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Interstate Shield

Interstate 40

Click here for a key to the symbols used. An explanation of acronyms may be found at the bottom of the page.


Routing Routing

Rte 40 From Route 15 at Barstow to the Arizona state line near Topock, Arizona via Needles.

Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

1964 route adoptionIn 1963, this routing was defined as "Route 15 at Barstow to the Arizona state line near Topock, Arizona via Needles, together with an extension from a point on such Route 40 near Needles easterly by the most direct and practicable route to the Arizona-California line at the Colorado River, including a bridge over and across said river, to be constructed, owned, operated, and maintained jointly with the State of Arizona."

In 1981, Chapter 292 shortened the definition to eliminate the mention of the extension and the bridge.

Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

Post 1963-Routing (I-40)

State Shield Interstate Shield US Highway Shield The specific routing corresponding to this did not exist before 1964 (i.e., the interstate routing). In fact, the Interstate routing was adopted in January and February 1963. An approximate routing is that of the old US 66 (now the National Trails Highway) between Barstow and Needles. That routing was signed as US 66, and was LRN 58, defined in 1919.

66 Colorado BridgeIn 1947, the Department of Highways moved Route 66 to a new alignment and a new bridge across the Colorado River. The movement to the Red Rock Bridge permitted elimination of one of the narrowest and crookedest portions of US 66. The cost to move to the Red Rock Bridge was only $147K, of which $71.5K was spent replacing the rail deck of the bridge, $70.5K was spent widening the old railroad approach, and $5K was spent to connect it to the existing US 66. The opportunity to replace the bridge arose when ATSF obtained approval to build a new RR bridge 500' upstream in 1942. The Red Rock bridge was set to be scrapped for its steel, but the Army was interested in the bridge and analysis showed that the need for steel would be over before the scrapping could occur. Negotiations were reopened, and the bridge was finally donated to the states in 1944. The history of the bridge going back to Civil War days may be found in the July/August 1947 issue of CHPW. Note that an act of Congress in December 1944 was required to confirm that ATSF could transfer the bridge. The old bridge was completed in 1916, and had a load limit of 11 tons. The construction of Parker Dam also served to submerge the steel supports of the old bridge. The new bridge was designed to support 94 ton trains. Note that it appears that the both the old bridge and the Red Rock bridge (or at least their locations) are still in use as of 2013 -- the Red Rock Bridge still appears to be supporting the traffic of I-40 (although it may have been rebuilt -- it still is in the correct location with respect to the RR bridge), and the original 1916 bridge appears to now be supporting a pipeline.

In 1962, the ATSF railroad wanted a new route across the mountains from Barstow to Needles to shave 15 miles off the route through the Bristol Mountains. So in December 1962, the Santa Fe Railway contacted the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), to ask if the job could instead be done with hydrogen bombs. This was in support of the AEC's plan for peaceful use of nuclear explosions. One such use was nuclear excavation. At the same time, the California Department of Public Works (DPW) was planning a new road through the area to shorten US 66, and they joined the project as well. The AEC, DPW, and the railway together published a feasibility study in November of 1963 proposing to use 23 nuclear bombs, totaling 1,830 kilotons, to blast the new pass through the Bristols. They called the plan Project CARRYALL. Twenty-two devices of 20 to 200 kilotons yield would be set off 340 to 780 feet underground.   The explosions would remove 68,000,000 cubic yards of earth, creating a roughly parabolic cut 11,000 feet long, 360 feet deep, and from 600 to 1,300 feet wide. A final 100-kiloton device would dig a drainage crater to hold rainwater runoff from the new pass. The railroad would open for traffic in April of 1969, the highway following in July.   The total cost was estimated at $14 million ($104 million today) - a savings of $8 million ($59 million) compared to conventional methods.  Byt the tests that would lead to the construction never happened, thanks to the Limited Test Ban Treaty. The California highway division dropped out of CARRYALL in September of 1966, unwilling to wait any longer. For more details, see the page on Project CARRYALL.
(Source: Atomic Skies: Project CARRYALL, 2/14/2014)

Pre-1963 Routing (US 40)

U.S. 40Pre-1964 State Shield US Highway Shield In 1926, US 40 was designated as the "Victory Highway", entering California through the Truckee River canyon, thence through Auburn, Sacramento, Davis, Fairfield, Benecia, Martinez, Richmond, and thence to Oakland (note that, at some point, the Victory Highway designation was moved to Route 160). In 1928, the routing was formalized as the route beginning at San Francisco, crossing the bay to Oakland, Martinez, Davis, Sacramento, Auburn, Truckee, via the Nevada-California state line west of Verdi. This is a routing roughly parallel to the existing I-80. It had the following LRNs:

  1. LRN 68 between San Francisco (US 101) and Oakland (junction Route 17, now I-880). This was defined in 1923. It is unclear when this was first signed as US 40 (it doesn't show on a 1936 map as US 40). It appears the connection between San Francisco and Oakland was by ferry (and thus unsigned) until the construction of the Bay Bridge.
  2. Between Oakland and Richmond/Albany, there were two routings (Tom Fearer has a good summation of this history of this segment in his Gibblenation blog California State Route 123/San Pablo Avenue; a trip down Old US Route 40 and the US Route terminus points in the Oakland Area):
    1. The first was LRN 14, defined in 1909. This is present-day Route 123. (San Pablo Avenue). It appears to have been signed as of 1936, starting at San Pablo and 14th Street (Oakland City Hall, terminous of Route 17).
    2. The second was LRN 69, which was a bypass of LRN 14. This was the original portion of LRN 69, defined in 1923, the same year as LRN 68.
  3. LRN 7 from near El Cerrito and 2 mi SW of Davis (junction Alt US 40/US 99W; now Route 113). This was signed as US 40; it is present-day I-80. It was defined in 1909. It appears that US 40 used W and N Texas Streets in Fairfield, and Merchant St. and Monte Vista Avenue in Vacaville. The portion between LRN 14 near Crockett (which is the S side of the Carquinez Straights, just S of Vallejo) to the American Canyon Route near Vallejo was added to LRN 7 in 1931, and ran along what is today Route 12 and Route 29 (between Cordelia Jct and Vallejo).

    Originally, the routing used the Martinez-Benicia Ferry. Access to the Martinez-Benicia Ferry was by way of LRN 14 and LRN 7. LRN 14 was routed into Martinez via what is now Carquinez Scenic Drive east of Crockett. LRN 7 entered Benicia via 2nd Street. LRN 14 and LRN 7 can be seen meeting at the Carquinez Straights at the Martinez-Benicia Ferry on the 1918 Division of Highways Map. The initial routing of US 40 was aligned over LRN 7 into Benicia, over the Martinez-Benicia Ferry and LRN 14 towards Oakland. The primary driver of US 40 being routed away from Benicia and Martinez was the completion of the original Carquinez Bridge in 1927. The Carquinez Bridge originally carried the second alignment of the Lincoln Highway when it opened as a private toll bridge. In 1931, a spur route of LRN 7 was adopted from LRN 14 in Crockett through the American Canyon Route. This spur route of LRN 7 appears to have been completed some time in 1932. US 40 was reported rerouted through Vallejo via the Carquinez Bridge and the American Canyon Route on the 8th Biannual Report by the Division of Highways in November 1932.
    (Includes material from Gribblenation Blog: Interstate 680 over the Benicia-Martinez Bridge and the legacy of California State Route 21 and The original alignment of US Route 40 over the Martinez-Benicia Ferry and Carquinez Scenic Drive)

  4. LRN 6 between Davis and Sacramento, cosigned as US 40/US 99W. This was defined in 1909. Portions of this used Old Davis Road and Olive Drive. Portions of the old frontage road to the N of I-80 (Road 32) E of Davis was also old US 40. US 40 used W Capitol Avenue to enter Sacramento via the Tower Bridge.
    • US 40 appears to have followed the following roads up to Davis: (1) Texas Street from Fairfield to the I-80 corridor (2) Lyon Road and Cherry Glen Road between Fairfield and Vacaville. (3) Merchant Street, Dobbins Avenue, and East Monte Vista Avenue in Vacaville to the Nut Tree Airport. (4) Midway Road, Porter Road, Porter Street, Old State Highway, A Street, and current Route 113 through Dixon, and Vaughn Road from current Route 113 east to Sacramento. (5) Pedrick Road (Yolo County Road 98) north to Russell Boulevard (Route 128 corridor) (6) Russell Boulevard east to Davis. Segments (5) and (6) were later part of Alternate US 40. Davis now has a few Historic US 40 signs up on Richards Boulevard and First Street.
    • The US 40 bypass of Davis (now I-80; presumably the stretch between Olive Drive and Pedrick Road) was constructed in 1940.
  5. LRN 3 between Sacramento and Roseville, cosigned as US 40/US 99E. This was defined in 1909.
  6. LRN 17 between Sacramento and Auburn. This was defined in 1909.
  7. LRN 37 between Auburn and Truckee. This was defined in 1919.
  8. LRN 38 between Truckee and the Nevada state line. This was defined in 1923.

