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Colorado Road (Fresno County)

Colorado Road is a rural highway located in San Joaquin Valley of western Fresno County.  Colorado Road services the city of San Joaquin in addition the unincorporated communities of Helm and Tranquility.  Colorado Road was constructed between 1910 and 1912 as a frontage road of the Hanford & Summit Lake Railway.  The roadway begins at California State Route 145 near Helm and terminates to the west at James Road in Tranquility.  

Part 1; the history of Colorado Road

Colorado Road was constructed as frontage road connecting the sidings of the Hanford & Summit Lake Railway.  The Hanford & Summit Lake Railway spanned from South Pacific Railroad West Side Line at Ingle junction southeast to the Coalinga Branch at Armona.  The Hanford & Summit Lake Railway broke ground during August 1910 and was complete by April 1912.

The Hanford & Summit Lake Railway established numerous new sidings.  From Ingle the sidings of the line were Tranquility, Graham, San Joaquin, Caldwell, Helm, Burrell, Riverdale, Robinson, Hub, Lynn and Hardwick.  The Hanford & Summit Lake sidings between Tranquility southeast to Helm were adjoined by a frontage road which came to be known as Colorado Road.  The Hanford & Summit Lake Railway and the sidings along modern Colorado Road can be seen on the 1914 C.F. Weber Map of Fresno County.  

San Joaquin would be formally plotted as a town in 1915.  The Hanford & Summit Lake Railway would be sold to the Southern Pacific Railroad during October 1917.  The Southern Pacific would rename their new line along Colorado Road as the "Riverdale Branch."  San Joaquin would become the only city to formally incorporate along Colorado Road which occurred during February 1920. 

Colorado Road can be seen aligned between Tranquility and Held as a major county highway on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Fresno County.  The north/south highway through Helm would become part of California State Route 145 in 1970 when the highway was extended from Kerman to Interstate 5.  

The Riverdale Branch between Burrell and Riverdale was abandoned during 1952.  What remained of the line north of Burrell was sold to Port Railroads in 1994.  The Riverdale Branch along Colorado Road became was later sold to the San Joaquin Valley Railroad in 1996.  

Part 2; a drive along Colorado Road

Westbound Colorado Road begins at California State Route 145 near Helm.  Traffic is advised San Joaquin is 7 miles from Helm on Colorado Road whereas San Joaquin is 12 miles.  Note, all the photos in this section of the blog were taken during 2019.

Colorado Road westbound follows the Riverdale Branch and enters the city of San Joaquin at Manning Avenue.  

Colorado Road westbound passes through the city of San Joaquin. 

Colorado Road continues west to Tranquility and terminates at James Road. 


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