Road on AARoads. That would be a fun one to profile too.

Let me know when you guys have everything sorted out, I definitely would be up for sharing some stuff to the main site.  Really hobbies like this are more a labor of love IMO than anything else.  That being the case I already have everything cataloged with all the links/information that I've been putting on here, it would be cake to get the notes translated into something more reader friendly I think (kind of like the Nacimiento-Fergusson thread as an example format).  I would just hate to see something viable or enjoyable go to waste and not be shared....really I tend to stick to more obscure, mountainous, dangerous, or historic stuff.  It probably doesn't hurt I find even the writing and research parts of these threads almost as enjoyable.  I think it would be a fun endeavor provided the site is upgraded at some point in the future when that is more of an open possibility.  I'll be around, just hit me up and we'll figure it out then.

Thanks Max. More to come on this topic soon, as Alex is working on some global changes that should enable us to have a much easier process to create and update webpages. I'm sitting on tons of material that needs to find its way online, and hopefully some of those global changes will make that process easier.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2017, 10:28:21 PM »

Given the recent move by Photobucket removing the sharing function I'm kind of tempted to redo some of my previous Max's Road stuff in Road Blog format....I know there was some stuff like Sherman Pass  and Mineral Kind Road last year that would make cool additions.  Looking forward to hearing about the updates, really it is just fun to share the road stuff in general.

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2018, 08:02:31 PM »

The section between Oroville and Marysville will receive a widening to four lanes. Doesnít look like any grade separation. Iím not sure about the scope of the project but it seems significant at nearly 500 million dollars for the entire thing.

Construction starts next year or 2020 and ends 2025.

http://krcrtv.com/news/butte-county/funding-approved-for-highway-70-renovation

I donít know the needs of this area but I want to go as it looks pretty. I would think a Marysville bypass would be beneficial.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2018, 11:25:19 PM »

The section between Oroville and Marysville will receive a widening to four lanes. Doesnít look like any grade separation. Iím not sure about the scope of the project but it seems significant at nearly 500 million dollars for the entire thing.

Construction starts next year or 2020 and ends 2025.

http://krcrtv.com/news/butte-county/funding-approved-for-highway-70-renovation

I donít know the needs of this area but I want to go as it looks pretty. I would think a Marysville bypass would be beneficial.

70 and 20 run through downtown Marysville, the traffic level has made such an upgrade way over due.  There are some really nasty and very narrow rail underpasses in Marysville, a bypass would go a long way to having 70 in line with the current expressway configurations.

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Re: CA 70; Feather River Highway
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2018, 04:20:44 AM »

The section between Oroville and Marysville will receive a widening to four lanes. Doesnít look like any grade separation. Iím not sure about the scope of the project but it seems significant at nearly 500 million dollars for the entire thing.

Construction starts next year or 2020 and ends 2025.

http://krcrtv.com/news/butte-county/funding-approved-for-highway-70-renovation

I donít know the needs of this area but I want to go as it looks pretty. I would think a Marysville bypass would be beneficial.

70 and 20 run through downtown Marysville, the traffic level has made such an upgrade way over due.  There are some really nasty and very narrow rail underpasses in Marysville, a bypass would go a long way to having 70 in line with the current expressway configurations.

The original plans for the "East Valley" corridor, which included CA 99 from I-5 north to CA 70, CA 70 north to CA 149, all of CA 149, and CA 99 north through Chico (plans north of there were shelved in the '90's) were for a Midwest-style expressway with freeway segments through the significant towns and interchanges at major intersecting highways.  This would have included a freeway bypass of Marysville, the site of the last in-town surface street routing.  Unfortunately only the segments at the ends of the corridor -- I-5 to Olivehurst and Oroville to just north of Chico -- were completed as planned; everything else was cut back to conventional 4-lane commercial standards (although a largely at-grade bypass of Marysville via the Feather River berm and making use of the present Yuba River CA 70 bridge is currently under study) due to lack of the funding needed to acquire significant property between Marysville and Oroville for even an expressway upgrade.  So a "5-lane" solution it is -- hoping that such channelization will successfully address the safety problem of traffic-lane left turns into the many roadside businesses (largely characterized by fruit stands and small farmers' markets) between those towns.  And the original plans for an eastside Marysville freeway bypass have been dashed by the expense of a new Yuba River crossing.   
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