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Mulholland Drive; Cahuenga Pass west to Sepulveda Pass (and the odd tale of Post-1964 Legislative Route Number 268)

This past month I drove a section Mulholland Drive from US Route 101 in Cahuenga Pass west through the Santa Monica Mountains to Interstate 405 in Sepulveda Pass.


Mulholland Drive refers a twenty one mile portion of what was formerly Mulholland Highway in the Santa Monica Mountains of the City of Los Angeles.  As a larger route Mulholland Highway extends westward another approximately 30 miles from Calabasas towards the Pacific Ocean to a terminus at California State Route 1 in western Los Angeles County.  Mulholland Drive and Mulholland Highway were designed as a singular scenic route traversing the Santa Monica Mountains.  Mulholland Highway and Mulholland Drive were named after the famous Los Angeles civic engineer William Mulholland.  Mulholland Highway in it's original full scope was completed in 1928.  

The section of Mulholland Drive between Cahuenga Pass west to Sepulveda Pass was completed by 1924.  This section of Mulholland Drive can be viewed on this 1938 Highway Map of the Los Angeles Area as Mulholland Highway.

Thomas Bros. 1938 Los Angeles Area Highway Map

Before Interstate 405 was constructed the route of Mulholland Drive had a much more direct crossing of Sepulveda Pass over the 1930 Sepulveda Boulevard Tunnel (which became part of CA 7 in 1934).  In 1960 Mulholland Drive was realigned to the south of it's former alignment onto the first Mulholland Drive Bridge.  For comparison sake I marked where Mulholland Drive used to cross Sepulveda Pass before I-405 was constructed on snip from the 1938 map above.


1960 Mulholland Drive Bridge in Sepulveda Pass was replaced by a new span in 2013.  The 2013 Mulholland Drive bridge was the instigator for what became known as "Carmageddon I and Carmageddon II."  Both Carmageddon I and II involved the demolition of sections of the 1960 Mulholland Drive Bridge which required closing much of I-405 in Sepulveda Canyon.  Carmageddon I took place over the weekend of July 15th of 2011 whereas Carmageddon II took place over the weekend of September 28th of 2012.  By December of 2013 the new Mulholland Drive Bridge reopened to traffic.



During the 1970s much of Mulholland Drive within the City Limits of Los Angeles was paved.  The current alignment of Mulholland Drive is presently paved from Cahuenga Pass westward beyond Sepulveda Pass where it becomes a dirt road past Encino Hills Drive.  The unpaved Mulholland Drive extends almost all the way westward to CA 27 close to where the alignment of Mulholland Highway begins.  Most of the dirt section of Mulholland Drive is closed to vehicular traffic and is largely used for mountain biking or hiking.

My approach to Mulholland Drive began in Cahuenga Pass descending from the Hollywood Reservoir via Lakeridge Road.  Lakeridge Road meets the eastern terminus of Mulholland Drive in Cahuenga Pass next to the US 101/Hollywood Freeway.  Mulholland Drive crosses the Hollywood Freeway via the 1940 Mulholland Drive Viaduct.



Mulholland Drive ascends from Cahuenga Pass westward into the Santa Monica meeting the first of many stop signs at Outpost Drive.









Mulholland Drive continues westward next encountering a stop sign at Pyramid Place near Runyon Canyon.




Mulholland Drive westbound next encounters another stop sign at Woodrow Wilson Drive.  As evidenced by the third photo below there is plenty of tourist van traffic on Mulholland Drive stalking the homes of famous people.





The first major intersection of Mulholland Drive westbound is at Laurel Canyon Boulevard.








West of Laurel Canyon Boulevard the route of Mulholland Drive passes by Laurel Canyon Park.



West of Laurel Canyon Park the route of Mulholland Drive has a major vista point overlooking San Fernando Valley above Fryman Canyon at the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook.






Mulholland Drive continues along the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains to another traffic light at Coldwater Canyon Avenue.









Mulholland Drive continues westward next encountering a traffic light at Benedict Canyon Drive.








Another traffic light on westbound Mulholland Drive is quickly encountered at Beverly Glen Boulevard.



Mulholland Drive westbound begins to descend towards Sepulveda Pass encountering traffic light at Woodcliff Road.




The next traffic light on Mulholland Drive westbound is located at Roscomare Road.



Mulholland Drive westbound descends into Sepulveda Pass where it has a junction with I-405.  The 2013 Mulholland Drive Bridge over I-405 is immediately apparent.  I crossed the 2013 Mulholland Drive Bridge before back tracking towards Sepulveda Boulevard.






Interestingly Mulholland Drive west of Sepulveda Pass west to CA 27 was once conceptually picked up as a planned CA 268 in 1965 according to CAhighways.org.  CA 268 would have completely changed the element of the dirt portion of the Mulholland Drive and was likely instigated to take advantage of the planned extension of CA 14 to the Pacific Palisades.  It is highly likely the backlash of a potential CA 268 on Mulholland Drive is one of the many factors that spurred the creation of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in 1978.

CAhighways.org on CA 268

The planned route of CA 268 on Mulholland Drive first appears on the 1966 State Highway Map.

1966 State Highway Map

In 1970 the planned route of CA 268 was cancelled by the State Legislature.  The last map to display the planned route of CA 268 is the 1970 edition.

1970 State Highway Map

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