Part 1; the history of California State Route 58 after US Route 466
California State Route 58 ("CA 58") from Bakersfield east to Barstow was once signed as part of US Route 466 ("US 466"). The original alignment of US 466 over Tehachapi Pass is substantially different than the modern freeway/expressway alignments of CA 58 and was covered in the previous blog entry below. This blog will primarily focus on the development of the Bakersfield-Barstow corridor of CA 58 after the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.
Legacy of US Route 466 Part 2; Tehachapi to Bakersfield
It should be noted that US 466 saw freeway and expressway upgrades prior to the 1964 State Highway Renumbering. According to the January/February 1963 California Highways & Public Works US 466 was opened as a freeway from Caliente Road (modern Bealeville Road) east to Keene on October 30th 1962. This new freeway segment connected to another previously constructed segment which spanned 12 miles westward. This previous freeway segment had been opened during December 1960.
The present CA 58 is a 241 mile east/west State Highway spanning from US 101 in Santa Margarita east to Interstate 15 ("I-15") in Barstow. The present CA
58 was created during the 1964 State Highway renumbering out of what was
CA 178 between Santa Margarita east to Bakersfield and US 466 from
Bakersfield east to Barstow. By comparing the 1963 Division of Highways Map to
the 1964 edition CA 58 can be seen applied over what was CA 178 east of
Santa Margarita to Bakersfield and as a legislative route number applied to US
466 east to Barstow.
1963 Division of Highways Map
1964 Division of Highways Map
Amusingly the designation of CA 58 is not a coincidence and was the Legislative Route Number ("LRN") over the entire course of the present route prior to the 1964 State Highway Renumbering. Legislative Route Number 58 ("LRN 58") extended even further east of Barstow on US 66 to the Arizona State Line. According to CAhighways.org the legislative adoptions of LRN 58 were added on the following timeline:
- LRN 58 was defined as a State Highway as part of the 1919 Third State Highway Bond Act between Mojave and Needles.
- In 1931 LRN 58 was extended west to Bakersfield.
- In 1933 LRN 58 was extended west to Santa Margarita.
More on LRN 58 can be found on CAhighways.org.
CAhighways.org on CA 58/LRN 58
According to the November/December 1964 California Highways & Public Works the new CA 58 freeway east of Keene towards Techachapi Summit (7.6 miles) had been graded. A paving contract to complete this new segment of CA 58 is cited as being awarded by the Division of Highways.
By 1965 US 466 was pushed back to Baker which left CA 58 as a standalone signed route between Bakersfield east to Barstow. It wouldn't be until 1971 that US 466 was removed from California by the AASHO.
1965 Division of Highways Map
The recently completed CA 58 freeway looking east towards CA 223 is shown as the back cover of the July/August 1966 California Highways & Public Works.
The November/December 1966 California Highways & Public Works cites an extension of the CA 58 freeway near the Tehachapi Overhead 12.7 miles eastward on a bypass route of the City of Tehachapi to a completed segment near Cameron. This extension of the CA 58 freeway through the City of Tehachapi was earmarked for the 1968-69 fiscal year.
The 1967 Division of Highways Map shows the planned CA 58 bypass route of Tehachapi and Mojave for the first time.
1967 Division of Highways Map
The planned Hinkley Bypass and Kramer Junction Bypass first appear on the 1969 Division of Highways Map.
The 1975 Caltrans State Highway Map shows the CA 58 freeway completed west to Cottonwood Road in Bakersfield. The Tehachapi Bypass route of CA 58 is shown completed along with part of the CA 58 expressway west of Boron.
1975 Caltrans State Highway Map
The 1977 Caltrans State Highway Map shows the CA 58 freeway in Bakersfield complete.
1977 Caltrans State Highway Map
The 1981 Caltrans State Highway Map shows CA 58 completely upgraded to a four lane expressway between Mojave and Boron.
1981 Caltrans State Highway Map
The CA 58 bypass of Mojave opened to traffic in September 2003 followed by the new CA 58/I-15 interchanged south of Barstow in early 2004. Both new alignments appear on the 2005 Caltrans State Map.
2005 Caltrans State Highway Map
By early 2017 the Hinkley Bypass segment of CA 58 had opened to traffic which was followed by the Kramer Junction Bypass in June of 2020. With the completion of the Kramer Junction Bypass CA 58 has been completely upgraded to four lanes from Bakersfield east to Barstow. CA 58 from Bakersfield-Barstow contains numerous segments with at-grade intersections but nonetheless is free of traffic lights.
According to CAhighways.org CA 58 between Bakersfield and Barstow was submitted for addition to the Interstate system in 1956 and 1968 but was rejected both times. The slow conversion of CA 58 to a fully limited access road between Bakersfield and Barstow no doubt has was hindered by not receiving early Interstate era funds. CA 58 from Bakersfield-Barstow is far from Interstate standards and despite popular conjecture is not presently planned in any capacity to become a westward extension of I-40.
