Skip to main content

California State Route 255 and the Super-Two Freeway on the Samoa Bridge

In this article we examine the history of California State Route 255 and the Humboldt Bay Bridge.


California State Route 255 ("CA 255") is a 9 mile loop of US Route 101 within Humboldt County.  CA 255 originates at US 101 in the City of Eureka and utilizes the three tier Humboldt Bay Bridge northwest to the Samoa Peninsula.  Upon reaching the Samoa Peninsula CA 255 turns northeast back to US 101 in Arcata.



Part 1; the history of California State Route 255

The history of CA 255 is somewhat modern by California State Highway standards.  CA 255 was adopted as part of Legislative Chapter 1898 of 1963 according to CAhighways.org.  Interestingly CA 255 was also assigned Legislative Route 294 but it was effectively nullified by the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.  The original definition of CA 255 was; "Eureka across Humboldt Bay to the Samoa Peninsula."  CA 255 first appears as a planned highway on the 1964 Division of Highway State Map.



Prior to CA 255 automotive access to the Samoa Peninsula was either via ferry or taking a long drive around Arcata Bay.  The Samoa Peninsula traditionally has been the head of what was until recent decades a large lumber industry in Humboldt County.  The community of Samoa has origins back during 1865 when it was settled as the lumber community of Brownsville.  The construction of CA 255 across Humboldt Bay included three structures which are unofficially known as the "Humboldt Bay Bridge."  The Humboldt Bay Bridge in actuality consists of three bridges:

-  The Eureka Channel Bridge at Post Mile 0.20.  The Eureka Channel Bridge is presently named the "Meyer Bistrin Memorial Bridge" which was adopted during 1977.
-   The Middle Channel Bridge at Post Mile 0.67.  The Middle Channel Bridge is presently named the "Carl L. Christensen Memorial Bridge" which was adopted during 1977.
-  The Samoa Channel Bridge at Post Mile 1.37.  The Samoa Channel Bridge is presently named the "Richard R. Denbo Memorial Span" which was adopted during 1980.

During 1970 Legislative Chapter 881 extended the planned route of CA 255 from the Samoa Peninsula back to US 101 in Arcata.  During 1971 the three structures of the Humboldt Bay Bridge opened as the "Samoa Bridge."   The completed CA 255 can be first seen on the 1975 Caltrans State Map.



Part 2; a virtual drive on California State Route 255 northbound

From US 101 northbound CA 255 is accessed by  left hand turn from 5th Street onto R Street in the City of Eureka.  Note; all the below photos are ripped from Google Street View.



Interestingly CA 255 doesn't officially begin until the intersection of R Street and 4th Street (US 101 southbound).  The "Begin" placard below the CA 255 shield is something of a rarity among California State Highways.


CA 255 is signed as a northbound highway and as noted above approaches Eureka Channel Bridge at Post Mile HUM 0.20.  CA 255 over the entirety of the three Humboldt Bay Bridge structures is a limited access Super Two Freeway.





CA 255 crosses Woodley Island and has an Exit accessing Startare Drive.


At Post Mile HUM 0.67 CA 255 begins to cross the Middle Channel Bridge to Indian Island.




CA 255 doesn't have any exits on Indian Island.  Indian Island was the home to about 100 Wiyot tribal members who were massacred by settlers during 1860.  Wiyot Island was home to a ship repair facility between the 1870s until it shuttered during the 1980s.  During October 2019 the City of Eureka gifted the entirety of Indian Island back to the Wiyot Tribe.



At Post Mile HUM 1.37 CA 255 begins to cross the Samoa Channel Bridge to the Samoa Peninsula. 





At Post Mile HUM 2.029 CA 255 north makes a right hand turn onto New Navy Base Road.  New Navy Base Road is named after Naval Auxiliary Airfield Eureka ("NAAF Eureka") which was an auxiliary of Moffett Field.  NAAF Eureka was commissioned during August 1943 and was closed during October 1945.  NAAF Eureka's facilities were converted into Eureka Municipal Airport after World War II.



CA 255 on New Navy Base Road becomes a conventional highway as it continues north on the Samoa Peninsula.  US 101 is signed as 7 miles away in Arcata.



At Post Mile HUM 4.007 CA 255 passes through  the community of Manilla.


At Post Mile HUM R4.855 CA 255 crosses the Oregon & Eureka Railroad and begins to follow it towards Arcata.  At Post Mile HUM R5.13 CA 255 crosses the Mad River Slough Bridge.  


CA 255 briefly expands to four lanes approaching Arcata.



 CA 255 enters Arcata as Samoa Boulevard and terminates at US 101.





