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Former US Route 99 on Atwater Boulevard in the City of Atwater

 
 
The City of Atwater is located Merced County and presently part of one of the fastest growing micropolitian areas in California.  Present day California State Route 99 traverses Atway via a freeway through whereas US Route 99 originally could be found on Atwater Boulevard.



Part 1; the history of US Route 99 in Atwater 
 
Atwater was settled in the early 1870s as a siding of the Southern Pacific Railroad.  Atwater is named after a wheat farmer who's land the railroad siding was built upon.  The Southern Pacific Railroad laid the groundwork for development of  San Joaquin Valley.  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.  Atwater incorporated as a City in August of 1922.  
 
Atwater can be seen along the Southern Pacific Railroad on the 1873 Oregon, California, & Nevada Railroad Map.  

 

The emergence of the automobile in the early 20th Century in California led to the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act which was approved by voters during 1910.  The majority of the highways approved as part of the First State Highway Bond Act were largely well established routes of travel.  One such highway was Legislative Route Number 4 ("LRN 4") which was defined as a highway from "Sacramento to Los Angeles."
 
A very early LRN 4 in Atwater can be seen on the 1917 California State Automobile Association Map.  LRN 4 can be seen following Atwater Boulevard through Atwater.
 
 
Atwater can be seen on LRN 4, the Inland Route on the 1920 Clason Highway Map of California.   

 
The 1924 Rand McNally Highway Map of California provides more detail on the alignment LRN 4 and the Inland Route in Atwater.  Just as with the 1917 CSAA Highway Map LRN 4 can be seen following Atwater Boulevard through Atwater on a frontage of the Southern Pacific Railroad. 
 
 
The initial draft of the US Route System was approved by the Secretary of Agriculture during November of 1925.  The US Route System with in California was approved by California Highway Commission with no changes recommended by January 1926.  The initial alignment of US Route 99 ("US 99") was planned to follow LRN 4 from Sacramento to Los Angeles.  US 99 is shown on a map published in the 1926 California Highways & Public Works following LRN 4 south from Sacramento through Atwater. 
 

 
During November of 1926 the US Route System was approved by the AASHO.  US 99 can be seen aligned through Atwater via Atwater Boulevard on the 1927 National Map Company Sectional Map
 

US 99/LRN 4 can be seen in detail traversing Atwater on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map.
 
 
 
The September/October 1956 California Highways & Public Works announced the start of construction on the new 4.5 mile Atwater Freeway realignment of US 99/LRN 4.  

The May/June 1957 California Highways & Public Works cites the Atwater Freeway as one of several US 99/LRN 4 realignments nearing completion between Sacramento-Los Angeles.  


The January/February 1958 California Highways & Public Works discusses the opening of the Atwater Bypass (retitled from Atwater Freeway).  The Atwater Bypass is cited as being a 4.5 mile reroute of US 99/LRN 4 through the City of Atwater which opened to traffic on October 14th, 1957.  


The AASHO Renumbering database shows that US 99 was approved to be truncated out of California by the AASHO Executive Committee on June 29th, 1965.  This measure was put Atwater on what is now California State Route 99 ("CA 99"). 






Part 2; a drive on former US Route 99 in Atwater on Atwater Boulevard

From the current CA 99 Freeway northbound Former US 99/Atwater Boulevard can be accessed via Exit 194.  


Former US 99/Atwater Boulevard follows east of the CA 99 Freeway in a generally northwestern direction.  Former US 99/Atwater Boulevard has a significant intersection at Winton Way.  







Former US 99/Atwater Bouelvard intersects and crosses under the CA 99 Freeway where it terminates near Atwater Canal.  





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