The Harbor Freeway is a major north/south limited access corridor located in the Los Angeles metro area. The Harbor Freeway begins in the Los Angeles neighbor of San Pedro at California State Route 47 and terminates in downtown Los Angeles at US Route 101 as it meets the Four Level Interchange. The Harbor Freeway is approximately twenty-three miles in length with the segment from San Pedro north to Interstate 10 signed as Interstate 110 and the segment through downtown Los Angeles to the Four Level Interchange signed as California State Route 110. The Harbor Freeway corridor was historically tied to US Route 6 and California State Route 11 as it was being developed. Featured as the blog cover is the Harbor Freeway facing south towards the 4th Street overpass sourced from the May/June 1954 California Highways & Public Works.
Part 1; the history Legislative Route 165, the original California State Route 11 and the Harbor Freeway
The genesis of what would ultimately become the Harbor Freeway traces its origins back to the 1924 city of Los Angeles Major Street and Traffic Plan. Part of the 1924 traffic plan called for widening Figueroa Street and extending it to San Pedro as a proposal to enhance access to the Port of Los Angeles. At the time the State and Division of Highways could not become involved in maintenance of roadways in incorporated cities which slowed the pace of the expansion of Figueroa Street
The first three Figueroa Street Tunnels opened between Riverside Drive and Solano Avenue during October of 1931 which routed traffic through Elysian Park. The Figueroa Street Tunnels would ultimately end up becoming a key piece of the future Arroyo Seco Parkway and resolving an official terminus of US Route 66 (US 66) in Los Angeles. Note: this blog is not intended to answer the alignment shifts of US 66 in Los Angeles. More pertaining to the terminus points of US 66 in Los Angeles can be found in the blog below:
1933 was a landmark year in terms of Statewide transportation. The State Legislature removed restrictions that prevented State Funds from being used to maintain urban roadways. This change by the Legislature led to the addition of numerous urban highways being adopted during 1933.
California Highways Highway Chronology Chapter 3; A Significant System is Created 1933-1946
One of the 1933 additions to the State Highway system was Legislative Route Number 165 (LRN 165) which was routed from San Pedro to La Canada Flintridge via Figueroa Street. The addition of LRN 165 made the three completed Figueroa Street Tunnels part of the State Highway system and led into the construction of the fourth southernmost tunnel. LRN 165 and Figueora Street south of US 101/LRN 2 in downtown Los Angeles would in time form the basis for the Harbor Freeway.
The March/April 1933 California Highways & Public Works announced the 36 miles of planned highway comprising LRN 165 between LRN 9 and San Pedro as being adopted.
The grade of the Harbor Freeway south of the Four Level Interchange appears in the March/April 1952 California Highways & Public Works.