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U.S. Route 99 was the main north-south highway on the West Coast of the United States until 1964, running from Calexico, Californiamarker, on the U.S.-Mexico border to Blaine, Washingtonmarker, on the U.S.-Canada border. It was a route of the United States Numbered Highways, assigned in 1926 and existing until it was replaced for the most part by Interstate 5. Known also as the "Golden State Highway", "The Main Street of California" and "US 66 turned the opposite way", US 99 was an important route in Californiamarker throughout much of the 1930s as a route for Dust Bowl immigrant farm workers to traverse the state. Large portions are now California's State Route 99, Oregon Route 99, and Washington's State Route 99. The highway connected to British Columbia Highway 99 at the Canadian border.

Route description


Mexico to Los Angeles

The highway started at the border with Baja Californiamarker in Calexico, Californiamarker. It then continued north along the western shore of the Salton Seamarker. The stretch is now known as State Route 86. Highway 99 continued along present-day State Route 111 through Coachellamarker to its intersection at Dillon Road with another major US route signed as both US 60 and US 70.

Now overlapped as US 60/70/99, the highway continued north through Indiomarker and turned west through the San Gorgonio Passmarker toward Los Angelesmarker paralleling the route of modern Interstate 10. In Beaumontmarker, Highway 60 split off on its own westward trek to Los Angeles. The highway through Beaumont (known as Ramsey Street) was bypassed by the new superhighway version of routes 60/70/99 that would later wear Interstate 10 shields. The edges of the old US 60 shield at the replacement interchange's overhead sign are clearly visible today underneath the State Route 60 shield that covers it up.

US 70 ended in downtown LA while US 99 turned north once again more or less following the route of today's Interstate 5 (San Fernando Road in the San Fernando Valleymarker before the construction of the 5 Freeway), up and over Grapevine Hillmarker in the Tehachapi Mountains to the San Joaquin Valleymarker. Highway 99's original alignment over the hill was known in its earliest days as the Ridge Route, the first highway directly linking the Los Angeles Basin to the San Joaquin Valley. Built in 1915, the alignment between Castaicmarker and State Route 138 in Gormanmarker is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This section was bypassed in 1933 by the three-lane "Alternate Ridge Route" (now at the bottom of Pyramid Lakemarker).

From the southern tip of the San Joaquin Valley at the foot of the Grapevine, US 99 then continued to Sacramentomarker where it split into two highways, 99E and 99W. The two highways rejoined in Red Bluffmarker and continued once again as US 99 through Oregonmarker, Washingtonmarker and to the border with British Columbiamarker, becoming Highway 99.

Los Angeles

When it was first designated in late 1926, US 99 ran with U.S. Route 66 from San Bernardinomarker via Pasadenamarker to Los Angelesmarker, turning north there to San Fernandomarker. The route was signed in 1928. This alignment remained through 1933, but by 1942 it had moved to its own alignment (concurrent with U.S. Route 70, as well as U.S. Route 60 west of Pomonamarker) from San Bernardino to Los Angeles. This alignment used Garvey Avenue from Pomona, turning onto Ramona Boulevard in Alhambramarker to reach Macy Street (now Cesar E. Chavez Avenue) near downtown Los Angeles. It turned north at Figueroa Street, running through the Figueroa Street Tunnelsmarker and turning off at Avenue 26 to reach San Fernando Road. When the San Bernardino Freeway, Santa Ana Freeway and Pasadena Freeway were completed, it was routed onto them, continuing to exit at Avenue 26. In 1962, with the completion of the Golden State Freeway northeast of downtown, US 99 was moved onto it, bypassing the Santa Ana Freeway, Four Level Interchangemarker and Figueroa Street Tunnels.

Los Angeles to Oregon

From Los Angeles, US 99 followed San Fernando Road through Glendalemarker and Burbankmarker to Sylmar. From 1937 to 1964 it shared this routing with U.S. Route 6. It headed up over the "Grapevine" into the San Joaquin Valleymarker. Just north of the route's entry to the valley, Interstate 5 splits off from the route of US 99, and US 99 continued on the current route of State Route 99, to Bakersfieldmarker, Fresnomarker, and Sacramentomarker. Many older segments of the highway between the "Grapevine" and Sacramento still exist as local streets, many of them having "Golden State" in their names (such as Golden State Ave, Golden State Blvd, Golden State Hwy, etc.).

