Coachella Valley is located in the Sonoran Desert of Riverside County, California. Coachella Valley is home to Indio and other communities which were part of US Routes 99, 60 and 70. This blog will explore the alignment history of US Routes 99, 60 and 70 within the communities of Indio and Coachella Valley. Pictured above as the blog cover is US Route 99-60-70 in the Indio on Fargo Street business district during 1935.
Part 1; the history of US Routes 99-60-70 in Indio and Coachella Valley
Modernized transportation in Coachella Valley dates back to the days of the Bradshaw Trail which was a stage route originating in San Bernardino which crossed through the Sonoran Desert east to the Colorado River. During the California Gold Rush the Bradshaw Trail was plotted through the Sonoran Desert by William D. Bradshaw. The Bradshaw Trail was plotted in 1862 through the Coachella Valley and Sonoran Desert east over the Colorado River to a new mining strike found in La Paz, Arizona. Bradshaw consulted the Cahuilla Tribe who advised him of the best route east of the Salton Sink between the Orocopia Mountains and Chocolate Mountains. More information regarding the Bradshaw Trail and where to find it can be found on desertusa.com.
Below the Bradshaw Trail can be seen aligned through Coachella Valley (shown as Cabazon Valley) on the 1873 Bancroft's Map of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona
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 (CHC) with no changes recommended which can be seen in January 1926 California Highways & Public Works. US 99 is shown departing San Bernardino via LRN 26 towards Coachella Valley.
Thusly planned US 99 appears on the 1925 Rand McNally Map of California following LRN 26 through Coachella Valley.
The California State Highway Engineer submitted a recommended routing of US 60 to the AASHO Executive Secretary on September 8th, 1931. The route description of US 60 show as ending in Los Angeles by way of Pomona at an undisclosed terminus. The routing of US 60 defined it entering Coachella Valley via LRN 64 through Box Canyon to Mecca towards Coachella. From Coachella US 60 joined US 99/LRN 26 passing through Coachella Valley towards San Gorgonio Pass.
The May 1936 California Highways & Public Works features a construction photo of the new rail overpass on US 99/US 60/US 70/LRN 26 west of Indio compared to the existing at-grade crossing.
The November/December 1957 California Highways & Public Works noted US 99/US 60/US 70/LRN 26 was budgeted to be expanded to a four-lane divided highway between the Indio Rail Overhead to Thousand Palms during the 1958-59 Fiscal Year.