Skip to main content

Old California State Route 41 in Southern Fresno County and the expressway that never was

California State Route 41 is on my short list for most frequently driven highways in the state.  Often on a northbound trip on CA 41 heading towards Fresno I've often wondered why there is a six mile four-lane expressway gap between Excelsior Avenue and Elkhorn Avenue.  It seems that there was some sort of intention to fill the four-lane gap as evidenced by this derelict expressway stub which can be seen on northbound CA 41 north of Elkhorn Avenue.






On my previous entries regarding the alignment history of CA 41 in Kings County and Fresno I over simplified the alignment history of the highway.  While CA 41 did take Elm Avenue from the Kings County Line northward to Fresno what I neglected to mention was that Elm Avenue had various gaps.  The original alignment of CA 41 north of the Kings County line northbound of Fresno would have originally required using the following alignment:

-  Elm Avenue north
-  Excelsior Avenue east
-  Elm Avenue north
-  Elkhorn Avenue east
-  Elm Avenue north

The alignment cited above can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Fresno County.

1935 Fresno County Highway Map

The alignment of CA 41 was straightened between Excelsior Avenue northward to Elkhorn Avenue sometime between 1964 and 1965 as evidenced by comparing the state highway maps from both years.

1964 State Highway Map

1965 State Highway Map

The new alignment for CA 41 between Excelsior Avenue north to Elkhorn Avenue is the current six mile two-lane expressway.  Interestingly it seems that Elm Avenue extended south of Elkhorn Avenue to meet the new two-lane expressway segment.  This grade has almost been completed razed but can be scantly seen on Google Maps.

The current four-lane expressway alignment of CA 41 from Elkhorn Avenue north to CA 99 first appears on the 1969 State Highway Map as a proposed route.

1969 State Highway Map

Sometime between 1982 and 1986 the CA 41 freeway in Fresno was completed to Bullard Avenue.  CA 41 on the south side of the city connected Elm Avenue to it's freeway segment via Jensen Avenue and CA 99.

1982 State Highway Map

1986 State Highway Map 

Update:  I went to Jensen Avenue from Elm Avenue.  Heading east there is still signage indicating that CA 41 is multiplexed onto CA 99.



According to CAhighways.org the four-lane expressway segment of CA 41 from Elkhorn Avenue north to CA 99 was completed in 2004.  The last segment that was built to four-lanes was Elkhorn Avenue north to Mountain View Avenue.

CAhighways.org on CA 41

The Kings County entry in this series can be found here:

Old CA 41 in Kings County

The Kings County blog started on the old alignment of CA 41 southbound from the community of Camden at Elm Avenue and Mount Whitney Avenue.  This entry into southern Fresno County begins from the same locations northbound.


Heading northbound on Elm Avenue the original route of CA 41 would have cut directly over the two-lane 1964-65 replacement alignment which can be seen in the second photo.






After the bend Elm Avenue becomes Camden Avenue.  Today traffic much use Camden Avenue and Harlan Avenue to cross the 1964-65 two-lane CA 41 expressway to reach the next segment of Elm Avenue.






Old CA 41 on Elm Avenue would have crossed Murphy Slough at this location.





Northbound CA 41 originally would have turned right here at Elkhorn Avenue.





CA 41 originally would have turned north here to take Elm Avenue northward to Fresno. 



CA 41 north of Elkhorn Avenue would have crossed through the communities of Elm View and Easton before reaching Fresno.  This gas station at Elm Avenue and Mountain View Avenue has a particularly unique gas station with an airplane sticking out of it.





Directly south of the Elkhorn Avenue/Elm Junction the former alignment of CA 41 south to the 1964-65 two-lane expressway can faintly be envisioned.





The derelict stub of the four-lane expressway can be seen on modern CA 41 northbound north of Elkhorn Avenue.








The entry on the alignment history of CA 41 on surface routes in Fresno can be found here.

Old CA 180 and CA 41 surface alignments in Fresno

Comments

Unknown said…
According to the Caltrans Bridge Logs, the Clayton and Lincoln OCs were built in 1998.
Anonymous said…
It Does. Not end on highway 129 if ends on hwy 1 north

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway (in the making since 1947)

On September 15, 2022, the Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway opened in the city of Modesto from California State Route 99 west to North Dakota Avenue.  Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway was built upon a corridor which was tentatively to designated to become the branching point for Interstate 5W in the 1947 concept of the Interstate Highway System.  The present California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor was adopted by the California Highway Commission on June 20, 1956.  Despite almost being rescinded during the 1970s the concept of the California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor lingered on for over half a century and became likely the oldest undeveloped right-of-way owned by California Transportation Commission.  Pictured above is the planned California State Route 132 freeway west of US Route 99 in Modesto as featured in the May/June 1962 California Highways & Public Works.   The history of the California State Route

Aptos Creek Road to the Loma Prieta ghost town site

Aptos Creek Road is a roadway in Santa Cruz County, California which connects the community of Aptos north to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Parks.  Aptos Creek Road north of Aptos is largely unpaved and is where the town site of Loma Prieta can be located.  Loma Prieta was a sawmill community which operated from 1883-1923 and reached a peak population of approximately three hundred.  Loma Prieta included a railroad which is now occupied by Aptos Creek Road along with a spur to Bridge Creek which now the Loma Prieta Grade Trail.  The site of the Loma Prieta Mill and company town burned in 1942.   Part 1; the history of Aptos Creek Road and the Loma Prieta town site Modern Aptos traces its origin to Mexican Rancho Aptos.  Rancho Aptos was granted by the Mexican Government in 1833 Rafael Castro.  Rancho Aptos took its name from Aptos Creek which coursed through from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey Bay.  Castro initially used Rancho Aptos to raise cattle for their hides.  Following