Part 1; the history of US Route 99 in Goshen and Traver
Goshen and Traver were both founded in 1872 as sidings of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The Southern Pacific Railroad laid the groundwork for development of southern San Joaquin Valley. Previous to the Southern Pacific Railroad travel via wagon or foot in Central California tended to avoid San Joaquin Valley in favor of the Stockton-Los Angeles Road. The Stockton Los Angeles Road lied to the east of San Joaquin Valley in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and was less subject flooding. Before the Southern Pacific Railroad most of San Joaquin Valley was a sparsely inhabited wetland which made travel by road difficult. Goshen and Traver can along the Southern Pacific Railroad on the 1873 Oregon, California, & Nevada Railroad Map.
The Southern Pacific Railroad also laid out a road network which served as a frontage facility. The ease of using the Southern Pacific in addition to it's frontage road rendered the Stockton-Los Angeles Road functionally obsolete to anything other than localized travel. As the 19th Century gave way to the 20th Century the age of the automobile began. The emergence of the automobile led to the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act which was approved by voters during 1910. The majority of the highways approved as part of the First State Highway Bond Act were largely well established routes of travel. In the case of Goshen and Traver it was along the path of what would become Legislative Route 4 ("LRN 4"). According to CAhighways.org the original definition of LRN 4 was "Sacramento to Los Angeles."
Within San Joaquin Valley much of LRN 4 incorporated what was the Southern Pacific Railroad frontage roads. A very early LRN 4 in through Goshen and Traver can be seen on the 1917 California State Automobile Association Map.
An easement through Tagus Ranch to the Division of Highways seems to have been granted at some point during 1924. The June 1924 California Highways & Public Works shows photos of a new alignment of LRN 4 from a maintenance station. The maintenance station signage clearly shows that LRN 4 was now aligned through Tagus Ranch directly to Goshen.
US Route 99 to Visalia
The new alignments of US Route 99/LRN 4 and LRN 10 can be seen on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Tulare County.
A Division of Highways District 6 report in the September/November 1958 California Highways & Public Works cites that the US Route 99/LRN 4 freeway was extended from the interchange with CA 198 one mile north of Goshen during 1957. A second report cites that US Route 99/LRN 4 was upgraded to freeway standards from Traver 5.7 miles north to the Kings River also during 1957.
Part 2; mapping Old US Route 99 in Goshen, Traver, and the Warlow Rest Area
The below maps were custom drawn based off the information above to graphically depict the surface alignments of US Route 99 in Goshen, Traver, and the Warlow Rest Area. The original alignment of Legislative Route 4 is referenced for historical clarity.
Part 3; former US Route 99 on Camp Drive in Goshen
Our first former segment of US Route 99 to explore is Camp Drive in Goshen. Camp Drive is long cut-off from accessing the modern Golden State Freeway and must be approached via local roads. I approached Camp Drive from Avenue 310 headed westbound. Northbound US Route 99 and a Southern Pacific rail crossing would have been on the right where the overpass now lies. I made a southbound left hand turn onto Camp Drive.
Camp Drive southbound is aligned next to the Union Pacific Railroad Reservation and crosses over an east/west spur line at Goshen Avenue/Sign County Route J32.
Camp Drive southbound continues towards the CA 198 freeway and gradually juts to the east. US Route 99 would have met CA 198/Visalia Highway roughly where the eastbound lanes of the current CA 198 freeway now reside.
Returning to northbound Camp Drive a handful of CA 99 shields can be found which direct traffic to the Golden State Freeway. The shields appear to be a fairly recent installations and likely have been the first "99" shields of any kind on Camp Drive since the 1930s.
Part 4; former US Route 99 on Sixth Street in Traver
Former US Route 99 on Sixth Street in Traver can be accessed directly from the northbound lanes of the Golden State Freeway via Exit 106A. The US Route 99 theme is apparent even from the off ramp with the Cafe 99 marque coming into view.
Bravo Farms is a noted attraction in Traver which can be found on Sixth Street.
The 99 Smoke Shop can also be found on Sixth Street. Amusingly the 99 Smoke Shop includes a custom made CA 99 shield.
Sixth Street intersects Merritt Drive/Sign County Route J36 north of Bravo Farms and the 99 Smoke Shop.
Sixth Street north of Merritt Drive continues to pass through Traver before merging back into Golden State Freeway via an on ramp.
Part 5; former US Route 99 segments in the vicinity of the Warlow Rest Area
Approaching northbound Golden State Freeway Exit 109 a stray segment of former US Route 99 can be spied behind a billboard in the vicinity of the Warlow Rest Area.
As noted above the razed grade of former US Route 99 can be found next to Avenue 384/Sign County Route J38.
Roadhouse 99 can be found alongside Avenue 384/Sign County Route J38.
The alignment of former US Route 99 once could be found through what is now the Warlow Rest Area.
The grade of what was once former US Route 99 can be found north of the actual rest area building merging back into the northbound lanes Golden State Freeway.