- California State Route 70
length_notes=(plus about 0.5 mi (1 km) on SR 20)
history=State highway in 1910 and 1931; became SR 24 in 1934, US 40A in 1954, and SR 70 in 1964
terminus_a=jct|state=CA|SR|99 near Sacramento
junction=jct|state=CA|SR|20 in Marysville
jct|state=CA|SR|162 in Oroville
jct|state=CA|SR|89 near Quincy
State Route 70 (SR 70) is a
state highwayin the U.S. stateof California. Connecting Sacramento with US 395 near Beckwourth Pass(elevation 5221 feet/1591 m, lowest in the Sierra Nevada) via the Feather River Canyon, it was formerly known as U.S. Route 40 Alternate, crossing the Sierra Nevada at a lower elevation than Donner Passon US 40 (now I-80). Through the Feather River Canyon, from SR 149 to US 395, SR 70 is the Feather River Scenic Byway, a Forest Service Bywaythat parallels the ex- Western Pacific Railroad Feather River Route. The portion of this west of SR 89 near Blairsden is also eligible for the State Scenic Highway System. The entire route is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System, though it is mostly two lanes.
State Route 70 begins at a partial interchange with SR 99 north of Sacramento, close to the
Feather River Route rail linethat parallels the entire highway, and heads north along a two-lane surface road, which widens to four lanes about halfway to Olivehurst. As it approaches the merge with SR 65 near Olivehurst, SR 70 becomes a freeway, which continues to just beyond the Yuba Riverin Marysville. Within that city, SR 70 makes two turns and overlaps SR 20 before leaving to the north on a two-lane road. Another four-lane freeway begins at SR 162 in Oroville, and ends at the intersection with SR 149. SR 149 is a major connection northwest to SR 99, and will become the straight-through movement when the construction to replace the intersection with an interchange is complete. The State Scenic Highway portion of SR 70 begins at SR 149, which is where SR 70 turns northeast out of the Sacramento Valleyand into the mountains. The short SR 191 spurs north to Paradise, and SR 70 crosses the West Branch Feather Riveron the double-decker West Branch Bridge, with the Feather River Route below. A short four-lane section runs over the bridge towards Jarbo Gap, where the present SR 70 merges with the old road (Dark Canyon Road) that was used before the Feather River was dammed to create Lake Orovillein the 1960s. Google Mapsstreet maps and USGS topographic maps, accessed December 2007 via [http://mapper.acme.com/ ACME Mapper] ]
After crossing through Jarbo Gap, SR 70 drops down into the canyon of the
North Fork Feather River, which it follows almost to Quincy, usually on the opposite side from the Feather River Route; this results in two places where both transportation lines cross the river and each other. The first of these is the Pulga Bridge, an arch bridgethat crosses over a lower railroad truss bridge; soon after are the highway's three tunnels through rock formations in the canyon. After a fair distance through the canyon, and that formed by the East Branch North Fork Feather River, SR 70 reaches the junction with SR 89 near Paxton; Routes 70 and 89 overlap southeast from that point, where the East Branch splits into Indian Creek and Spanish Creek. The highway heads southeast, partly along the latter creek, past Keddie to Quincy in the American Valley. It leaves the valley via Greenhorn Creek, passing the Feather River Route's Williams Loopand then following the small Estray Creek to Lee Summit, which the rail line passes under in the Spring Garden Tunnel. This brings SR 70 into the valley of the Middle Fork Feather River, which takes it southeast to Blairsden (where the State Scenic Highway ends and SR 89 splits to the south) and then east, through the Plumas National Forest, to Portola and Beckwourth. The large Sierra Valleybegins at the latter community, and SR 70 heads almost directly across, passing the north end of SR 49 at Vinton and the south end of SR 284 at Chilcoot before crossing Beckwourth Pass, which the railroad takes the Chilcoot Tunnelunder, and descending slightly to end at US 395 at Hallelujah Junction.