Scott Parker on AARoads noted the following regarding the LRNs for US 40: The sequence of different LRN's hosting US 40 seemed to be an ever-changing series until the freeway era. LRN 14 was the first "leg" north from Oakland to Martinez. When US 40 was rerouted over the Carquinez Bridge, LRN 14 remained as an unsigned route from Crockett to Martinez; and on the other side of the strait, the original "host" for US 40, Sonoma Blvd., was a LRN 74 "spur" when US 40 extended up to Napa Junction and turned east with Route 12 to Cordelia and Fairfield. Then LRN 7, which originally ran from the Benicia ferry terminal up what is now I-680 to Cordelia was bypassed by the present I-80 alignment, originally a simple multilane arterial; Benicia-Cordelia was added to LRN 74, making it a "U"-shaped route. The Carquinez Bridge was privately owned, so LRN 7 originally began at the toll booth at the bridge's north end. When the Eastshore Freeway was completed from the Distribution Structure (today's I-80/I-580/I-880 interchange) north to the Carquinez Strait, the bridge was twinned with today's EB truss span. At the same time, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was being opened as Route 17/LRN 69; both those designations, along with US 40 and later the nascent I-80, comprised the Eastshore Freeway from the Structure north to the present I-80/I-580 divergence at Albany; from 1957 through 1963 LRN 7 was extended over the Carquinez Bridge (by then Division of Highways property) down to Albany. At that time LRN 14 was truncated to Richmond over the alignment of present Route 123 (it had never been assigned to any portion of the Eastshore Freeway), leaving former US 40 to Contra Costa County. US 40 was LRN 7 north to Davis, where that LRN turned north on US 99W through Woodland and Willows to terminate at LRN 3 at the original US 99E/99W junction at Red Bluff. LRN 6 then carried US 40 east into Sacramento.
(Source: Scott Parker on AARoads, "Re: California", 7/10/2019)

According to "California Highways" by Ben Blow (1920), the Auburn-Emigrant Gap State Road and the Emigrant Gap-Donner Lake State Road were both taken into the State Highway System under the first highway Bond Act of 1909. The section from Truckee to Verdi, the road was added under the third Bond Act of 1919. There is some additional information in the following articles:

Interstate Shield The designation was changed on July 1, 1964, when the current I-80 took over the old US-40 route (and Route 113 and Route 70 took over the old Alternate US-40 route, although Route 24 was also a previous US 40A), and the new route (I-40) was defined.

In Fairfield, the stretch of former US 40 back to 1915, when only a few thousand people lived in Fairfield and Suisun City. According to an article in the Fairfield Daily Republic, one local contractor working on the original road drove his mule so hard that he ran afoul of the local humane society. The original highway route used old Cordelia Road and went through Suisun City to the courthouse. It later bypassed Suisun City and went down West Texas Street and through downtown Fairfield. The highway department straightened out turns in Cherry Glen in 1936, and built the Vacaville bypass in 1937. About 14,600 cars a day passed through Fairfield on US 40 in 1948. In the mid-1960s, workers enlarged the four-lane US 40 to the eight-lane I-80.

For those trying to follow old US 40, John David Galt noted (in a misc.transport.road posting) that near Suisun the old route jogged north on Suisun Valley Rd. to Rockville Rd., back to the present freeway route in Suisun, where Rockville Rd. becomes Air Base Pkwy. Between there and West Sacramento, there's very little of the old route left other than the freeway. There are bits of frontage road near the Nut Tree and the Hick'ry Pit that may have been part of US 40, but they don't go through. In West Sacramento, the old route leaves the freeway as West Capitol Ave., which is signed only as the "Downtown Sacramento" exit. From there, US 40 followed the Capitol Mall across to 16th St., then picked up the present Route 160 freeway route, ending up on what is now Auburn Blvd. Auburn is now signed as "Historic US 40" for most of its length, all the way into Roseville. At one point, Route 160 and US 40 were cosigned.

