|US 99: Grapevine
|Evidence of the advances in highway building technology in the earlier part of this
century can be seen in the alignments going over Tejon Summit. The first modern highway
was the Ridge Route, but within 10 years it became obsolete. A practice used during the
1920s was adding wider concrete on top of the existing concrete - it was called adding a
These alignments can be reached by taking the Gorman exit from I-5, turning left (west) and making a right on Peace Valley Rd. Take this over the summit and head down the hill, over the 1951 expressway. Make a left at Falcon Way., the first left turn beyond the summit. If the gate is open, it is possible to drive on a portion of the 1915/1923 alignment. If not, then some hiking is required to reach it. It is interesting to note that this section of US 99 is not much of an improvement over the Ridge Route. It follows the same grade and makes the same sharp turns leading up to the summit and like its predecessor was only two lanes. However, it completely covered the old Ridge Route and did offer increased safety with its wider lanes; it actually used *twin slab concrete*. While much of the road is gone, it is still remarkable that some of it survived and it offers a neat glimpse of the improvement in road building that occurred over 50 years. It is also one of the few places where several alignments are visible.
The 1915/1923 alignment overlooking the 1951 alignment and I-5. Note the sharp turn in the bottom picture and the "double slab" concrete..
These old alignments can be reached from either the Gorman or Frazier Park exits from I-5, located about 70 miles north of Los Angeles. From Gorman, head away from the town (west) and turn right on Peace Valley Rd. From the Frazier Park exit, head toward the town (again west). Turn left at the stop sign and the expressway appears after about 100 yards.
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