Part 2; a drive on California State Route 58 from Bakersfield east to Barstow
The approach to CA 58 eastbound illustrated below is on CA 99 in Bakerfield of Kern County. Presently CA 99 south picks up CA 58 east at the Rosedale Highway exit and the two routes multiplex over the Kern River.
CA 58 east quickly splits away from CA 99 south of downtown Bakersfield. The CA 58 interchange is presently being reconfigured as part of the Centennial Corridor project which will realign the highway with a new West Side Parkway.
The new CA 58/CA 99 interchange as observed from CA 99 northbound.
CA 58 east meets former US 99 at Union Avenue at Exit 113. Union Avenue is now CA 204 north of CA 58 and the CA 99 Business Route.
On the outskirts of Bakersfield CA 58 east meets CA 184/Weedpatch Highway at Exit 117.
East of CA 184 the City of Barstow is signed as being 122 miles away on CA 58.
CA 58 east continues as a freeway to CA 223. Bear Mountain becomes more and more apparent as CA 58 approaches CA 223. The junction between CA 58 and CA 223 at-grade.
CA 58 east of CA 223 becomes a freeway again and begins to climb to Tehachapi Summit. CA 58 is aligned in the canyons which serve as the divide to the Sierra Nevada Range to the north and the Tehachapi Mountains to the south. Former US 466 is located largely on the ridge line above CA 58 in the Tehacahpi Mountains east of CA 223. Several of the tunnels of the Union Pacific Tehachapi Grade is plainly visible along CA 58 east climbing to Tehachapi. On the climb to Tehachapi CA 58 east passes by a weigh station has an access to Cesar Chavez National Monument via Exit 139 in Keene. At Exit 148 CA 58 east meets CA 202 in Tehachapi.
East of CA 202 Mojave is signed as 20 miles away whereas Bartsow is shown to be 90 miles away.
Approaching Tehacahpi Boulevard (former US 466) CA 58 east climbs above 4,000 feet above sea level. Tehachapi Summit is located just before before Exit 151 at Tehachapi Boulevard at 4,064 feet above sea level.
CA 58 east of Tehachapi Boulevard begins to approach a pass that serves as boundary to the Mojave Desert. The cement plant in Monolith along former US 466 on Tehachapi Boulevard can be seen to the north.
CA 58 east passes through a narrow series of canyons between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Tehachapi Mountains where it emerges into the Mojave Desert. At Exit 167 CA 58 east meets former US 6 on modern CA 14 near Mojave.
South of the junction between CA 58 and CA 14 the Mojave Air and Spaceport can be seen. The facility opened as Mojave Airport in 1935 and became Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station Mojave in 1941 during World War II . The Navy took over the facility in 1946 but it was returned to back to the Marines by late 1953. In 1961 Mojave Airport was transferred back to Kern County, the modern name took affect in early 2013. The Mojave Air and Spaceport is used obviously for space industry development but is more known for maintenance and storage of large aircraft.
At Exit 172 CA 58 east meets the former alignment of US 466 on Mojave-Barstow Highway. CA 58 east drops to expressway grade past Exit 172 and Barstow is signed as 65 miles away.
Past California City CA 58 east becomes a freeway again. Exit 186 is signed as access for Edwards Air Force Base.
At Exit 193 CA 58 meets Twenty Team Mule Road which is the former alignment of US 466.
East of Exit 194 CA 58 has a rest area along the freeway grade.
CA 58 east Exit 199 is signed as access to Boron via Boron Avenue.
East of Boron CA 58 enters the project zone for the Kramer Junction Bypass. These photos below from 2019 illustrate how CA 58 east merged in with the former US 466 alignment on Barstow-Bakersfield Highway and crossed to the south side of the rails. Note; east of Boron CA 58 enters San Bernardino County.
CA 58 east continued as a two-lane highway into Kramer Junction and met US 395 amid a mish-mash of trucker oriented gas stations.
CA 58 eastbound now flows seamlessly from Boron to US 395 in Kramer Junction as a freeway. US 395 is signed as accessible from Exit 206.
CA 58 east of US 395 is signed as 32 miles from Barstow.
At Postmile SBD R7.80 CA 58 crosses the Route 58 Overhead which serves as a rail crossing.
CA 58 east of the Route 58 Overhead becomes an expressway with numerous at-grade intersections. At Postmile SBD R18.30 CA 58 east intersects Helendale Road.
CA 58 east of Helendale Road is signed as CHP Officers Kenneth L Archer and Robert G Carrey Memorial Highway.
CA 58 eastbound intersects Wagner Road at Postmile SBD R22.71.
CA 58 east of Wagner Road becomes a freeway again as the Hinkley Bypass begins.
CA 58 eastbound enters Hinkley and accesses Hinkley Road at Exit 227.
CA 58 east Exit 231 accesses Lenwood Road.
CA 58 eastbound crosses the Mojave River and intersects Main Street/San Bernardino County Route 66 in Barstow. Main Street in Barstow was once part of US 66/91 hence why it carries a County Route 66 designation. The button-copy signage on CA 58 eastbound entering Barstow is among the last installed by Caltrans.
CA 58 east terminates at I-15 in Barstow.