James Beckwourthopened the Beckwourth Trailover Beckwourth Passin 1851, crossing the Sierra Nevada at a lower elevation than the existing Donner Passroute of the California Trail. This split from the Truckee Routeof the California Trail near Reno and roughly followed the present SR 70 to Quincy, but, rather than passing through the Feather River Canyon, it followed Oroville-Quincy Highway along ridges to Bidwell's Bar. [ [http://www.beckwourth.org/Trail/ The Beckwourth Trail: A Route to the Gold Country] , accessed December 2007] A company was incorporated on July 23, 1855to build the Quincy and Spanish Ranch Wagon Road, which bypassed the older trail from Quincy west to Spanish Ranch and began collecting tolls in November. The Pioneer Wagon Road, another toll road, was built in 1856 and 1857, continuing the improvements southwest to Buckeye (just before the Butte County line). An 1866 law authorized Plumas County to improve the portion from Quincy east to Beckwourth. The county also improved the road east from Beckwourth over the pass as part of the Red Clover Wagon Road, which began at Genesee and was completed in the 1870s. [ [http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/ca/plumas/history/1882/illustra/transpor273ms.txt Illustrated History of Plumas, Lassen & Sierra Counties] , 1882]
Western Pacific Railroadcompleted its main line into California in 1909. This followed the old Beckwourth Trail east of Quincy, but to the west it reached Oroville and Marysville via the Feather River Canyon. While building the railroad, the Utah Construction Companyhad created a dirt road through the canyon to assist with construction; citizens created the Plumas County Road Association in 1911 to push for improvements to this roadway and creation of a year-round route between Oroville and Quincy (the existing route over the ridges was closed for at least four months each winter). The first state highway bond issue, passed by the state's voters in 1910, included a Route 30 connecting Oroville with Quincy. Plumas County surveyor Arthur W. Keddie surveyed the Feather River Canyon route for the California Highway Commissionin 1913, but the state announced in 1916 that the existing ridge route would be improved. After much debate, the state legislative road committee included the statement that this route would follow the Feather River in the 1919 amendment authorizing a third bond issue; [cite CAstat|year=1919|res=yes|ch=46|p=1520: "Feather river route Oroville to Quincy"] instead of keeping it as Route 30, the Highway Commission changed the designation to an extension of the short Richvale-Oroville (now SR 162) Route 21, which was also part of the first bond issue. [Howe & Peters, [http://books.google.com/books?id=G0w7AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA3#PRA1-PA3,M1 Engineers' Report to California State Automobile Association Covering the Work of the California Highway Commission for the Period 1911-1920] , pp. 11-14] Jim Young, Plumas County: History of the Feather River Region, Arcadia Publishing, 2003, pp. 65-68]
Construction began on
July 1, 1928, with convict laborfor the easier portions and contractors for the remainder, as well as bridges and tunnels, but was slowed by the Great Depression. On the most difficult portion, between Cresta and Rock Creek, three tunnels had to be built at Arch Rock, Grizzly Dome, and Elephant Butte; at the former two, surveyors had to hang out on rope over steep graniteslopes, and rockslides repeatedly caused delays. The commission dedicated the road at a ceremony at Grizzly Dome, halfway between the ends, on August 14, 1937. Construction had cost $8.15 million for 78 miles (126 km) of new road. The remainder of the old trail from Quincy to the junction with Route 29 (now US 395) east of Beckwourth Pass was added to the state highway system in 1931 as an extension of Route 21, [cite CAstat|year=1931|ch=82|p=102: "Quincy to State Highway Route 29, near Chats."] and was paved by 1936. A new Route 87 was created in 1933, stretching from Woodland via Marysville and Oroville to Route 3 (SR 99) southeast of Chico, including the present SR 70 between Marysville and Oroville. [cite CAstat|year=1933|ch=767|p=2035: "State Highway Route 3 near Chico to State Highway Route 21 near Oroville." "State Highway Route 15 near Marysville to State Highway Route 21 near Oroville." "State Highway Route 7 near Woodland to State Highway near Yuba City."] [cite CAstat|year=1935|ch=29|p=276, 282] Route 87 from Woodland to Oroville and Route 21 from Oroville to east of Beckwourth Pass became a new Sign Route 24 in 1934; [ California Highways and Public Works, [http://www.gbcnet.com/roads/ca_routes_1934.html State Routes will be Numbered and Marked with Distinctive Bear Signs] , August 1934] SR 24 was extended southwest from Woodland to Oakland by the end of 1937. [ Fresno Bee, New Bay Area Tunnel is Modern Traffic Unit, December 15, 1937]
