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Former US Route 99 in Salida


Salida is a community located in northern Stanislaus County, California which was on the original surface alignment of US Route 99.  Within Salida former US Route 99 was aligned on Salida Boulevard which runs alongside the Union Pacific Railroad.  Pictured above is US Route 99 between Modesto and Salida after it had been expanded to four lanes in 1938.  



Part 1; the history of US Route 99 in Salida

Salida was founded in 1870 as a siding of the Central Pacific Railroad when it's new line through San Joaquin Valley reached the Stanislaus County Line.  Salida was thusly named as the Spanish word for "exit" as it was located at the San Joaquin/Stanislaus County Line.  The Central Pacific Railroad (later Southern Pacific Railroad) laid the groundwork for development of  San Joaquin Valley south of Stockton.  Previous to the Central 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 Central Pacific Railroad most of San Joaquin Valley was a sparsely inhabited wetland which made travel by road difficult.  Salida can be seen along the Central 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 Salida and northern Stanislaus County can be seen on the 1917 California State Automobile Association Map.  LRN 4 is shown be aligned on Salida Boulevard through Salida. 


LRN 4 through Salida and northern Stanislaus County can be seen signed as the Inland Route on the 1920 Clason Highway Map of California.


The initial draft of the US Route System was approved by the Secretary of Agriculture during November of 1925.  The US Route System within 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 the Inland Route via 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 Salida. 
 

 
The July 1926 California Highways & Public Works makes reference to a segment of LRN 4 from Modesto north through Salida to the Stanislaus River having been recently rebuilt.  The surface of LRN 4 through Salida is stated to have had two curves removed along with a fresh gravel surface being applied by Valley Paving Company.  The project is stated to have an additional phase which would see LRN 4 in Salida paved.


During November of 1926 the US Route System was approved by the AASHO.  US 99 can be seen aligned from Manteca southward over the Stanislaus County Line towards Modesto by way of Salida on the
1927 National Map Company Highway Map of California


US 99/LRN 4 through Salida by way of Salida Boulevard can be seen on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Stanislaus County.  


The June 1938 California Highways & Public Works notes a contract to rebuild 5.8 miles of US 99/LRN 4 between Salida and Modesto was awarded during May of 1938.  This project would see US 99/LRN 4 between Salida and Modesto paved in Portland Cement along with several new reinforced bridging structures being constructed.  


The May 1939 California Highways & Public Works features the reconstruction of US 99/LRN 4 between Salida and Modesto.  Four miles of US 99/LRN 4 between the northern City Limits of Modesto northward into Salida were expanded to a four lane divided highway.  The expansion of US 99/LRN 4 featured a new 23 foot wide Portland Cement travel surface being laid out opposite the existing highway.  Traffic between Salida and Modesto is cited to have climbed over 10,000 vehicles per 16 hour daily survey by 1938.  




US 99/LRN 4 in Salida as featured in the November/December 1947 California Highways & Public Works.  


The recent four-lane expansion of US 99/LRN 4 north of Salida to the San Joaquin County Line is featured in the January/February 1948 California Highways & Public Works.  


The September/October 1948 California Highways & Public Works cites the expansion of US 99/LRN 4 from Salida north to Ripon as being completed by August 1947.  The new bridge over the Stanislaus River is cited as being completed by May of 1948.  



The 1964 California State Highway Renumbering saw numerous US Routes eliminated to avoid numbering duplications of Interstates and long multiplexes.  Given a large portion of US 99 was slated to be replaced with Interstate 5 it also was targeted for removal from California.  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 Salida on what is now California State Route ("CA 99.") which would have become effective on New Years Day 1966.  








The September/October 1965 California Highways & Public Works announced the opening of the Modesto Freeway segment of US 99.  The Modesto Freeway segment of US 99 is cited to have opened on June 30th, 1965 between between Ceres northward as a bypass of downtown Modesto.  The Modesto Freeway upgrade of US 99 spanned from Hatch Road south of Modesto nine miles northward to Prescott Road a couple miles from Salida.  The Modesto Freeway article notes that forty two Olive Trees and six palm trees were moved to the Modesto Freeway from Salida to make way for a freeway expansion of US 99 northward.  





The California Highways & Public Works publication ends in 1967 before CA 99 in Salida was upgraded to a freeway.  The bridge structure on CA 99 at Hammett Road north of Salida show a date stamp of 1970.  The completed CA 99 freeway through Salida appears on the 1970 Division of Highways Map.  




Part 2; a drive on former US Route 99 on Salida Boulevard 

Former US 99 on Salida Boulevard can be accessed via CA 99 northbound Exit 232 to Pelandale Avenue.  The overpass structure at Pelandale Avenue was replaced in 2015 which is why it appears so much more ornate than most structures on the CA 99 freeway.




Traffic must use Sisk Road south and Pelandale Avenue west over the CA 99 freeway to reach former US 99 at Salida Boulevard.  







Salida Boulevard is still a divided roadway which carries much of the structures which date to when it was expanded as part of US 99 in 1938.  Salida Boulevard intersects Broadway Road which connects to CA 99 and CA 219.  Salida Boulevard continues northward beyond Broadway Road where it eventually dead ends.  US 99 would have intersected LRN 13/future CA 219 originally at the intersection of Salida Boulevard and Kiernan Avenue.   








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