Former US Route 99 in Cottonwood of southern Shasta County, California was located on Main Street in the community. Pictured above is former US Route 99 on Main Street upon crossing the Cottonwood Creek Bridge northbound towards the Southern Pacific Railroad Subway as depicted in the February 1931 California Highways & Public Works. Below is a image from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Shasta County depicting US Route 99 following Main Street on Legislative Route Number 3 through Cottonwood. Presently much of former US Route 99 in Cottonwood is carried by Tehama/Shasta County Route A17.
Part 1; the history of US Route 99 in Cottonwood
Cottonwood is located on Cottonwood Creek near the Shasta County/Tehama County Line. Cottonwood traces it's origins to the California Gold Rush when it was settled as a stage stop in 1849. Cottonwood became a popular stage stop due to it's proximity to the mines of Shasta and the California-Oregon Trail. Cottonwood received it's first Post Office service beginning in 1852. In 1859 immigrant Jacob Foster purchased 240 acres of land north of Cottonwood Creek where the modern town site began to develop. Foster constructed a hotel in Cottonwood which soon became a popular stopping point on the California-Oregon Trail. Cottonwood obtained rail service in 1872 when the Southern Pacific Railroad constructed it's line northward towards Redding and Shasta.
Cottonwood can be seen on the 1882 Bancroft's Map of California along the California-Oregon Trail and Southern Pacific Railroad.
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 3 ("LRN 3") which was defined as a highway from "Sacramento to the Oregon Line."
Thusly US 99 appears on the 1925 Rand McNally Map of California as being routed through Cottonwood via Main Street.
The December 1927 California Highways & Public Works cites work was underway to widen US 99/LRN 3 between Cottonwood to Red Bluff to 30 feet. The article stub states that the widening of US 99/LRN 3 in the Cottonwood-Red Bluff corridor was anticipated to be completed during the winter. A later article in the same volume notes a new bridge over Cottonwood Creek was financed as part of California's first fully complete highway and budget program.
As noted in the intro the image from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Shasta County depicting US Route 99 following Main Street on Legislative Route Number 3 through Cottonwood can be seen below.
The September/October 1948 California Highways & Public Works cites US 99/LRN 3 as being in the process of realignment from Cottonwood to Anderson.
The opening of US 99/Interstate 5 between CA 36 in Red Bluff north via a bypass of Cottonwood is discussed in the January/February 1965 California Highways & Public Works. The new segment of US 99/Interstate 5 is cited to have opened on July 2nd, 1964.
The AASHO database shows that US 99 was approved to be truncated out of California by the AASHO Executive Committee on June 29th, 1965. This measure would have become effective on New Years Day 1966 and made the freeway bypass of Cottonwood solely part of Interstate 5.