California State Route 182 is a 13 mile State Highway entirely contained within northern Mono County. California State Route 182 follows Sweetwater Road north from US Route 395 in Bridgeport via the East Walker River to the Nevada State Line and Nevada State Route 338. Pictured above is Legislative Route Number 96 (now California State Route 182) facing north along the Bridgeport Reservoir as seen in the September/October 1953 California Highways & Public Works.
The history of California State Route 182
What is now California State Route 182 ("CA 182") entered the State Highway System in 1933 as Legislative Route Number 96 ("LRN 96"). The original definition of LRN 96 was; "LRN 23 (future US Route 395) near Bridgeport to the Nevada line via the Walker River." LRN 96 appears for the first time on the 1934 Division of Highways Map following the Sweetwater Road.
The corridor of LRN 96 and modern CA 182 is tied to the formation of Bridgeport. The first documented European expedition of Bridgeport Valley was in 1827 via an expedition led by Jedediah Smith. The area to the south of Bridgeport was found to have mineral wealth which led to the sizeable communities of Bodie, Masonic and Dogtown all being founded by the late 1850s. The prospects of the Bodie Mining District led to the establishment of Bridgeport in Bridgeport Valley. Early settlers to Bridgeport were attracted to Bridgeport Valley due to the ranching prospects along the East Walker River. The community name "Bridgeport" is a reference to a bridge which was present over the East Walker River.
Mono County was created by the California Legislature during 1861 with Aurora being selected as the original County Seat. The 1863 Sage Brush Survey determined Aurora laid within the boundaries of Nevada which invalidated it's Mono County Seat status. Bridgeport was selected as the Mono County Seat in 1864 and has since retained said status. Bridgeport can be seen on the Sweetwater Road connecting the Bodie Mining District north via the East Walker River to the Wellington Toll Road on the 1873 Bancroft's Map of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. The Sweetwater Road north via the East Walker River was constructed by Mono County in 1873.
LRN 96 can be seen connecting US Route 395/LRN 23 in Bridgeport north to Nevada State Route 22 ("NV 22") on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Mono County.
The September 1939 California Highways & Public Works notes a contract to grade and apply an oil surface to LRN 96 was awarded.
The September/October 1953 California Highways & Public Works discusses a survey conducted to rebuild much of existing LRN 96. The early history of the Sweetwater Stage Road north from Bridgeport to the Nevada State Line is also discussed. The Sweetwater Stage Road was constructed by Mono County residents during 1873. The only significant change to the Sweetwater Stage Road prior to being adopted as LRN 96 was in 1923 when the first five miles north of Bridgeport were relocated to less flood prone grounds during construction of the Bridgeport Reservoir. A survey to modernize LRN 96 to the standards set by NV 22 is discussed as having been conducted. The Bridgeport Reservoir is stated to have had additional regulations put in place which would allow LRN 96 to be straightened through old overflow flats.
The March/April 1955 California Highways & Public Works examines the recently rebuilt LRN 96 on Sweetwater Road. The building of LRN 96 consisted of a 8.2 mile segment of the highway which was completed as part of Federal Aid Secondary Route 580. The straightening of LRN 96 is stated to have brought the highway up to modern standards and is stated to save 20 minutes of travel in the Bridgeport-Yerington corridor. A second phase of the completed project is stated to ultimately be planned to including surfacing the rebuilt 8.2 miles of LRN 96.