In 1954, [
Reno Evening Gazette, April 28, 1954: "The complete caravan will then proceed up the Feather river canyon and into Reno via Highway 24, the Feather river route."] [ Reno Evening Gazette, July 16, 1954: "...located on Alternate U.S. 40, former State Route 24, about two miles (3 km) east of Portola."] the original part of SR 24 was replaced by U.S. Route 40 Alternate, which continued south on US 99W from Woodland to Davis and southeast on US 395 to Reno, Nevadato join US 40 at both ends. [ H.M. Gousha Company, [http://members.cox.net/mkpl2/hist/hist.html California] , 1955] A direct route from Marysville south to Sacramento was added to the state highway system in 1949 as Route 232, [cite CAstat|year=1949|ch=1467|p=2556: "Route 207 is from Sacramento to Marysville..."] [cite CAstat|year=1951|ch=1562|p=3560: renumbered Route 207 to 232, since a Route 207 already existed] and later became part of a rerouted SR 24. [ H.M. Gousha Company, California, 1963] The US 40 Alternate designation was short-lived, and was mostly replaced by a new State Route 70 in the 1964 renumbering. Southwest of Marysville, former US 40 Alternate instead became SR 113, and SR 70 ran south along former SR 24 (Route 232) to a point north of Sacramento, where the new SR 99 came in from the northwest and continued south. [ California Highways and Public Works, [http://gbcnet.com/ushighways/history/1964_route_renumbering.pdf Route Renumbering: New Green Markers Will Replace Old Shields] , March-April 1964, p. 11] cite CAstat|year=1963|ch=385|p=1177: "Route 70 is from Route 99 near Catlett Road to Route 395 near Hallelujah Junction via Quincy and Beckwourth Pass."] Despite SR 70 always ending at SR 99, it was once signed along SR 99 (El Centro Road, Garden Highway, and the Jibboom Street Bridge) to Sacramento. [ H.M. Gousha Company, [http://members.cox.net/mkpl2/hist/67mp_sac.jpgSacramento, California] , 1967]
When it was originally built, the Feather River Highway northeast from Oroville followed the present Oroville Dam Boulevard (County Route B2) to the present location of the
Oroville Dam, and then ran north and northeast alongside the North Fork Feather River along a route now covered by Lake Oroville. It left to the north on Dark Canyon Road, meeting the present alignment at Jarbo Gap. [ United States Geological Survey, [http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/historicalmaps/us_states/california/topos/15index.htm Oroville, Calif. (1944, roads 1943) and Big Bend Mtn., Calif. (1948 )] , scale 1:62500] Since the old road would be flooded, a $14.8 million new alignment, much of it four lanes, was built around the west side; the Western Pacific Railroad was also relocated to a nearby alignment. [ Oakland Tribune, Man, Machines Change Face of Earth in Gigantic Dam Project at Oroville, June 8, 1964] The double-decker West Branch Bridgeover the West Branch Feather Rivernorthwest of the dam, carrying the highway above the rail line, was dedicated on August 15, 1962. [ Oakland Tribune, Bridge Dedicated, August 15, 1962] Two portions of SR 70 have been upgraded to freeways: south from Marysville to the SR 65 split in the mid-1950s, extended farther south in the late 1960s; and around downtown Oroville, built in the early 1960s.
Major intersections and exit list
:"Note: Except where prefixed with a letter,
postmiles were measured in 1964, based on the alignment as it existed at that time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column."
* [http://www.westcoastroads.com/california/ca-070.html California @ WestCoastRoads - California 70]
* [http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/sr70 California Highway Conditions: SR 70]
* [http://www.cahighways.org/065-072.html#070 California Highways: SR 70]
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