Part 1; the history of US Route 99 in Turlock
Previous to the Southern
Pacific Railroad travel via wagon or foot in Central California tended
to avoid San Joaquin Valley in favor of the Stockton-Los Angeles Road.
The Stockton Los Angeles Road lied to the east of San Joaquin Valley in
the Sierra Nevada Foothills and was less subject flooding. Before the
Southern Pacific Railroad most of San Joaquin Valley was a sparsely
inhabited wetland which made travel by road difficult. Upon the
emergence of the Southern Pacific Railroad the community of Atwater
would quickly develop.
Turlock was plotted in December 1871 as a Southern Pacific Railroad siding by wheat farmer John William Mitchell. The name "Turlock" is thought to have been taken from the Irish town of Turlough which had been popularized in an 1870 Harper's Weekly article. Given Turlock was located on the Southern Pacific Railroad it grew in importance quickly and incorporated during February of 1908.
Turlock can along the Southern Pacific Railroad on the 1873 Oregon, California, & Nevada Railroad Map.
The 1917 California State Automobile Map shows the early alignment of LRN 4 through Turlock. Headed northbound LRN 4 can be seen entering Turlock via First Street on a western frontage of the Southern Pacific Railroad. LRN 4 can be seen crossing the Southern Pacific Railroad via Olive Avenue and turning northwest onto Geer Road. LRN 4 transitioned from Geer Road as an eastern frontage of the Southern Pacific to Front Street.
LRN 4 through Turlock can be seen as part of the Inland Route on the 1920 Clason Highway Map of California.
The November/December 1960 California Highways & Public Works notes that Turlock was the only major San Joaquin Valley City where US 99/LRN 4 did not have a completed or funded freeway. The stub article goes onto describe a Turlock Freeway alignment as being adopted.
The November/December 1961 California Highways & Public Works notes Turlock was only major city on US 99/LRN 4 in San Joaquin Valley where right of way acquisition was not yet complete.
Subsequently the planned Turlock Bypass alignment appears on the 1967 Division of Highways State Map as CA 99.
CA 99 was upgraded to a freeway bypass of Golden State Boulevard in Turlock during the early 1970s. The CA 99 freeway bypass of Turlock first appears on the 1975 Caltrans State Map.
Part 2; a drive on former US Route 99 through Turlock via Golden State Boulevard
CA 99 northbound approaching Turlock in Merced County intersects Former US 99 at Exit 209 which accesses Golden State Boulevard. Golden State Boulevard is signed from CA 99 as the CA 99 Business Route.
Golden State Boulevard transitioning away from CA 99 enters Stanislaus County as an expressway.
Golden State Boulevard continues as an expressway to the Turlock Overhead. As Golden State Boulevard crosses the Turlock Overhead it enters the City of Turlock. Notably the Turlock Overhead still carries a Division of Highways Bridge identifier placard with which places it at Route 99 Postmile STA 1.72.
As Golden State Boulevard enters downtown Turlock it picks up Stanislaus County Route J17 ("J17") at East Avenue.
Golden State Boulevard continues northwest through downtown Turlock and intersects Olive Avenue where it picks up northbound J14. J17 departs westbound from Golden State Boulevard multiplexed with J14 southbound via Olive Avenue.
J14 northbound departs Golden State Boulevard via Geer Road.
Golden State Boulevard continues northwest out of downtown Turlock. Approaching Christoffersen Parkway US 99 would have crossed what is now the CA 99 freeway to what is now Taylor Court.