Skip to main content

California State Route 243

This past month I on the way back home on I-10 westbound from the Palm Springs Area.  In February of 2019 California State Route 243 had largely been closed in the San Jacinto Mountains of Riverside County.  The Caltrans QuickMap noted that CA 243 was accessible about 7 miles south of I-10 and the City of Banning.  I decided to detour off of I-10 to see how far south I could go on CA 243.


CA 243 is a 30 mile highway which begins in San Gorgonio Pass in the City of Banning at I-10 and traverses the San Jacinto Mountains south to CA 74 in Mountain Center.  CA 243 is a very mountainous highway which is largely aligned on the Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Highway.



Part 1; the history of the CA 243 designation

The current CA 243 is the second highway to carry the designation.  The original CA 243 was a reassignment of what had been Legislative Route 170 and during the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.   LRN 170 was added to the State Highway System in 1933 and the segment that was to be the first CA 243 was added as a highway between US 70 north to US 66 in 1959 according to CAhighways.  The unbuilt segment of LRN 170 between US 70 north to US 66 can be seen on the 1960 Division of Highways State Map.


On the 1964 Division of Highways State Map the unbuilt segment of LRN 170 is shown to be reassigned as CA 243.


The first CA 243 was intended to be a freeway between I-10 north to I-210 near Duarte.  In 1968 the original CA 243 was transferred as a new segment of the planned Interstate 605 according to CAhighways.  What had been the first CA 243 can be seen transferred to the I-605 as an unbuilt segment on the 1969 Division of Highways Map.


According to CAhighways in 1970 the Legislature created a new definition for CA 243 which was largely aligned over the existing Banning-Idyllwild Road.   The second CA 243 can be seen on the 1975 Caltrans State Highway Map.


CA 243 essentially was just a State Highway designation applied to the existing Banning-Idyllwild Road.  The route of Banning-Idyllwild Road is shown even on the 1935 Division of Highways Riverside County Map to be a well traveled highway.


Interestingly Banning-Idyllwild Road appears as Signed County Route R1 on the 1966 Goshua Highway Map of California (Credit Derrick Garbell on the California's Historic Highways Facebook Page for pointing this out).   I don't have a creation date for Signed County Route R1 but it was likely 1964 or prior given Signed County Route R2 was created in 1964 according to CAhighways.


As noted above much of CA 243 was closed in February of 2019 due to the winter storms which had damaged the highway.  On November 1st, 2019 the Los Angeles Times announced that Caltrans had reopened all of CA 243.  The publishing date of this article is amusingly close to the full reopening of CA 243 and disappointing for me as driver which I'll get into below.


Part 2; Driving CA 243 in Banning

My approach to CA 243 south was from I-10 west.  The transition to CA 243 south is at the 8th Street Exit in Banning.



CA 243 makes a left hand turn from the 8th Street Ramp southward to Lincoln Street at Post Mile RIV 29.48.  Idyllwild is signed as 26 miles to the south on CA 243.





CA 243 makes a left hand turn onto Lincoln Street towards San Gorgonio Avenue at Post Mile RIV 28.979.




Traffic on CA 243 makes a right hand turn onto San Gorgonio Avenue and is immediately advised against taking 30 foot or longer vehicles any further.


Unfortunately the Caltrans QuickMap was misleading.  While CA 243 was open to the boundary of San Bernardino National Forest it was only accessible to local traffic.  CA 243 was manned by a Caltrans worker at Post Mile 28.301 where it transitions onto Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Highway.




Not being able to proceed further I back tracked to I-10 on CA 243 northbound.  Unfortunately CA 243 is one of the many highways I used to frequent during 2011-2013 which I lost the majority of my photos for.  My hope is to be able to drive the highway again (along with CA 38 and CA 330) and make an update in the blog next year.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Interstate 40 and the H-Bomb

Interstate 40 within California is entirely contained to San Bernandio County over a course of 155 miles from Interstate 15 in Barstow east to the Arizona State Line at the Colorado River.  Interstate 40 is aligned entirely in the Mojave Desert over the same general corridor established by US Route 66 and the National Old Trails Road.   Interstate 40 is known as the Needles Freeway and has an interesting backstory which included the prospect of the Bristol Mountains being excavated by way of nuclear blasts as part of Operation Carryall.   Part 1; the history of Interstate 40 in California The focus on this blog will be primarily centered around the construction of Interstate 40 ("I-40") within California.  That being said the corridor of automotive travel east of Barstow to the Arizona State Line was largely pioneered by the National Old Trails Road ("NOTR")   In April of 1912 the NOTR was organized with the goal of signing a trans-continental highway between Baltim

California State Route 232

This past month I drove the entirety of California State Route 232 in Ventura County. CA 232 is an approximately 4 miles State Highway aligned on Vineland Avenye which begins near Saticoy at CA 118 and traverses southwest to US Route 101 in Oxnard.  The alignment of CA 232 was first adopted into the State Highway System in 1933 as Legislative Route Number 154 according to CAhighways.org. CAhighways.org on LRN 154 As originally defined LRN 154 was aligned from LRN 9 (future CA 118) southwest to LRN 2/US 101 in El Rio.  This configuration of LRN 154 between CA 118/LRN 9 and US 101/LRN 2 can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Ventura County. 1935 Ventura County Highway Map According to CAhighways.org the route of LRN 154 was extended west from US 101/LRN 2 to US 101A/LRN 60 in 1951.  Unfortunately State Highway Maps do not show this extension due to it being extremely small. During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering LRN 154 was assigned CA 232.  Of n

California State Route 128

California State Route 128 is a 121 mile State Highway which spans from California State Route 1 at the mouth Navarro River eastward to Interstate 505 near Winters.  California State Route 128 is one of California's most underrated scenic State Highways which traverses; Mendocino County, Solano County, Napa County and Yolo County.  Presently California State Route 128 has 11 unconstructed miles which would connect it from Interstate 505 east to California State Route 113 in Davis.   Part 1; the history of the original California State Route 28 and California State Route 128 What became California State Route 128 ("CA 128") was announced in the   August 1934 California Highways & Public Works  as the original CA 28.    CA 28 in it's original definition was aligned from CA 1 near Albion east to US 40 near Davis.   CA 28 as originally defined was comprised of numerous Legislative Route Numbers ("LRN") which were adopted as follows: -  LRN 1  between McDona