U.S. Route 99

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U.S. Route 99 marker

U.S. Route 99
Pacific Highway
Golden State Highway
Route information
Length: 1,600 mi[1] (2,600 km)
Existed: 1926 – 1972 [2]
Major junctions
South end: Fed. 5 at U.S.–Mexico border in Calexico, CA[3]
 
North end: BC 99 at U.S./Canada border in Blaine, WA
Highway system
US 97 OR OR 99
US 97 WA SR 99

U.S. Route 99 (US 99) was the main north–south United States Numbered Highway on the West Coast of the United States until 1964, running from Calexico, California, on the US–Mexico border to Blaine, Washington, on the U.S.-Canada border. It was assigned in 1926 and existed until it was replaced for the most part by Interstate 5. Known also as the "Golden State Highway" and "The Main Street of California", US 99 was an important route in California throughout much of the 1930s as a route for Dust Bowl immigrant farm workers to traverse the state. Large portions are now California's State Route 99 (SR 99), Oregon Route 99, 99W, 99E and Washington's SR 99. The highway connected to British Columbia Highway 99 at the Canadian border.

Route description[edit]

California[edit]

U.S. Route 99 in Grants Pass, Oregon, 1939

Oregon[edit]

The former route of U.S. Route 99 in Oregon mostly follows routes currently signed as Oregon Route 99, 99E, and 99W. The primary exception is from the California-Oregon state border north to Ashland, Oregon, where U.S. 99 is currently named Old Highway 99 S from the state border to exit 6 of Interstate 5. The former route is coterminous with Interstate 5 from exit 6 to the junction of Oregon Route 99 in Ashland.

Washington[edit]

Unlike California and Oregon, much of the former route of U.S. Highway 99 in Washington exists as local roads and regular city streets; only the route from Fife to Everett still retains the official "99" moniker (as State Route 99). The following is a simplified list of Washington counties and cities that portions of the old route traverse, along with their local names.[8]

Former U.S. Highway 99 Route in Washington (North to South)
Nearest City County Road or Street Names
Blaine Whatcom 12th Street, D Street, Peace Portal Drive, Portal Way
Birch Bay Whatcom Portal Way
Ferndale Whatcom Portal Way, Pacific Hwy.
Bellingham Whatcom Pacific Hwy., W. Bakerview Road, Northwest Drive, Northwest Avenue, Elm Street, DuPont Avenue, Prospect Street, E. Holly Street, Ellis St., Maple St., Samish Way, Lake Samish Drive, Old Highway 99 North Rd.
Burlington Skagit Old Highway 99 North Rd., S. Burlington Blvd.
Mount Vernon Skagit Riverside Drive, N 4th St., S 3rd St., S 2nd St., Old Highway 99 S. Road
Conway Skagit Conway Frontage Road, Pioneer Highway
Stanwood Snohomish Old 99 N, Pioneer Highway E. (2.4 miles north of Stanwood, an older re-alignment exists following: Old Pacific Highway, 102nd Ave NW, 268th St. to Pioneer Highway)
Arlington Snohomish Pioneer Highway E, State Route 530, Smokey Point Blvd.
Marysville Snohomish State Avenue, Sunnyside Blvd.
Everett Snohomish Sunnyside Blvd., 20th Street SE, Everett Avenue, Broadway, State Route 529
Lynnwood, Edmonds, Shoreline, Seattle, Tukwila, SeaTac, Des Moines, Federal Way, Milton, Fife Snohomish, King, Pierce State Route 99 and as Aurora Ave N From the Snohomish-King County Line to Denny Way
Tacoma Pierce Pacific Hwy. E, Eells Street, Puyallup Avenue, E. G St., E. 26th St., South Tacoma Way
Lakewood Pierce South Tacoma Way, Pacific Hwy. SW
DuPont Pierce Interstate 5 (exit 124 to exit 114)
Nisqually Thurston Martin Way
Lacey Thurston Old Pacific Hwy. SE, Pacific Avenue
Olympia Thurston Pacific Avenue, 4th Ave. E (E) / State Ave. NE (W), Capitol Way
Tumwater Thurston Capitol Blvd., Old Hwy. 99 NE
Tenino Thurston Old Hwy. 99 NE, Sussex Avenue E, Wichman Street S, 6th Avenue W, Old Hwy. 99 SE
Grand Mound, Tenino Thurston Old Hwy. 99 SW and SE
Centralia Lewis Harrison Avenue, W. Main Street, Tower Avenue (N) / S. Pearl Street (S), Kresky Avenue NE (N) / S. Gold Street (S)
Chehalis Lewis Kresky Avenue (N) / National Avenue (S), National Avenue, Market Blvd., Jackson Highway
Toledo Lewis, Cowlitz Jackson Highway, State Route 505, Barnes Drive
Castle Rock Cowlitz Barnes Drive, Old Pacific Hwy. N, Huntington Avenue S (Business Loop 5), Pleasant Hill Road
Kelso Cowlitz Pleasant Hill Road, Pacific Avenue, Ash Street, Grade Street, Kelso Drive, Old Pacific Hwy. S,
Carrolls Cowlitz Old Pacific Hwy. S, Old Hwy. 99 S
Kalama Cowlitz Old Pacific Hwy. S, W. Kalama River Rd., Meeker Dr., S 1st St., Old Pacific Hwy. S, Interstate 5 (from exit 27 to exit 22)
Woodland Cowlitz Old Pacific Hwy., Goerig St., Lewis River Rd., E CC St., NW Pacific Hwy.,
La Center Clark NW Pacific Hwy., NW Lacenter Rd., NE Timmen Road
Vancouver Clark NE 10th Ave., NE 179th St., NE 15th Ave., NE Union Road, NE 20th Avenue, Hwy. 99 NE, NE 117th Street, Hazel Dell Avenue, Main Street, Interstate 5 (exits 1A/1B)

