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Paper Highways; California State Route 284 and California State Route 285

In this edition of Paper Highways we examine the 1970 legislative additions to the California State Highway System in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Plumas County; California State Route 284 and California State Route 285.



Part 1; the history of California State Route 284 and California State Route 285

Both CA 284 and CA 285 were adopted as part of Legislative Chapter 1473 of 1970 according to CAhighways.org.  CA 284 was designated as a highway connecting from Route 70 in Chilhoot to Frenchman Reservoir.  CA 285 was designated as a highway connecting from Route 70 on West Street in Portola northwesterly to the north city limits then to Lake Davis via Humbug Canyon.  Legislative Chapter 1473 defined numerous State Highways during 1970, some of the others include; CA 283, CA 281, CA 271, and CA 270.

Notably the Chapter 1473 State Highways appear to have been contingent that an existing roadway be built to State Highway Standards.  To that end Frenchman Lake was completed as a California Department of Water Resources irrigation project by 1961 along Little Last Chance Creek.  The existing Frenchman Lake Road appears to have been improved during the Frenchman Lake project and was adopted as the alignment of CA 284.  Notably modern Frenchman Lake Road appears on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Plumas County north of Chilhoot.


Conversely Lake Davis was completed by the California Department of Water Resources during 1966.  Unlike Frenchman Lake a new roadway had to be built to the site of Grizzly Valley Dam on Big Grizzly Creek.  According to CAhighways.org by 1972 about 4.8 miles of the planned 8 miles of CA 285 on West Street and Lake Davis Road were constructed.  CAhighways.org goes elaborates further stating that West Street and Lake Davis Road were noted to have drainage issues which likely kept them from meeting State Highway standards.

On the 1975 Caltrans State Highway Map the full 8 mile route of CA 284 appears as a fully functional State Highway and CA 285 is shown to be unconstructed.


CA 285 was deleted in 1998 via Legislative Chapter 877.  The last time the planned route of CA 285 appears on a Caltrans State Highway Map is the 1990 edition.



Chapter 2; a virtual drive on California State Route 284

From CA 70 west in Chilhoot-Vinton traffic is advised that CA 284 can be found on Frenchman Lake Road.



CA 284 north begins at Post Mile PLU 0.0.  CA 284 crosses a cattle guard and is signed with a reassurance shield which lacks a directional placard.



CA 284 on Frenchman Lake Road is initially a straight jog north of Chilhoot-Vinton.




CA 284 north enters Plumas National Forest approximately at Post Mile PLU 2.887.


CA 284 begins to ascend into a forested area and begins to curve up around Post Mile PLU 4.61.


At Post Mile PLU 5.594 CA 284 crosses Little Last Chance Creek.


CA 284 follows Little Last Chance Creek through a narrow canyon.



CA 284 crosses Little Last Chance Creek two more times and terminates at Post Mile PLU 8.302 at the south shore of Frenchman Lake.



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