Fixing problems in San Diego – And how you can help

In the City of San Diego, there are many roadways with problems. Some are badly cracked, crumbling, filled with potholes, and worse. The City has been working toward repaving a lot of roads over the past couple years, which has helped greatly. However, more is needed. In the case of smaller problems, you can contact the City online and report issues. I’ve done this for many locations and have had good results. The latest was to help correct a striping problem on Park Blvd. Bike lanes were added on Park Blvd between Morley Field Drive and Cypress Ave. To do so, the median of the roadway had to be reduced. This left older, albeit somewhat faded, striping left behind. This striping tended to confuse motorists who would then either drive in the bike lane or really close to it, when they had a lot more lane left. Having had some problems here myself with this issue, I contacted the City and they fixed it. I strongly encourage anyone to make these requests and help make our city a better place to live.

Before the striping was fixed. You can still see the old setup.

Before the striping was fixed. You can still see the old setup.

Southbound from Cypress Ave. Note how the old striping is far to the right from the new stripe.

Southbound from Cypress Ave. Note how the old striping is far to the right from the new stripe.

Northbound toward Cypress Ave. The old striping was painted over in black.

Northbound toward Cypress Ave. The old striping was painted over in black.

Poppies in bloom!

On a trip to Grapevine Canyon today, I saw quite a few poppies in bloom. Grapevine Canyon and the area around the California Poppy Reserve were quite spectacular, considering the dry winter. The recent rains, which have been well timed, seemed to have made the drought a little prettier to look at.

Deadman's Curve and Poppies

Deadman’s Curve and Poppies

Poppies high on the canyon walls in Grapevine Canyon.

Poppies high on the canyon walls in Grapevine Canyon.

Brawley Bypass

A new bypass highway was completed a couple years ago by Caltrans around Brawley. Signed as State 78 and State 111, it forms a northeast loop around town. It is an expressway, not a freeway. This distinction makes for some unusual signage where there is an interchange with State 111.

At the bypass, State 111 turns. Signage is a bit confusing with Old Highway 111 signed at the same exit as current Highway 111.

At the bypass, State 111 turns. Signage is a bit confusing with Old Highway 111 signed at the same exit as current Highway 111.

Heading south, only State 111 is signed, though State 78 also runs here.

Heading south, only State 111 is signed, though State 78 also runs here.

Expressway signage for 78

Expressway signage for 78

Road Building in San Gabriel Canyon

In the 1930′s, Los Angeles County began construction of an additional roadway over the San Gabriel Mountains via the East Fork of the San Gabriel River. About half of the roadway, complete with with some larger bridges and a tunnel, was constructed. Work had progressed as far as “The Narrows” by 1938. However, the March 2-3, 1938 storms caused much of the roadway to be washed out. The project was then abandoned, leaving a large arch bridge stranded many miles upriver. The tunnel still exists as well, just north of the “Bridge to Nowhere”, though it has been sealed at both ends.

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1936 arch bridge – The Bridge to Nowhere

1936 stamp on the arch bridge.

1936 stamp on the arch bridge.

Looking over the arch bridge to the tunnel site.

Looking over the arch bridge to the tunnel site.

Abandoned and partly destroyed bridge over the river.

Abandoned and partly destroyed bridge over the river.

Bridge over Cattle Canyon on the East Fork Road. This is similar to what the removed bridges north of here would have looked like.

Bridge over Cattle Canyon on the East Fork Road. This is similar to what the removed bridges north of here would have looked like.

In the 1950′s,  a new road building project commenced in the canyon. This new alignment would stay high above the canyon floor until it got nearer to the “Bridge to Nowhere”, allowing that earlier work to come to some use. Progress on this roadway was slow, mostly due to poor funding. Convict labor was used for most of the project, similar to many other road building efforts at the time in Los Angeles County. Two tunnels were constructed as well. These still exist and are mostly intact. This project too was cancelled, leaving another large scar in the canyon. This road is presently known as Shoemaker Canyon Road.

Stone railing along Shoemaker Canyon Road.

Stone railing along Shoemaker Canyon Road.

End of the pavement and open section of Shoemaker Canyon Road.

End of the pavement and open section of Shoemaker Canyon Road.

Partly graded roadway and tunnel along the "Road to Nowhere".

Partly graded roadway and tunnel along the “Road to Nowhere”.

Grading along the "Road to Nowhere".

Grading along the “Road to Nowhere”.

Northern tunnel from 1964.

Northern tunnel from 1964.

Today, the canyon is protected from future development through the Sheep Mountain Wilderness Area. Even without this protection, the geology of the canyon makes for a very expensive project. Maintenance would also be costly, as seen with State 39. In time, all these structures and cuts will wash away, leaving the canyon with only bits of concrete and asphalt to show what was once here.

Remnants of paving in the canyon.

Remnants of paving in the canyon.

Nice section of intact wooden railing.

Following old US 91 near Corona

I took a trip recently to the Corona area to check out some of the old alignments of US 91. I had been there before, but it has been a long time. Starting from the Green River exit off of the 91 Freeway, I headed east along the south side of the freeway. Here, the roadways named Green River Road and Palisades Drive cover the pre-freeway alignment of US 91. This section is also a portion of the 1939 Prado Dam Relocation. This realignment took the highway out of the riverbed to the north and pushed it closer to the hills. A significant portion remains today relatively intact.

Near the Green River Road interchange, an abandoned portion of the roadbed is revealed by a 1939 culvert. The pavement has long since been removed. A portion of the old median, complete with curb divots, remains to the east. The best portion, however, is on Palisades Drive. This section has a fairly continuous old median, old bridges, wooden railing, and even a mile marker from Route 91. This whole section was bypassed in the early 1970’s along with a change to the 91 / 71 interchange.

Abandoned section of US 91 near Green River Road.

Abandoned section of US 91 near Green River Road.

1939 culvert on the abandoned section.

1939 culvert on the abandoned section.

Old raised median on Green River Road.

Old raised median on Green River Road.

Section of Palisades Drive, restriped to two lanes from four. Old raised median and wooden railing are visible here.

Section of Palisades Drive, restriped to two lanes from four. Old raised median and wooden railing are visible here.

Nice section of intact wooden railing.

Nice section of intact wooden railing.

Old Route 91 milemarker.

Old Route 91 milemarker. Reads “091, RIV, mileage illegible”

Former onramp from SB State 71 to WB US 91.

Former onramp from SB State 71 to WB US 91.

1939 bridge and railing near the eastern end.

1939 bridge and railing near the eastern end.

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