In June 1963, State 126 was proposed to be built as a freeway on a new alignment through the Santa Clarita Valley. Starting from its junction with I-5 at Castaic Junction, it would have headed east, following current Newhall Ranch Road to just east of Bouquet Canyon Road. From there, it would have diverged from the current Newhall Ranch Road alignment, closer to the river. The freeway would have crossed the Santa Clara River near Ruether Ave, where it would have followed the south bank of the river until near Whites Canyon Road. East of Whites Canyon Road, it would have ran a bit north of present Via Princessa meeting SR-14 at the Sierra Highway ramps. Interchanges would have been constructed at McBean Parkway, Bouquet Canyon Road, Soledad Canyon Road, and Sierra Highway.
This proposal was still active when this segment of the Antelope Valley Freeway was built in 1972. As a result, some of the ramps, bridges, and grading was done as a part of the freeway construction. Those bridges serve as the Sierra Highway ramps today. The Santa Paula Freeway (also identified as the Santa Clara River Freeway), would not come to fruition. Initially, the project was put on hold due to budget cuts in the mid 1970’s In 1980, Caltrans formally abandoned the proposal and rescinded the route adoption.
It would not be until the early 1990’s that Caltrans would bring the proposal up again. This time, however, the plans were thwarted by local opposition. That opposition mostly came from two issues. The first was environmental as the freeway routing then proposed would have destroyed some of the wetlands that were remaining at that time. The second, however, seemed quite opposite of the first. Developers, whose lands the freeway would have crossed, were not in favor of the freeway as it would have taken some of the lands they proposed to build houses on. By 1993, the project was finally cancelled. The routing of the proposed freeway, however, still got some use. A new roadway, locally known as the “Cross Valley Connector”, consisting of portions of Newhall Ranch Road and Golden Valley Road, were built in lieu of the freeway. This “connector” did vary in many ways from the original proposal. First, it wasn’t a freeway, nor was it limited access. It also took a vastly different alignment at the halfway point in the valley, using a new alignment to connect with another existing interchange with SR-14 at Golden Valley Road.
Despite the postponement and eventual cancellation of the 126 freeway, quite a bit was done to prepare the interchange with SR-14. Two ramps were constructed, one from SR-14 Northbound to Sierra Highway and another from Sierra Highway to SR-14 Southbound. Grading for the mainline of the freeway as well as the 126 East to 14 North and 14 South to 126 West ramps was also done. Only a portion of the missing ramps was not graded, mostly the segments at SR-14. Portions of the offramps from SR-14 were also paved, which today are partly used by CHP for a mobile truck scale site. Signs were also installed for the interchange, with the 126 Freeway portions covered over with other messages.
In addition to the freeway interchange, another bridge was also constructed here for future development. The Cedar Valley Way Overcrossing (53-2171), was from 1972 to 2006, a “bridge to nowhere”. The bridge remained closed until that future development finally came. However, the bridge is still not fully opened. Currently, the bridge is only open to southbound traffic, most likely due to opposition by the residents on the north side of the bridge. The bridge does serve as a good view point for the 126 freeway interchange, as quite a bit of the ramps and grading can be seen.
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