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The Bigelow Blvd. / Crosstown Expressway (Interstate 579) Ghost Ramp Mystery Explained

For nearly five decades, many Pittbsurgh-area motorists, when leaving the old Civic Arena or exiting off the Crosstown Expressway onto Bigelow Boulevard, have wondered what exactly the ghost ramp in the above photo was for.  Where was it to have come from?  When and why did they stop?  Will it ever be built?
The original plans for the Crosstown Expressway included a full interchange with Bigelow Boulevard.  However, these plans never came to fruition.  The only ramps that were built were from I-579 North onto to the Bigelow and from Bigelow Boulevard/PA 380 West to I-579 South.  The above ramp was to have come from I-579 South, and depending on what older map of Pittsburgh you have over or under the existing roadway, and on to Bigelow/PA 380 East.  It never came to be, and the HOV ramp to what was once the Civic Arena has basically eliminated the need for completing this interchange.


The two photos above show the retaining wall with the ghost ramp and how it would have connected onto…

1906 North Fork Road Bridge Ruins

Downstream from the Friant Dam is North Fork Road which crosses the San Joaquin River on a bridge which was completed in 1952.  Downstream from said 1952 bridge is an older right-of-way and very apparent bridge ruin which caught my eye on many a trip past Millerton Lake.


It turns out that particular bridge ruin is the reinforced concrete 1906 North Fork Road Bridge.  The 1906 North Fork Road Bridge was the first reinforced concrete bridge in Fresno County was the replacement of a wooden structure that was built in 1883.  During the collapse of the 1889 Lanes Bridge in 1940 the 1906 North Fork Road Bridge became Temporary California State Route 41 until a replacement structure was open in 1941.  Somehow despite the Friant Dam being completed in 1949 flood waters downstream from the structure became bad enough in 1951 to wipe out the 1906 North Fork Road Bridge.  Oddly rather removing the 1906 structure when the 1952 replacement was built it was instead left in the San Joaquin River as …

1941 Lanes Bridge Renovations (Old California State Route 41)

I was debating what to do on a day off and finally decided to check out the old 1941 Lanes Bridge which used to carry California State Route 41.  The 1941 Lanes Bridge can be seen on the northbound CA 41 Freeway as it crosses the San Joaquin River.  Since the original bridge was completed in 1889 the Lanes Bridge has been a major highway crossing for traffic over the San Joaquin River.  There has been three bridges at the Lanes Bridge crossing, only the original is the only one no longer present.  I made my way north out of Fresno during rush hour crossing the San Joaquin River on the CA 41 freeway into Madera County.  When I arrived on the old alignment of CA 41 I was greeted by something I didn't expect, a Caltrans maintenance sign.






I knew the 1941 Lanes Bridge was under going renovations but I had no idea it was still under Caltrans Maintenance.  The 1941 Lanes Bridge had one lane shut down over the San Joaquin River and was undergoing deck repairs.





Which in a way is double edg…

Throwback Thursday - October 26, 2017

This week's edition of Throwback Thursday takes us to the home of half moon cookies and chicken riggies, the Upstate New York city of Utica. From this January 2002 photo on River Road in Utica, you can see a button copy sign for NY 8 and NY 12 in that had seen better days even back then. This sign has since been replaced, but there are some old signs still lurking around Utica.


California State Route 233

Circumstance had me heading out of Fresno northbound.  With that being the case I decided to finish CA 233 that I had missed out of due to traffic when I photo-clinched CA 152.  CA 233 is a tiny state highway running entirely on Robertson Boulevard from CA 99 in Chowchilla four miles southwest to CA 152.







Before CA 99/US 99 was a freeway what is now CA 233 would have terminated at Chowchilla Boulevard ahead in the photo below.  Originally Chowchilla Boulevard would have had a junction with Robertson Boulevard north of the railroad tracks roughly where the "Chowchilla City Limit" sign is located now.



Chowchilla has only been around since the very early 20th century and is named after the river of the same name which follows out of the Sierras to the San Joaquin River.  The name Chowchilla is an incorrect spelling of the Chaushila tribe.


Leaving Chowchilla on CA 233 southeast there is a dual row of palms lining Robertson Boulevard.







Only the last mile of CA 233 before the termin…

California State Route 183

Friday morning I decided to finish up a route that I've have never completed while leaving Monterey; California State 183.  CA 183 is a 10 mile state route which runs southeast/northwest from Castroville to Salinas.  Since I was leaving Monterey I took CA 183 southeast from Castroville.



The first mile of CA 183 within Castroville used to be part of CA 1 until it bypassed the town in the 1980s.  Castroville was founded in the 1860s and is known as the "Artichoke Center of the World: which is boasted on an overhead sign in downtown along CA 183.  The junction with CA 156 was the previous west terminus of CA 183 until CA 1 was relocated.









Leaving Castroville it is an open seven miles to the City limits of Salinas through Salinas Valley.  The early morning views of the Santa Lucia and Gabilan Range can be pretty nice, especially after it rained the previous evening.  Fremont Peak in the Gabilan Range is the highest in the range at 3,455 and can be reached via Signed County Route …

Old US 101; the San Juan Grade

While researching maps for California State Route 183 I noticed something interesting on the 1935 County Highway maps for San Benito and Monterey County.  From what it appeared it seems that there used to be a state highway running from US 101 south on San Juan Highway, through San Juan Bautista, south over the San Juan Grade to Salinas.  It turns out what I discovered was an a very old alignment of US 101 which was replaced by 1932.






The information relevant to the history of US 101 over the San Juan Grade is as follows:

-  The San Juan Grade was built in 1915 which presumably replaced Old Stage Road from Salinas to San Juan Bautista.  Presumably this was part of alignment adopted as Legislative Route 2 from San Francisco south to San Diego in 1909.  This history can be seen on 1931 edition of the California Highways and Public Works Journal and on CAhighways.org.

1931 Highways and Public Works Journal

CAhighways on LRN 2

-  By 1926 the San Juan Grade became part of US 101.  The San Jua…