California State Route 243
|Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Highway|
SR 243 highlighted in red
|Defined by Streets and Highways Code § 543|
|Maintained by Caltrans|
|Length||29.625 mi (47.677 km)|
|Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Highway|
|South end||SR 74 in Mountain Center|
|North end||I-10 in Banning|
State Route 243 (SR 243), or the Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Highway, is a 30-mile (50 kilometer) two-lane state highway in the U.S. state of California that runs from Banning (in the north) to Idyllwild (in the south) in Riverside County. The highway is a connector between Interstate 10 (I-10) and SR 74. Along its route, it provides access to the San Bernardino National Forest. A road from Banning to Idyllwild was planned around the turn of the twentieth century, and was open by 1910. The road was added to the state highway system in 1970.
SR 243 begins at SR 74 in the San Jacinto Wilderness near Mountain Center, Riverside County as Idyllwild Road. The highway traverses north along a winding road through the community of Idyllwild. SR 243 makes a left turn at the intersection with Circle Drive and continues through Pine Cove. The road continues through the forest past Mount San Jacinto State Park through Twin Pines and the Morongo Indian Reservation before making a few switchbacks and descending en route to the city of Banning as the Banning Idyllwild Panoramic Highway. The highway continues as San Gorgonio Avenue into the city before making a left onto Lincoln Street and a right onto 8th Street and terminating at a diamond interchange with I-10.
SR 243 is part of the National Highway System, a network of highways that are considered essential to the country's economy, defense, and mobility by the Federal Highway Administration. SR 243 is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System, and is officially designated as a scenic highway by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), meaning that it is a substantial section of highway passing through a "memorable landscape" with no "visual intrusions", where the potential designation has gained popular favor with the community. In 2007, it was named the Esperanza Firefighters Memorial Highway in honor of five firefighters who died while fighting the Esperanza Fire in October 2006. In 2013, SR 243 had an annual average daily traffic (AADT) of 1,650 between Marion Ridge Drive in Idyllwild and San Gorgonio Avenue in Banning, and 6,500 at the northern terminus in Banning, the latter of which was the highest AADT for the highway.
A road from Banning to Idyllwild was under construction in 1904, and 12 miles (19 km) of the road was open by August, with an additional six miles (9.7 km) of the road planned. Another four miles (6.4 km) were commissioned in 1908. The oiled road was completed by September 1910, and provided a view of Lake Elsinore and the Colorado Desert, and it was expected to help with transporting lumber and stopping fires; because of this, the federal government provided $2,000 for the construction. The road became a part of the forest highway system in 1927.
A new "high-gear" road from Banning to Idyllwild was under way by 1935, and two years later, the Los Angeles Times considered the road to be "high-gear". Efforts to pave the road were under way in 1950. The road from Banning through Idyllwild to SR 74 was known as County Route R1 (CR R1) by 1966. By 1969, plans were in place to add the Banning to Idyllwild to Mountain Center road as a state highway; earlier, State Senator Nelson Dilworth proposed legislation to require the road to be added to the state highway system if SR 195 was removed, as the two were of roughly the same length, but the latter remained in the system. SR 243 was added to the state highway system in 1970. The Division of Highways suggested deleting the highway in 1971. In 1998, Caltrans had no plans to improve the route through 2015.
On February 14, 2019, heavy rain caused severe damage to the highway, causing it to close for several months.
Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured on the road as it was when the route was established, based on the alignment that existed at the time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. R reflects a realignment in the route since then, M indicates a second realignment, L refers an overlap due to a correction or change, and T indicates postmiles classified as temporary (for a full list of prefixes, see the list of postmile definitions). Segments that remain unconstructed or have been relinquished to local control may be omitted. The entire route is in Riverside County.
|Mountain Center||0.00||SR 74 – Lake Hemet, Palm Desert, Hemet||South end of SR 243|
|Idyllwild||3.88||South Circle Drive|
|4.45||North Circle Drive|
|Banning||29.66||I-10 – Los Angeles, Indio||Interchange; north end of SR 243; I-10 exit 100|
|29.66||8th Street||Continuation beyond I-10|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
- California Department of Transportation. "State Truck Route List". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (XLS file) on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
- Riverside County Street Atlas (Map). Thomas Brothers. 2008. pp. 389, 722, 782, 814, 844.
- California Atlas and Gazetteer (Map). DeLorme. 2011. pp. 142–143.
- Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: California (South) (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
- Natzke, Stefan; Neathery, Mike & Adderly, Kevin (June 20, 2012). "What is the National Highway System?". National Highway System. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- "Article 2.5 of Chapter 2 of Division 1 of the California Streets & Highways Code". California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
- California Department of Transportation (September 7, 2011). "Officially Designated State Scenic Highways and Historic Parkways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation.
- California Department of Transportation (2012). Scenic Highway Guidelines (PDF). Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. p. 5. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
- California Department of Transportation; California State Transportation Agency (January 2015). 2014 Named Freeways, Highways, Structures and Other Appurtenances in California. Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. pp. 75, 217. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 30, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
- California Department of Transportation (2013). "All Traffic Volumes on CSHS". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation.
- Staff (August 29, 1904). "Riverside.: Scenic Road to Idyllwild". Los Angeles Times. p. 16.
- Staff (July 15, 1908). "Banning". Los Angeles Times. p. II9.
- Staff (September 11, 1910). "Scenic Road is Useful Also". Los Angeles Times. p. II5.
- Staff (May 17, 1927). "Idyllwild Road is Now Part of National System". Los Angeles Times. p. 12.
- Staff (January 27, 1935). "San Jacinto Season Open". Los Angeles Times. p. F2.
- Rogers, Lynn (June 13, 1937). "Mt. San Jacinto State Park to be Dedicated Next Saturday". Los Angeles Times. p. F1.
- Staff (July 14, 1950). "Banning-Idyllwild Road Paving Starts Monday". Los Angeles Times. p. 14.
- California (Map). California Division of Highways. 1966.
- "Road in San Jacinto Mts. May Become State Highway". San Bernardino County Sun. July 13, 1969. p. 18. Retrieved June 20, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- California State Assembly. "An act to amend Sections 253.1, 253.4, 253.7, 263.1, 333, 362, 365, 387, 404, 445, 462, 530, 547, 555, and 608 of, to add Sections 465, 543, 570, 571, 581, 583, 584, and 585 to, and to repeal Section 568..." 1970 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 1473.
- Long, Ken (September 17, 1971). "State Officials Unveil Their Proposal For Classifying Roads By Function". San Bernardino County Sun. p. 16. Retrieved June 20, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Staff (March 1998). "Route Concept Report – State Route 243" (PDF). California Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- Alexa Díaz (June 29, 2019). "Damaged by storms, a major highway to Idyllwild is closed for the summer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
- California Department of Transportation (April 2018). "Log of Bridges on State Highways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation.
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