When the US Route System was created during November 1926 the terminus of US Route 99 was located in El Centro via Imperial Avenue to US Route 80 at Adams Avenue. During June 1932, US Route 99 would be extended from El Centro to the Mexican Border in Calexico. US Route 99 would remain signed through El Centro until the highway was truncated to the southern end of the Golden State Freeway during June 1963. The blog examines the history of US Route 99 within the community of El Centro from inception to eventual replacement by California State Route 86. Pictured above as the blog cover is the multiplex of US Route 99 and US Route 80 on Main Street in downtown El Centro during the 1940s. US Route 99 from El Centro to the Mexican Border in Calexico can be seen in detail on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Imperial County.
The history of US Route 99 in El Centro
El Centro lies within Imperial Valley of the Sonoran Desert near the Mexican Border with Sonora. El Centro was plotted out during 1906 by W.F. Holt and C.A. Barker amid the land boom of Imperial Valley. El Centro would ultimately beat Imperial for the Imperial County Seat when the lands of San Diego County were split on August 7, 1907. El Centro would go on to incorporate as a city on April 16, 1908.
The initial draft of the US Route System was approved by the Secretary of Agriculture during November of 1925. The US Route System within California was approved by California Highway Commission (CHC) with no changes recommended which can be seen in January 1926 California Highways & Public Works. US Route 99 is shown departing San Bernardino via LRN 26 towards a terminus at US Route 80 in El Centro.
Thusly planned US Route 99 appears on the 1925 Rand McNally Map of California following LRN 26 to a terminus in El Centro.
The September/October 1928 California Highways & Public Works noted the paving of US Route 99/LRN 26 between Brawley-El Centro had been budgeted during the September California Highway Commission meeting.
1933 Legislative Chapter 767 added LRN 201 to the State Highway System with the following definition:
"From a point on LRN 26 approximately 2 mi W of Brawley to a point on said LRN 26 approximately 2 1/2 mi SW of Brawley" and "Calipatria to Brawley-Holtville Road.
LRN 201 first appears on the 1934 Division of Highways Map with the more simplistic definition of "Route 187 near Calipatria to Route 26 east of Heber." Despite LRN 201 being adopted over the planned streamlined route of US Route 99 north of Calexico to US Route 80/LRN 27 near El Centro it never became part of the highway.
US Route 99/LRN 26 from El Centro to the Mexican Border in Calexico can be seen in detail on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Imperial County.