Virtual Tour of the Ridge Route – Introduction
Construction began on the Ridge Route in 1910. At this time, Beale’s Cut was bypassed by the Newhall Highway Tunnel. Newhall also changed quite a bit then. From 1878 to 1910, Railroad Avenue was the main highway through town. In 1910, the Ridge Route took the straighter alignment of Spruce Street instead of Railroad Avenue. Due to this change, all of the businesses moved onto the new main street.
In late 1915, the Ridge Route was opened to Bakersfield. It was only oiled and graded at this time. This was the segment that gave the Ridge Route its name. The official name for the Ridge Route was the “Castaic – Tejon Route” as it went to the San Joaquin Valley via Tejon Pass. The highway winds over the ridge line hence the nickname, Ridge Route.
Starting in 1917 and ending in early 1920, the Ridge Route was finally paved with a twenty foot wide slab of reinforced concrete four inches thick. It was later widened with asphalt in the mid 1920′s. Many of the deep cuts and tight curves were daylighted, or widened in the inside of the curve to enhance sight distance within the turn, during this time as well.
The highway was notorious for its many and usually dangerous curves. If all of the curves were to be added together, they would make 110 complete circles. Many died along the highway as a result of it being twisty and narrow. It was finally bypassed in 1933 by the Ridge Route Alternate (new US 99) but was still used by a few hardy travelers.
Also see Ridgeroute.com
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