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The last covered bridges of the California State Highway System (California State Route 96)

California has numerous covered bridges which once served the highways and roads of the State.  In modern times most of the existing covered bridges in California have been converted to pedestrian use and a state of preservation.  The California State Highway System had two covered bridge holdouts which were active on California State Route 96 in Siskiyou County until 1950.  This blog examines the history of the Dillon Creek and Clear Creek Covered Bridges which were the last two structures of their kind on a California State Highway System.  Pictured above as the blog cover is the Dillon Creek Covered Bridge as it was prior to being demolished during 1950.  

The history of the Dillon Creek and Clear Creek Covered Bridges

What is now California State Route 96, and the Klamath River Highway was first defined by the 1919 Third State Highway Bond Act as Legislative Route Number 46 (LRN 46).  The original definition of LRN 46 was as follows:

"Klamath River Bridge on LRN 3 (future US Route 99) to LRN 1 (future US Route 101)"

The planned route of LRN 46 and the Klamath River Highway appears on the 1920 California Highway Commission Map.  

The August 1934 California Highways and Public Works announced the original run of Sign State Routes.  The entirety of LRN 46 and the Klamath River Highway was assigned as California State Route 96.  The attached article map displays California State Route 96 being applied over the completed portions of LRN 46 and the Klamath River Highway.  The Klamath River Highway between Klamath Glen and the Yurok Reservation ultimately was never constructed.  

The November/December 1950 California Highways & Public Works contains an article regarding the removal of the last two covered bridges from the State Highway System. The Clear Creek and Dillon Creek Covered Bridges are noted to have been located on California State Route 96 in Siskiyou County. The Clear Creek and Dillon Creek Covered Bridges were constructed during 1921-1922 by the United States Bureau of Public Roads when the Klamath River Highway was in a primitive state of repair. The Clear Creek Covered Bridge is noted to have been built with an eleven-foot-wide road deck whereas the Dillon Creek Covered Bridge had a fifteen-foot nine-inch-wide road deck. The modernized spans over Dillon Creek and Clear Creek are displayed in contrast to their covered bridge predecessors.

The modern Clear Creek Bridge can be found on California State Route 96 at Postmile SIS 32.65.

The modern Dillon Creek Bridge can be found on California State Route 96 at Postmile SIS R16.18.


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