US Highway 6, now known as Sierra Highway, crossed the Santa Clara River near Solemint, California. The bridge it originally used, constructed in 1938, is planned to be replaced in the near future. This bridge is one of the oldest remaining in the Santa Clarita area and is the longest span on former US 6 in California. The bridge has remained almost intact from its original construction. The only changes have been minor to the bridge itself. The highway, however, has changed quite a bit. In 1968, Sierra Highway, then State Route 14, was widened to four lanes. A second bridge for northbound traffic was added, with the original bridge being used for southbound traffic.
Presently, Sierra Highway is six lanes wide at the river crossing. As the bridges were built with a four-lane highway in mind, only a narrow shoulder along both directions exists. This condition is one of the reasons the bridges across the Santa Clara River are being replaced.
In March of 2017, I took a trip to inspect in more detail the bridge and the surrounding area. It was nice to see the bridge again, as it brought back a lot of memories. I used to live near the bridge and crossed it almost daily. It will be sad to see it go as it is one of the last remaining pieces of the old highway. So, please, check it out yourself while you still can. I’m not quite sure when the construction will begin, it may have already.
Before the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension was opened, I was contacted by Nobuho Nagasawa. She was commissioned to create the artwork for the 1st St and Soto St Metro Gold Line station. She was looking for maps of the area surrounding the 1st / Soto station and found my website on the East Los Angeles Interchange. After searching my collection, I did find two maps that covered that area. The Los Angeles and Alhambra 6′ map sheets from the late 1920’s covered the area she needed with the right resolution. They were then scanned in at high resolution and sent along to her for use. As they were USGS maps, they were within the public domain and easy to transfer.
As I had obtained the maps from a geologist that had marked them up, cleaning them up prior to scanning was essential. I got most of the marks off, but some still remained. It seems they were just enough to “watermark” the maps as indeed from my collection. While not intentional, it did help me identify the maps when I saw them in a video on the opening of the line. In December 2009, I was finally able to see the station in person. The sheer size of the artwork created from these maps was astounding. A portion of a 6′ USGS quad sheet had been transformed into a 30′ x 60′ map going from one side of the station to the other.
I wish to thank Nobuho Nagasawa for allowing me the privilege of contributing to the Los Angeles Metro Rail system. It gives me great pleasure to know that something I have in my collection is seeing use in a way I never expected.