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Author Topic: US 26 on the Sunset Highway  (Read 239 times)

Max Rockatansky

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US 26 on the Sunset Highway
« on: September 17, 2019, 12:02:15 AM »

On a recent trip to Oregon I had a chance to drive the entire Sunset Highway west from I-405 in Portland over the Northern Oregon Coast Range to US 101.  The Sunset Highway was completed in 1949 and was signed as parts of OR 2 and OR 6 until US 26 was extended to Astoria in 1952.  The Sunset Highway has several notable structures such as; the 1969/1970 Vista Ridge Tunnels, an underpass of the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad, 1940 Dennis L. Edwards Tunnel, the 1939 arch concrete Nehalem River Bridge and 1934 East Humbug Creek timber stringer bridge.  I found the Sunset Highway to more scenic than I was expecting, suffice to say it is worth just to see the tunnels and old bridge work:

https://www.gribblenation.org/2019/09/us-route-26-on-sunset-highway-from.html


nexus73

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Re: US 26 on the Sunset Highway
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2019, 12:57:32 AM »

Thanks for posting the old maps showing SR 53 as the original US 101.  Next time I am in that area, this route will get a visit.

You might have just taken 1st place on the net for a description and history of the Sunset Highway.  It is fascinating to see how the road network developed! 

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.

Thunderbyrd316

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Re: US 26 on the Sunset Highway
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2019, 01:51:23 PM »

   I just wish to make a comment about one quote in this extensive article. "A major change to US 26 on the Sunset Highway came when it was built to freeway standards in Tanner Creek Canyon FOLLOWING (emphasis added) the completion of the Vista Ridge Tunnels in 1969 and 1970."

   US 26 between Oregon 217 and SW Jefferson Street was actually constructed to full (if somewhat primitive) freeway standards BEFORE the completion of the of the Vista Ridge Tunnels. The original freeway structures at the Zoo Interchange, the Sylvan Interchange and Oregon 8 where ALL constructed in the 1950's AND originally what is now the Jefferson Street ramps were built to full freeway standard, complete with a 1960's era white painted steel guard rail center divider. This short segment of freeway remained as a very short 4 lane "stub" freeway, including a 1950's era interchange with SW Murray Street which is now a surface intersection with what is now posted as a "private driveway", after the completion of the tunnels. The white painted 1960's era center guard rail extended just east of the Vista Bridge where the route transitioned to surface street.

   When the light rail line was installed in the late 1990's the remaining 1950's era stub freeway segment that connected US 26 with SW Jefferson Street was erased and replaced with the existing 2-lane configuration, the light rail line taking up some of the original freeway right of way. The other 1950's era structures along US 26 to the west were replaced in other projects, the largest of these being the complete reconstruction of the Sylvan / Oregon 8 Interchange that included the addition of the truck bypass ramp.

   At some point in the late '60's - very early '70's the 1950's freeway between the Vista Ridge Tunnels was widened from 4 lanes to the current 6 - 7 lane configuration but this segment was fully freeway dating back to the 1950's.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: US 26 on the Sunset Highway
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2019, 01:09:56 AM »

Out of curiosity do you have a time frame or public works document regarding construction of the US 26/Sunset Freeway?  Iíll go back tomorrow and clarify ďa full freeway to I-405Ē but I would like to add as much available information as possible to add to the timeline on the blog. 

 


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