Part 2; a drive on California State Route 255 southbound

CA 255 southbound begins from US 101 southbound Exit 713 in the City of Arcata.



CA 255 southbound follows Samoa Boulevard initially west through Arcata.





CA 255 southbound follows the northern banks of Arcata Bay traveling initially westward before turning south upon crossing Mad River Slough at Postmile HUM R5.21.





At Post Mile HUM R4.855 CA 255 crosses the Oregon & Eureka Railroad and enters the community of Manilla via New Navy Base Road.  At Postmile HUM 2.029 CA 255 makes a eastward left hand turn onto the Samoa Bridge.  








The Samoa Cookhouse can be found south of CA 255 by continuing on New Navy Base Road.  


Some of the structures associated with NAAF Eureka can be found in the vicinity of the Samoa Cookhouse.  

The derelict Oregon & Eureka Railroad is easily accessible on the Samoa Peninsula as seen below from the Samoa Cookhouse. 

Some fantastic views looking east towards the Samoa Bridge can be found from Vance Avenue. 

CA 255 southbound crosses the Samoa Channel Bridge from the Samoa Peninsula to Indian Island.  As CA 255 climbs onto the Samoa Channel Bridge there is a placard that notates that it is a freeway.






CA 255 crosses Indian Island and the Middle Channel Bridge to Woodley Island. 





CA 255 southbound crosses Woodley Island and the Eureka Channel Bridge onto R Street in Eureka. 





CA 255 south follows R Street across US 101 southbound at 4th Street and terminates at northbound US 101 at 5th Street. 



Some additional views of the structures comprising the Samoa Bridge can be found through Eureka.  This view can be found from the Waterfront Trail at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center. 

A small marina is located underneath the Samoa Bridge on Waterfront Drive. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ghost Town Tuesday; Vineland, Florida; the town killed by Disney

Vineland is a small ghost town located in southwest Orange County, Florida near the junction of Florida State Road 535 and Interstate 4.  Vineland is somewhat unique due to it largely being squeezed out of existence by Lake Buena Vista which is the company town where Disney World is located. Vineland was founded in the late 1800s as Englewood.  The town name of Englewood changed to Orange Center in 1911 before finally assuming the name Vineland in 1924.  Much like the rest of Orange County the community of Vineland was centered around Citrus Grove.  In the case of Vineland said orange groves were centered around Ruby Lake. The end of Vineland came as the Disney Corporation began purchasing parcels of citrus grove land to build Lake Buena Vista.  Vineland fell into a sharp decline in the 1960s but the community managed to continue to exist to modern times.  Much of the street grid of Vineland still exists east of FL 535 but most of the original structures are either gone or falle

Old NY 10 and Goodman Mountain in the Adirondacks

  Old highway alignments come in all shapes and sizes, as well as taking some different forms after their lifespan of serving cars and trucks has ended. In the case of an old alignment of what was NY 10 south of Tupper Lake, New York, part of the old road was turned into part of a hiking trail to go up Goodman Mountain. At one time, the road passed by Goodman Mountain to the east, or Litchfield Mountain as it was known at the time. As the years passed, sometime around 1960, the part of NY 10 north of Speculator became part of NY 30, and remains that way today from Speculator, past Indian Lake and Tupper Lake and up to the Canadian Border. At one time, the highway was realigned to pass the Goodman Mountain to the west, leaving this stretch of road to be mostly forgotten and to be reclaimed by nature. During the summer of 2014, a 1.6 mile long hiking trail was approved the Adirondack Park Agency to be constructed to the summit of the 2,176 foot high Goodman Mountain. For the first 0.9 mi

Oregon State Highway 58

  Also known as the Willamette Highway No. 18, the route of Oregon State Highway 58 (OR 58) stretches some 86 miles between US 97 north of Chemult and I-5 just outside of Eugene, Oregon. A main route between the Willamette Valley region of Oregon with Central Oregon and Crater Lake National Park, the highway follows the Middle Fork Willamette River and Salt Creek for much of its route as it makes its way to and across the Cascades, cresting at 5,138 feet above sea level at Willamette Pass. That is a gain of over 4,500 in elevation from where the highway begins at I-5. The upper reaches of OR 58 are dominated by the principal pinnacle that can sometimes be seen from the highway, Diamond Peak, and three nearby lakes, Crescent, Odell and Waldo (Oregon's second largest lake). OR 58 is chock full of rivers, creeks, mountain views, hot springs and waterfalls within a short distance from the highway. OR 58 was numbered as such by the Oregon State Highway Department in 1940. OR 58 is a del