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Author Topic: US 50/Echo Summit  (Read 984 times)

Max Rockatansky

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US 50/Echo Summit
« on: June 25, 2017, 08:41:29 AM »

The last pass I took over the weekend US 50 over Echo Summit.  I managed to get a couple pictures of the old US 50 alignment even on the final approach to the summit but I'll be going over that one I get a chance to look at the state highway maps to see when the shift was made:

https://www.flickr.com/gp/151828809@N08/TBnqp6

gonealookin

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Re: US 50/Echo Summit
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2017, 12:47:32 PM »

The last pass I took over the weekend US 50 over Echo Summit.  I managed to get a couple pictures of the old US 50 alignment even on the final approach to the summit but I'll be going over that one I get a chance to look at the state highway maps to see when the shift was made:

The modern alignment of US 50 over Echo Summit was completed between 1936 and 1947.  The upper part, moving the alignment from the old Lincoln Highway routing over Johnson Pass south to Echo Summit, was done in 1936-1939.  The lower part, replacing the gated road you photographed from that point down to Meyers, was completed in 1947, after a break for the war.  There's an article about the upgrading of this section of US 50 in the Sept./Oct. 1947 issue of "California Highways and Public Works".

An upcoming project to replace one of the 1936-1939 bridges which hangs on the cliff above Christmas Valley is going to force a full closure of US 50 for an extended time in 2019 or 2020.  Link to Caltrans info on the project HERE.  There has already been plenty of consternation among the South Lake Tahoe business community about the closure, because the "Alternate US 50" routing over CA 88/Carson Pass really isn't an adequate alternative to US 50.

Edit:  The old Johnson Pass Road is still open but it is narrow with some extremely tight curves, so it's totally unacceptable as a detour for normal US 50 traffic.  In a previous construction closure it was open only to emergency vehicles, and I think maybe a few of the local residents up there got entry permits.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 12:52:17 PM by gonealookin »
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: US 50/Echo Summit
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2017, 12:06:13 AM »

The last pass I took over the weekend US 50 over Echo Summit.  I managed to get a couple pictures of the old US 50 alignment even on the final approach to the summit but I'll be going over that one I get a chance to look at the state highway maps to see when the shift was made:

The modern alignment of US 50 over Echo Summit was completed between 1936 and 1947.  The upper part, moving the alignment from the old Lincoln Highway routing over Johnson Pass south to Echo Summit, was done in 1936-1939.  The lower part, replacing the gated road you photographed from that point down to Meyers, was completed in 1947, after a break for the war.  There's an article about the upgrading of this section of US 50 in the Sept./Oct. 1947 issue of "California Highways and Public Works".

An upcoming project to replace one of the 1936-1939 bridges which hangs on the cliff above Christmas Valley is going to force a full closure of US 50 for an extended time in 2019 or 2020.  Link to Caltrans info on the project HERE.  There has already been plenty of consternation among the South Lake Tahoe business community about the closure, because the "Alternate US 50" routing over CA 88/Carson Pass really isn't an adequate alternative to US 50.

Edit:  The old Johnson Pass Road is still open but it is narrow with some extremely tight curves, so it's totally unacceptable as a detour for normal US 50 traffic.  In a previous construction closure it was open only to emergency vehicles, and I think maybe a few of the local residents up there got entry permits.

Interesting that Caltrans is seriously considering shutting down US 50, that will be a complete disaster in the making.  Wasn't CA 88 pressed into US 50T service a couple years back if memory serves correctly?  88 isn't too bad but it definitely isn't built to filter out the truck traffic from the cars like US 50 is.  Interestingly I do have a link to the 1935 Eldorado County highway map showing the original alignment over Johnson Pass:

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~247279~5515350:Eldorado-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=31&trs=163

Looks like US 50 jumped over to Echo Summit to Johnson Pass sometime between 1940 and 1942 given the slight bow on the 42 map:

1940 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239585~5511890: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=67&trs=86

1942 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239582~5511888: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=65&trs=86

Looks like the alignment of US 50 shifted north of Johnson Pass Road some time from 1956 to 1957:

1956 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239549~5511866: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=43&trs=86

1957 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239546~5511864: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=41&trs=86

gonealookin

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Re: US 50/Echo Summit
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2017, 12:45:28 AM »

Here are the California Highways and Public Works articles with reference to the specific opening dates of the new alignments:

Upper part, shift off Johnson Pass Road to current Echo Summit:  July 17, 1940:
https://archive.org/stream/california193940highwacalirich#page/n647/mode/2up

Lower part:  they say there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Meyers Grade at the Bijou Center in South Lake Tahoe on September 13, 1947:
https://archive.org/stream/californiahighwa194547calirich#page/n675/mode/2up

The 1947 article skips around a lot in that issue; from that second link, skip back several pages to 664/724 of the file and there's a nice picture of the very familiar final sweeping curve at the bottom of Meyers Grade.  The guardrail and striping have been modernized but otherwise it looks exactly the same, 70 years later.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 12:50:05 AM by gonealookin »
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hm insulators

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Re: US 50/Echo Summit
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2017, 05:02:25 PM »

The last pass I took over the weekend US 50 over Echo Summit.  I managed to get a couple pictures of the old US 50 alignment even on the final approach to the summit but I'll be going over that one I get a chance to look at the state highway maps to see when the shift was made:

The modern alignment of US 50 over Echo Summit was completed between 1936 and 1947.  The upper part, moving the alignment from the old Lincoln Highway routing over Johnson Pass south to Echo Summit, was done in 1936-1939.  The lower part, replacing the gated road you photographed from that point down to Meyers, was completed in 1947, after a break for the war.  There's an article about the upgrading of this section of US 50 in the Sept./Oct. 1947 issue of "California Highways and Public Works".

An upcoming project to replace one of the 1936-1939 bridges which hangs on the cliff above Christmas Valley is going to force a full closure of US 50 for an extended time in 2019 or 2020.  Link to Caltrans info on the project HERE.  There has already been plenty of consternation among the South Lake Tahoe business community about the closure, because the "Alternate US 50" routing over CA 88/Carson Pass really isn't an adequate alternative to US 50.




Not to mention the casinos on the Nevada side of the lake.

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