North of Sacramento, the route was divided into US 99W and US 99E. US 99W co-routed with US 40 west to Davis, in city as Olive Drive. The route continued as Richards Boulevard, 1st Street, B Street, and Russell Boulevard before turning north on what is now State Route 113 into Woodland to meet and parallel Interstate 5 near the town of Yolo. From there, the route parallels the current I-5, entering Corning from the South as Old Corning road, turning East onto Solano Street before turning North again on 3rd street continuing to Red Bluff, where it became Main Street. All of the old inter-town original roadway still exists, signed as 99W, CR99 or CR99W.

From Sacramento, US 99E followed Interstate 80 (first the current business route, then the actual route) to Rosevillemarker. From Roseville it headed north along State Route 65 to Olivehurstmarker, from where it followed State Route 70 to Marysvillemarker. From Marysville it followed State Route 20 across the Feather River to Yuba Citymarker. From Yuba City it followed the current State Route 99 north to Red Bluff, where it rejoined 99W at the intersection of Main Street and Antelope Blvd.

From Red Bluff, US 99 continued north along the same route as Interstate 5, except that it went through Reddingmarker along present State Route 273, and also followed State Route 265 in Weed and State Route 263 from Yrekamarker to near Black Mountain.


The former route of U.S. Route 99 in Oregon mostly follows routes currently signed as Oregon Route 99, 99E, and 99W. The primary exception is from the California-Oregon state border north to Ashland, Oregonmarker, where U.S. 99 is currently named Old Highway 99 S from the state border to exit 6 of Interstate 5. The former route is coterminous with Interstate 5 from exit 6 to the junction of Oregon Route 99 in Ashland.


Unlike California and Oregon, much of the former route of U.S. Highway 99 in Washington exists as local roads and regular city streets; only the route from Fife, Washingtonmarker to Everett, Washingtonmarker still retains the official "99" moniker (as State Route 99). The following is a simplified list of Washington counties and cities that portions of the old route traverse, along with their local names.

Former U.S. Highway 99 Route in Washington (South to North)
Road or Street Name Nearest City County
Interstate 5 (to exit 3) Vancouver Clark
Main Street Vancouver Clark
Hazel Dell Avenue Vancouver Clark
NE 117th Street Vancouver Clark
Hwy. 99 NE Vancouver Clark
NE 20th Avenue Vancouver Clark
NE Union Road Vancouver Clark
NE 10th Avenue Vancouver Clark
NE Timmen Road Vancouver Clark
NW Pacific Hwy. La Center Clark
Old Pacific Hwy. Woodland Cowlitz
Interstate 5 (from exit 22 to exit 27) Kalama Cowlitz
Old Pacific Hwy. S Kalama Cowlitz
Kelso Drive (exit 36) Kelso Cowlitz
Pacific Avenue Kelso Cowlitz
Pleasant Hill Road Kelso, Castle Rock Cowlitz
Huntington Avenue S (Business Loop 5) Castle Rock Cowlitz
Old Pacific Hwy. N Castle Rock Cowlitz
Barnes Drive Castle Rock, Toledo Cowlitz, Lewis
State Route 505 Toledo Lewis
Jackson Highway Toledo, Chehalis Lewis
Market Blvd. Chehalis Lewis
National Avenue Chehalis Lewis
Kresky Road (N) / National Avenue (S) Chehalis Lewis
Kresky Avenue (N) / S. Gold Street (S) Centralia Lewis
Tower Avenue (N) / S. Pearl Street (S) Centralia Lewis
Main Street Centralia Lewis
Harrison Avenue Centralia Lewis
Old Hwy. 99 SW and SE Grand Mound, Tenino Thurston
6th Avenue W Tenino Thurston
S. Wichman Street Tenino Thurston
Sussex Avenue Tenino Thurston
Old Hwy. 99 N Tenino, Tumwater Thurston
Capitol Blvd. Tumwater Thurston
Capitol Way Olympia Thurston
4th Avenue Olympia Thurston
Pacific Avenue, Old Pacific Hwy. SE Olympia, Lacey Thurston
Martin Way (Bypass of Pacific Ave. Olympia, Lacey, Nisqually Thurston
Interstate 5 (exit 114 to exit 124) DuPont Pierce
Pacific Hwy. SW Lakewood Pierce
South Tacoma Way Lakewood, Tacoma Pierce
E. 26th St. Tacoma Pierce
E. G St. Tacoma Pierce
Puyallup Avenue Tacoma Pierce
Pacific Hwy. E Fife Pierce
State Route 99 Fife Pierce
Pacific Hwy S/International Blvd./Tukwilia International Blvd./Aurora Ave. N/SR 99/others Federal Way, SeaTac, Tukwila, White Center, Seattle, Shoreline King
SR 99 Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Everett Snohomish
Broadway Everett Snohomish
Everett Avenue Everett Snohomish
20th Street SE Everett Snohomish
Sunnyside Blvd. Everett, Marysville Snohomish
State Avenue Marysville Snohomish
Smokey Point Boulevard Arlington Snohomish
State Route 530 Arlington Snohomish
Pioneer Highway E Arlington, Stanwood Snohomish
Old 99 N Stanwood Snohomish
Pioneer Highway E Conway Skagit
Conway Frontage Road Conway Skagit
Old Highway 99 S. Road Mount Vernon Skagit
Riverside Drive Mount Vernon Skagit
S. Burlington Blvd. Burlington Skagit
Lake Samish Alger Whatcom
Samish Way Bellingham Whatcom
Maple St. Bellingham Whatcom
Ellis St. Bellingham Whatcom
E. Holly Street Bellingham Whatcom
Prospect Avenue Bellingham Whatcom
DuPont Avenue Bellingham Whatcom
Elm Avenue Bellingham Whatcom
Northwest Avenue Bellingham Whatcom
W. Bakerview Road Bellingham Whatcom
Pacific Hwy. Bellingham, Ferndale Whatcom
Main Street Ferndale Whatcom
Riverside Drive Ferndale Whatcom
Barrett Road Ferndale Whatcom
Vista Road Ferndale Whatcom
Bay Road Ferndale Whatcom
Blaine Road Birch Bay, Blaine Whatcom
Peace Portal Drive Blaine Whatcom
D Street Blaine Whatcom
12th Street Blaine Whatcom


