Fernley and Wadsworth lie near the Lyon/Washoe County Line in northwest Nevada. Historically Fernley and Wadsworth were tied together via the corridor US Route 40. Despite the decommissioning of US Route 40 in Nevada the corridor of Fernley remains an active part of US Route 95A and US Route 50A. Since the decommissioning of US Route 40 it's former alignment through Wadsworth has become part of Nevada State Route 427. Pictured above is the 1936 Fernley Underpass which was part of US Route 40 on Main Street in Fernley.
Part 1; the history of the US Route System in Fernley and Wadsworth
Wadsworth is located at a northward bend of the Truckee River towards Pyramid Lake in what is today Washoe County. During the period of the California Gold Rush the area which is presently occupied by Wadsworth was a stopping point on the California Trail known as Red Bluff. Red Bluff can be seen on the 1863 DeGroot's Map of Nevada Territory along the California Trail via the so called "lower crossing" of the Truckee River.
Nevada obtained Statehood during October of 1864 largely off the prospects of the mining booms associated with the Comstock Lode. During the construction the Central Pacific Railroad's first Transcontinental Railroad circa 1863-69 numerous sidings were established to services trains. A Central Pacific Railroad siding known as Wadsworth was established at the site of Red Bluff. Wadsworth was named after Union Civil War General James Samuel Wadsworth. Wadsworth can be seen on the 1873 Bancroft's Map of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona along the Central Pacific Railroad at the Truckee River.
Fernley was established east of Wadsworth within Lyon County as an agricultural community during 1904. Fernley was largely plotted out to take advantage of the 32 mile long Truckee Canal to the Lahontan Reservoir. The Truckee Canal and Lahontan Reservoir were completed by 1905. The Lahontan Reservoir and Truckee Canal were borne out Federal Legislation by way of the 1902 Newlands Reclamation Act. The location of Fernley on the Truckee Canal saw it's profile of importance exceed that of Wadsworth which led to the construction of a new Southern Pacific Railroad Depot which was completed by August 1914 on Front Street. Fernley was also plotted out as the eastern terminus of the Southern Pacific Railroad's Fernley & Lassen Railway. The Fernley & Lassen Railway was constructed circa 1912-14 between Fernley and Susanville, California.
Fernley can be seen as the junction of the Lincoln Highway, Victory Highway and Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway on the 1920 Clason Roads of California and Nevada Map.
During March of 1914 the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway was formalized as a coast to coast highway. As originally conceived the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway would have been plotted from Washington D.C. to San Francisco which would have put Fernley and Wadsworth on it's alignment. The creation of the National Old Trails Road shifted the east terminus of the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway to New York whereas the emergence of the Lincoln Highway saw the western terminus shifted to Los Angeles. The Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway was ultimately completed by 1924 as a highway aligned between Los Angeles and New York.
The Victory Highway was formally organized during 1921 as a coast to coast highway aligned from New York to San Francisco. Unlike the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway the alignment of the Victory Highway ultimately always had Fernley and Wadsworth on it's course. The Victory Highway Association lived on after the creation of the US Route System and became the US Route 40 Association in 1938. The Victory Highway entered Fernley via Main Street where it began a multiplex of the Lincoln Highway at East Street.
During 1912 Indiana Businessman Carl G. Fisher conceptualized the Lincoln Highway as a major transcontinental Auto Trail. The Lincoln Highway was formally dedicated on October 31st, 1913 and was aligned west of Fallon towards Fernley and Wadsworth. The Lincoln Highway west of Fallon entered Fernley via; Farm District Road, Cottonwood Lane and modern US Route 95A/US Route 50A. The Lincoln Highway passed through Fernley via East Street (where it picked up the Victory Highway) and Front Street. The Lincoln Highway and Victory Highway multiplexed west to Wadsworth where they passed through the community via; Bridge Street, Virginia Street and Herman Avenue. These early alignments of the Lincoln Highway through Fernley and Wadsworth an be seen on the Lincoln Highway Association's Official Map.
On November 15th, 1974 the Nevada Department of Transportation in conjunction with states of California and Utah submitted a request to truncate US Route 40 from Truckee, California to Park City, Utah. The request to truncate US Route 40 was approved by the AASHO Executive Committee on June 17th, 1975. This action officially removed US Route 40 from the State of Nevada.