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Old California State Route 41 on Road 425C, Road 425B, and Road 425A/Old Yosemite Road

Over my numerous visits to the Oakhurst Area I have take some time to visit the early alignments of California State Route 41.  From Coarsegold northward California State Route 41 originally followed what is now; Road 425C, Road 425B, and Road 426 into Oakhurst.



Part 1; Legislative Route 125 and early California State Route 41 in Madera County

According to CAhighways.org Legislative Route Number 125 was added to the State Highway System during 1933.  1933 was a notable year given the State Legislature decided the Division of Highways could maintain roads within cities which led to a massive number of additions of State Highways.  Legislative Route Number 125 ("LRN 125") in it's original form was defined as a highway between Moro Bay northward to the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park at the Wawona Road.  Within Madera County much of LRN 125 inherited existing roadways temporarily until they could be brought up to State Highway standards.  From Coarsegold the route of LRN 125 took the following route towards Sugar Pine:

-  Road 425C in Deadwood Gulch over modern California State Route 41 ("CA 41)" to Road 425B.
-  Road 425B atop Deadwood Hill downhill to Road 426.
-  Road 426 into Oakhurst over modern CA 41 to Road 425A.
-  Road 425A and Old Yosemite Road.

The new alignment of LRN 125 from Oakhurst 4.1 miles north to Hawkins School was first advertised in the March 1934 California Highways & Public Works Guide.


The April 1934 California Highways & Public Works Guide shows the realignment of LRN 125 north of Oakhurst contract awarded to Fredrickson & Waston Construction Company.


The Sign State Routes were announced in the August 1934 California Highways & Public Works Guide.  CA 41 was aligned from Cambria north to the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park.  From the vicinity of Shandon and Cholame CA 41 was aligned over LRN 125.  CA 41 initially would have been aligned over the existing roadways which comprised LRN 125 within Madera County. 



The January 1935 California Highways & Public Works Guide cites that the realignment project of CA 41/LRN 125 was extended south from Oakhurst to Coarsegold as part of the 1935 Federal Aid Apportionment for Northern California Counties.


The August 1935 California Highways & Public Works Guide cites that the contract for the realignment of CA 41/LRN 125 between Coarsegold north to Oakhurst was awarded.  While not stated outright this seems to imply that the CA 41/LRN 125 realignment north of Oakhurst was already complete.


The 1935 Division of Highways Map of Madera County shows CA 41/LRN 125 bypassing Road 425A/Old Yosemite Road in favor of it's current alignment north of Oakhurst.  Road 425A/Old Yosemite Road can be seen west of Oakhurst near the Burford Ranger Station.


The realignment of CA 41/LRN 125 from Coarsegold north to Oakhurst is cited as a 1935 project in the October 1936 California Highways & Public Works Guide.


According to Fresno Flats Historic Park the realignment project CA 41/LRN 125 between Coarsegold and Oakhurst during 1936.  The realignment of CA 41/LRN 125 north of Oakhurst is cited to have been completed at some point during 1934.






Part 2; a drive on Road 425C, Road 425B, Road 426, and CA 41 to Road 425A

Our drive on Old CA 41 begins at Postmile MAD 31.741 along modern CA 41 in Deadwood Gulch north of Coarsegold.  Modern CA 41 meets it's former alignment which is displayed as Road 425C.


Road 425C northbound has an advisory sign indicating it is a one lane road.


Road 425C northbound largely is now a residential street but the early highway grade is obvious since it takes advantage of terrain gaps in Deadwood Gulch.  Road 425C north terminates at CA 41 Postmile MAD 32.683 near the top of Deadwood Hill.





















The original alignment of CA 41 merges into the modern highway and follows it to the top of Deadwood Hill which is at 3,000 feet above sea level.  Road 425B can be found at Postmile MAD 32.899.



Traffic on Road 425B northbound is greeted with a one-lane road and truck advisory.


Road 425B is narrow but widen enough for two passenger vehicles.  Road 425B had no posted speed limit but the steep downhill grade from the top of Deadwood Hill keeps most vehicles somewhere around 20-25 MPH.


I would speculate the grade on Road 425B is well within excess of 10% during the initial northward drop.  There is a couple large switchbacks which widen out into a vista of Oakhurst and the valley carved out by the Fresno River watershed.










At Stillmeadow Drive Road 425B widens out to a two-lane road..


Road 425B descends down into Oakhurst and ends at a crossing of China Creek at Road 426.


Traffic on CA 41 would have followed what is now Road 426 westward back to modern CA 41 in Oakhurst.  Road 426 meets modern CA 41 at Post Mile MAD 35.761. 


From modern CA 41 looking northbound one can seen Road 425A just ahead at Postmile MAD 35.868.


North of Oakhurst Road 425A becomes private property and has a gap which connects to Old Yosemite Road.  Old Yosemite Road connects back to modern CA 41 just north of the Lewis Creek Trailhead at Postmile MAD 43.047.  Ironically Old Yosemite Road within Sierra National Forest is Forest Road 6S41 which might not be a coincidental numbering.

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