An extensive section of this highway (over 600 miles), from approximately Stockton, Californiamarker to Vancouver, Washingtonmarker, follows very closely the track of the Siskiyou Trail. The Siskiyou Trail was based on an ancient network of Native American footpaths connecting the Pacific Northwest with California's Central Valleymarker. By the 1820s, trappers from the Hudson's Bay Company were the first non-Native Americans to use the route of U.S. Highway 99 to move between today's Washington state and California. During the second half of the 19th Century, mule train trails, stagecoach roads, and the path of the Central Pacific railroad (later the Southern Pacific railroad) also followed the route of the Siskiyou Trail. By the early 20th Century, pioneering automobile roads were built along the Siskiyou Trail, including most notably the Pacific Highway. The Pacific Highway ran from British Columbiamarker to San Diego, Californiamarker and is the immediate predecessor of much of U.S. Highway 99.


By 1968, US 99 was completely decommissioned with the completion of I-5, but the highway's phasing out actually began July 1, 1964 thanks to the passage of Collier Senate Bill No. 64 on September 20, 1963. The bill launched a major program designed to greatly simplify California's increasingly complicated highway numbering system and eliminate concurrent postings like the aforementioned 60/70/99. The highways that replaced it are:

  • I-10, replacing US 60 and US 70 between Indio and Los Angeles as well.

  • I-5 from north of downtown all the way to its modern-day split in Wheeler Ridgemarker before 99's final decommissioning in 1968.

State Highway 99

All three states have replaced some portions of US 99 with state highways of the same number:

  • Washingtonmarker: 50 miles (80 km) of US 99, from Fifemarker to Everettmarker, is now State Route 99. It is mostly a surface-level highway with the exception of the Alaskan Way Viaductmarker through downtown Seattlemarker.
  • Oregonmarker: Most of former US 99 in Oregon now signed as Oregon Route 99 (OR-99). The route still provides surface-level access to many southern Oregon towns served by I-5. It also provides access to many towns in the Willamette Valley. Between Junction Citymarker and Portlandmarker, the highway splits into eastern and western routes known as OR-99E and OR-99W, respectively. For significant stretches, OR-99 shares an alignment with I-5. Officially, the highway is signed with both route numbers when this occurs; however, in practice, this is often not the case as the OR-99 designation is dropped in favor of I-5. One notable exception is a stretch of OR-99E that runs between Albanymarker and Salemmarker, where OR-99E is cosigned along the highway.
  • Californiamarker: The 424 mile (683 km) stretch between Wheeler Ridge and Red Bluff is signed as State Route 99 which makes it California's second-longest state highway behind SR 1. However, the newly enacted Historic U.S. Route 99 extends from Indiomarker starting from Interstate 10 in the Coachella Valley all the way down the Imperial Valleymarker to Calexicomarker on the US-Mexican border with Mexicali, Baja Californiamarker, Mexicomarker.

See also

Related routes

External links


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