History[edit]

An extensive section of this highway (over 600 miles), from approximately Stockton, California to Vancouver, Washington, follows very closely the track of the Siskiyou Trail. The Siskiyou Trail was based on an ancient network of Native American Indian footpaths connecting the Pacific Northwest with California's Central Valley. By the 1820s, trappers from the Hudson's Bay Company were the first non-Native Americans to use the route of U.S. Highway 99 to move between today's Washington state and California. During the second half of the 19th Century, mule train trails, stagecoach roads, and the path of the Central Pacific railroad (later the Southern Pacific railroad) also followed the route of the Siskiyou Trail. By the early 20th Century, pioneering automobile roads were built along the Siskiyou Trail, including most notably the Pacific Highway. The Pacific Highway ran from British Columbia to San Diego, California and is the immediate predecessor of much of U.S. Highway 99. The highway was continuous pavement by the middle 1930s.

Decommissioning[edit]

By 1968, US 99 was completely decommissioned with the completion of I-5 in Washington and California, but the highway's phasing out actually began July 1, 1964 thanks to the passage of Collier Senate Bill No. 64 on September 20, 1963. The bill launched a major program designed to greatly simplify California's increasingly complicated highway numbering system and eliminate concurrent postings like the aforementioned 60/70/99. The highways that replaced it are:

  • I-10, replacing US 60 and US 70 between Indio and Los Angeles as well.
  • I-5 from north of downtown all the way to its modern-day split in Wheeler Ridge before 99's final decommissioning in 1968.

In 1972, the AASHO gave permission to the Oregon Highway Commission to retire US 99W, US 99E and US 99 from the national system. The final segments of US 99 were then decommissioned and re-organized into OR 99W, OR 99E and OR 99.[2]

State Highway 99[edit]

All three states have replaced some portions of US 99 with state highways of the same number:

US 99 Sign in Downtown Seattle
Historic US 99 in California
  • Oregon: Most of former US 99 in Oregon now signed as Oregon Route 99 (OR 99). The route still provides surface-level access to many southern Oregon towns served by I-5. It also provides access to many towns in the Willamette Valley. Between Junction City and Portland, the highway splits into eastern and western routes known as OR 99E and OR 99W, respectively. For significant stretches, OR 99 shares an alignment with I-5. Officially, the highway is signed with both route numbers when this occurs; however, in practice, this is often not the case as the OR 99 designation is dropped in favor of I-5. One notable exception is a stretch of OR 99E that runs between Albany and Salem, where OR 99E is cosigned along the highway.
  • California: The 424-mile (682 km) stretch between Wheeler Ridge and Red Bluff is signed as State Route 99 which makes it California's second-longest state highway behind SR 1. However, the newly enacted Historic U.S. Route 99 extends from Indio starting from Interstate 10 in the Coachella Valley all the way down the Imperial Valley to Calexico on the US-Mexican border with Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico.

Major intersections[edit]

California[edit]

Oregon[edit]

Washington[edit]

Bannered route[edit]

US Route 99W (Oregon)[edit]

U.S. Route 99W
Location: Junction City-Portland
Existed: [when?]–1972
Main article: Oregon Route 99W

US 99W in Oregon ran from Junction City, where in diverged from highway 99E, to Portland. The US designation was redesignated as Oregon Route 99W in 1972. In 1994, Oregon 99W was truncated to Interstate 5 in Tigard at Exit 294. As such, highways 99W and 99E no longer converge.

US Route 99E (Oregon)[edit]

U.S. Route 99E
Location: Junction CityPortland
Existed: [when?]–1972
Main article: Oregon Route 99E

US 99E in Oregon ran from Junction City, where it diverged from highway 99W, to Portland, but using a different route than highway 99W. A segment between Albany and Salem is cosigned with Interstate 5. Like its western counterpart, US 99E was changed to state highway 99E in 1972. Its current northern terminus is at Interstate 5 in Delta Park near the Portland Expo Center at Exit 307.

US Route 99 Alternate (Washington)[edit]


U.S. Route 99 Alternate
Location: Bellingham
Existed: 1931–1964

U.S. Route 99 Alternate
Location: BellinghamCanadian border
Existed: 1926–1964

Two routes in Washington were designated US Route 99 Alternate, at the same time and in both passing through Bellingham.

In 1931, the current Lake Samish route of US 99 was constructed (which is similar to the route of today's Interstate 5), and US 99 was moved to this new road. As a result, the old road, Chuckanut drive, was designated as US 99 Alternate. Today this route is Washington State Route 11.[citation needed]

Beginning in 1926, US Route 99 Alternate began in downtown Bellingham and went due north to Lynden and then to Canada along Guide Meridian Road. This highway is today known as Washington State Route 539.[citation needed]

Both of these routes were renumbered 1964 when the state decommissioned all of US Route 99 and scrapped its entire highway system to replace it with a new system.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Livingston, Jill; Maloof, Kathryn Golden (2003). That Ribbon of Highway III: Highway 99 through the Pacific Northwest. Klamath River, CA: Living Gold Press. ISBN 0965137767. 
  2. ^ a b Wiley, Mike. "Pacific Highway #1". Oregon Highways. Self-published. Retrieved March 9, 2013. [unreliable source?]
  3. ^ a b c d Map of US 99 at California/Mexico border (Map). Archived from the original on November 25, 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20101125093309/http://members.cox.net/mkpl2/hist/54mp_des.jpg. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e California State Department of Public Works Highway Division (August 19, 1961). California State Highway Map 1961 (Map). http://www.cosmos-monitor.com/ca/map1961/index.html. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Sanderson, Dale (April 17, 2012). "End of US Highway 101". US Ends.com. Self-published. Retrieved September 11, 2012. [unreliable source?]
  6. ^ a b "State Route 410". Highways Of Washington State. Self-published. Retrieved September 11, 2012. [unreliable source?]
  7. ^ a b Sanderson, Dale (December 8, 2009). "End of US Highway 10". US Ends.com. Self-published. Retrieved September 11, 2012. [unreliable source?]
  8. ^ "Highways of Washington State – US 99 (Trunk)". Retrieved September 2, 2010. 

External links[edit]