Skip to main content

Siskiyou County Route A12; 99-97 Cutoff

Siskiyou County is home to one of the more interestingly named Sign County Routes in California; County Route A12 the 99-97 Cutoff.  

County Route A12 ("A12") is a 17.90 mile Sign County Route completely contained with Siskiyou County.  A12 is aligned between former US Route 99 ("US 99") near Grenada and US 97 to the east near the foot of Mount Shasta.  A12's designation of 99-97 Cutoff denotes that it was meant to serve a connector route between US 99 and US 97.  Despite US 99 no longer existing as a State Highway the routing of A12 still begins at it rather than Interstate 5 ("I-5").  The below image from cahighways.org displays the route of A12


Part 1; the history of Siskiyou County Route A12

What is now A12 consists of what was the road east of former US 99 connecting Grenada to the community of Mayten.  A road east of Mayten to US 97 existed before 99-97 Cutoff but was primitive compared to the modern A12.  This older highway can be seen on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Siskiyou County.  

The opening of 99-97 Cutoff is discussed in detail in the March/April 1955 California Highways & Public Works.  The construction of 99-97 Cutoff was a Federal Aid Secondary ("FAS") project which helped Siskiyou County fund construction of a modern highway.  

The history of 99-97 Cutoff is discussed in great detail in the March/April 1955 California Highways & Public Works.  The corridor of 99-97 Cutoff is described as being explored by Hudson Bay Company trappers in 1833.  By 1852 surveyors were attempting to plot a path through what was the future corridor of 99-97 Cutoff but were killed by local Tribes.  By 1855 the future corridor of 99-97 Cutoff was first used by a wagon train as en route to Yreka.    The corridor of future 99-97 Cutoff was popular with settlers due to the presence of the easy to identify Sheep Rock.  In 1856 the future corridor of 99-97 Cutoff began to be traveled by Stage Lines and appears to have been an early example of a Franchise Toll Road.  By 1857 the future corridor of 99-97 Cutoff came to be known as the "Pit River Road" but in time would be more commonly known as the "Shasta Valley Route."  In the mid-1880s Grenada had been established as a siding of the Southern Pacific Railroad on the Shasta Valley Route.  The siding of Grenada renewed interested in the Shasta Valley Route which became a Siskiyou County public highway in the late 1880s.  The Shasta Valley Route remained an unsurfaced highway until Siskiyou County undertook efforts to pave it in the 1940s.  A realignment effort of the Shasta Valley Route began in 1947 and eventually became the FAS project known as 99-97 Cutoff. 




Sheep Rock can be seen as a major way point east of Yreka on the 1857 Britton & Rey's Road Map of California.   

According to cahighways.org 99-97 Cutoff was added to the Sign County Route program in 1959 when it was given the designation of "A12."  As noted above despite US 99 functionally ceasing exist the western terminus of A12 was never truncated to I-5.  As of November 2011 A12/99-97 Cutoff was designated the "Veterans Memorial Highway" by the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors to honor Siskiyou County Veterans. 


Part 2; a drive on Siskiyou County Route A12

From I-5 northbound one can access A12/99-97 Cutoff via Exit 766 in Grenada.  As noted above the origin point of A12 is actually slightly west of I-5 at Old Highway 99.  

A12/99-97 Cutoff eastbound passes through Grenada.  A12 crosses the Union Pacific Railroad and intersects A28 at Montague-Grenada Road.  Big Springs is signed as 7 miles away on A12/99-97 Cutoff eastbound. 


Approaching Salvador Road A12/99-97 Cutoff skirts the southern banks of Salt Lake.  Salt Lake is part of a group of small lakes known as the Lava Lakes.  

A12/99-97 Cutoff eastbound passes through the community of Big Springs and intersects A29 at Big Springs Road.  Big Springs Road is where the former Shasta Valley Route would have diverged from modern 99-97 Cutoff.  US 97 is signed as 12 miles away on A12/99-97 Cutoff from Big Springs Road. 


From Big Springs A12/99-97 Cutoff turns southeast towards Sheep Rock and US 97.  Approximately a half mile east of Harry Cash Road one can find the turn off for Pluto's Cave on A12/99-97 Cutoff.  Pluto's Cave is a partially collapsed lava tube which was discovered in 1863.  

A12/99-97 Cutoff eastbound terminates at US 97 at the foot of Mount Shasta.

An overlook Mount Shasta can be found about a half mile north of the terminus of A12/99-97 Cutoff on US 97.  Mount Shasta is a stratovolcano and dominates much of the view on a clear day throughout Siskiyou County.  Mount Shasta lies at an elevation of 14,179 feet above sea level and is the second highest peak in the entire Cascade Mountain Range only to Mount Rainier.




For perspective on the scale of Mount Shasta it can be seen dominating the terrain around Shasta Valley from the air.





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hidden California State Route 710 and the Pasadena Gap in the Long Beach Freeway

Infamous and the subject of much controversy the Pasadena Gap in the Long Beach Freeway has long existed as a contentious topic regarding the completion of Interstate 710 and California State Route 710.  While the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freeway effectively has been legislatively blocked the action only came after decades of controversy.  While the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freeway is fairly well known what many don't know is that a small segment was actually constructed south Interstate 210 and the Foothill Freeway.  This disconnected segment of the Long Beach Freeway exists as the unsigned and largely hidden California State Route 710.  On June 29, 2022 the California Transportation Commission relinquished California State Route 710 to the city of Pasadena.  The blog cover above depicts a southward view on the completed Pasadena stub segment of the Long Beach Freeway which ends at California Boulevard.   Part 1; the history of the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freewa

Deer Isle Bridge in Maine

As graceful a bridge that I ever set my eyes upon, the Deer Isle Bridge (officially known as the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge) surprisingly caught my eye as I was driving around coastal Maine one Saturday afternoon. About 35 miles south of Bangor, Maine , the Deer Isle Bridge connects the Blue Hill Peninsula of Downeast Maine with Little Deer Isle over the Eggemoggin Reach on ME 15 between the towns of Sedgwick and Deer Isle . It should be noted that Little Deer Isle is connected to Deer Isle by way of a boulder lined causeway, and there is a storied regatta that takes place on the Eggemoggin Reach each summer. But the Deer Isle Bridge holds many stories, not just for the vacationers who spend part of their summer on Deer Isle or in nearby Stonington , but for the residents throughout the years and the folks who have had a hand bringing this vital link to life.   The Deer Isle Bridge was designed by David Steinman and built by the Phoenix Bridge Company of Phoenixville,

Paper Highways: Proposed US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas, Nevada

During February 1956 the State of Nevada in concurrence with the States of California and Arizona submitted a request to the American Association of State Highway Officials to establish US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas.  The proposed US Route 66 Alternate would have originated from mainline US Route 66 in Kingman Arizona and followed a multiplex of US Routes 93-466 to Las Vegas, Nevada.  From Las Vegas, Nevada the proposed US Route 66 Alternate would have multiplexed US Routes 91-466 back to mainline US Route 66 in Barstow, California.  The request to establish US Route 66 Alternate was denied during June 1956 due to it being completely multiplexed with other US Routes.  This blog will examine the timeline of the US Route 66 Alternate proposal to Las Vegas, Nevada. The history of the proposed US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas, Nevada On February 15, 1956, the Nevada State Highway Engineer in a letter to the American Association of State Highways Officials (AASHO) advising that six c