On September 6, 2016, I finally got a chance to survey the damage to the roadways in Cajon Pass that were involved in the Blue Cut Fire. Portions of the area are still closed, specifically the area north of Cajon Junction, so I was unable to access the Alray UP or the abandoned expressway sections in that area.
I was, however, able to inspect State 138 east of I-15 and all of old US 66 / 91 / 395 south of Cajon Junction. I chose not to investigate State 138 west of I-15 as there was a lot of heavy construction in progress for a four-lane widening project.
I started my journey by taking the “new” Cajon Blvd alignment that bypasses Devore Junction (I-15 and I-215). Caltrans has recently completed reconstruction of this interchange and as part of that reconstruction, they have partly rebuilt Cajon Blvd through here. While much of it is a new alignment, it does follow the original alignment (pre-1937). As a result, I was able to get some nice photos of part of that alignment.
The burn area itself became very apparent after Kenwood Road. The fire in this area burned as far as Keenbrook, damaging many structures in that area. A few things didn’t get burned though. One, a lone sign that says “EAT” along with its accompanying structure, remained intact. At Blue Cut, the source of the fire, I was rather amazed at what didn’t burn. Most of the cottonwood and oak trees survived untouched as well as most of the guardrail in the median of the expressway.
North of Blue Cut, the burn area stops mostly at the old highway, but not east of it. The wooden railing is still intact at Debris Cone Creek. Some structures were damaged near Cajon Junction, such as the Chevron gas station and the McDonalds restaurant.
After Cajon Junction, I followed State 138 east toward Summit. The burn area covered the entire highway from Cajon Junction to Summit Valley Road. This section is scheduled to be realigned in the near future as well.
Overall, most of the old highways through the Cajon Pass remained intact. Some guardrail was damaged but most was only lightly burned. How this area will react during the next few major rain storms does remain to be seen. Hopefully, mudslides and debris flows don’t become the order of the day.
All these were taken on July 1, 2016.
While much of the 1934 Garvey “Superhighway”, former US 60 / US 70 / US 99, has been either built over or completely modified, a small portion remains virtually untouched. In Alhambra, CA, there is a small section of original concrete paving still intact. This section, called Garvey Ave, runs from Ramona Rd to Casuda Canyon Rd.
At Fremont Ave and Monterey Pass Rd, there are also some grade separations from 1934 that are still intact. These weren’t photographed but videos were made. When I get my video software working again, I will post those.
Back when this site was just covering Santa Clarita, it had a section called Civic Information. I plan to bring this back, with a difference. Instead of covering just that city, all incorporated cities in Southern California will be covered. City websites, contact information, and more will be posted. I feel it is important to be able to connect with your local government. We all want something better, why not do so by getting involved ourselves and working towards that goal together?
As the Sand Fire has grown quite substantially in the past few days, it has become more difficult to track where it is going. I’ve found a couple of good links for up-to-date information on this fire. Map below courtesy of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
I’m trying out a new idea for SocalRegion – a web forum. I’m not quite sure where this will go or how well it will be used, but there is no better way than to implement it. I plan to add subsections that mirror each section of the website in the future. Right now, I just have geology and roads. This is “Southern California Regional Rocks and Roads” after all. Right now, access to the forum is through the menu on the left side of the site. Please tell us what you think about the new addition!
California is implementing a pilot program for mileage based taxes, in lieu of the gas tax, to provide monies for roadway maintenance and improvements. I have volunteered for this program. It doesn’t cost anything, which is good. I certainly don’t wish to pay twice for taxes. SB 1077, the bill which implements the study for the “California Road Charge Program“, is simply an experiment. Will this help us in the long run? I guess we shall see. I am apprehensive about it and am not necessarily in favor of it. However, as it is free and a perfect way to gain insight as to its viability, I’m in.
I will report, on occasion, about this program and how it works. It starts July 1. As I only have a motorcycle as motorized transport, it will indeed be an interesting test. I will test different methods of reporting to see how it works. Who knows what the future holds for the gas tax at this point?