San Francisco to Sacramento - CSAA Nov 1927 ProposalIn 1927, the California State Automobile Assn proposed a super-highway between the San Francisco Bay region and Sacramento. According to an article published in the Sacramento Bee in November 1927,  they suggested to the state highway commission that relocation of certain sections of the existing state highway will eliminate thirteen miles of driving and provide a shorter safer and more direct route between cities of the metropolitan area and the state capital The proposal was conveyed to B B Meek director of the state department of public works in a communication from H J Hrunnier chairman of the Automobile Association Highways committee Brunnier suggested that the highway commission consider official adoption of the new and shorter route as one on which future construction and reconstruction efforts may be directed. The plan has already been endorsed by the chambers of commerce of San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento. The Association takes the stand that conditions can be bettered through or around the town of Pinole by the adoption of the American Canyon route from Vallejo Past Cordelia to Fairfield and along the section between Fairfield and Davis Brunnier in his letter pointed out that certain sections of the present route will soon have to he reconstructed notably through Jamison Canyon between Cordella and the Napa "Y" and that a more satisfactory route should be adopted before the present route becomes more definitely fixed. The present route does not take the fullest advantage of topography. It results in unnecessary driving of about thirteen miles and an unnecessary number of grade crossings and its alignment is not conducive to public safety the association points out. During peaks or traffic, there is bad congestion at points which with increasing traffic will soon gauge the amount of travel that can use the present route "This Is the opportune time" said Brunnier in his letter "to plan for a direct broad and safe highway between the Northern California center of population and the heart of a big agricultural region" Besides providing for local travel it is pointed out the super-highway would be a link in both the Victory Highway route and the Pacific Highway.
(Source: Joel Windmiller on California's Historic Highways FB/SacBee Nov 1927, 6/2/2020)

In Sacramento, some of the original street portion has been signed as Historic US 40. The first sign went up in 2001 on West Capitol Avenue in West Sacramento.

In Citrus Heights, the routing ran along Auburn Boulevard. Auburn Road (as it was called then) cut through Sacramento County‟s Central Township (what is present day Citrus Heights) to connect the City of Auburn to Sacramento. In the 1860s, Sylvan School and Sylvan Corners (both of which exist today) became the educational, civic, social and religious center of this early settlement. Until the 1950s, Auburn Boulevard consisted of auto-oriented retail that catered to travelers‟ needs of that bygone era. But with the opening of I-80 in the late 1950s, Auburn Boulevard changed to a commercial corridor serving the local community‟s needs.

Note that, in the vicinity of Donner Lake, Caltrans is required to remove snow. Specifically, the law requires that from and after November 8, 1967, the department shall remove snow from that portion of former US Route 40 that has been superseded by the relocation and construction of I-80, commencing at its intersection with I-80 near Donner Memorial Park westerly approximately four miles to the vicinity of Donner Lake.

In October 2015, it was reported that a historic portion of Donner Pass Road (Old US 40) is scheduled for a major overhaul. The route received a $9.9 million grant under California’s Federal Lands Access Program. This grant will help improve a 6.5-mile stretch of the road at Donner Summit and winding down to Donner Lake known as Old Highway 40, from I-80 to Truckee town limits, and will span both Nevada and Placer counties. Planned improvements include mitigating rock and landscape degradation associated with winter weather, which currently requires frequent maintenance, as well as improvements related to safety, including bicycle lanes and widened shoulders. Construction is tentatively planned to begin in 2019.
(Source: Tahoe Daily Tribute, via andy3175 @ AAroads)

In June 2017, Tom Fearer provided some history of Donner Pass Road on AARoads: Donner Pass had the first recorded wagon crossing in 1844. The whole saga of the Donner Party occurred in the Winter of 1846/1847. The first route over the Sierras via the Donner Pass area wasn't too much different than Donner Pass Road ultimately ended up being. The main difference was that the route for wagons was much steeper than the Lincoln Highway iteration ultimately ended up being. This was known as the Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road, which was completed by 1864 to assist with construction of the First Trans-Continental Railroad. Visit this site for more details about the Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road. In addition to the Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road there was two additional wagon roads that were apparently used: Coldstream Pass and Roller Pass to the south of Donner Pass which were in use by 1846. This site has some really good links to maps showing all the wagon routes alongside Donner Pass Road in addition to the rail alignments. The Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road became a state highway apparently in 1909 with Donner Pass Road opening as a realignment due to rail crossing accidents in 1912. Donner Pass Road ultimately took out almost all of the really steep grades by using hairpins that approached the pass from Donner Lake. By 1913 the Northern Sierra Route of the Lincoln Highway was aligned over Donner Pass Road. Ultimately the Lincoln Highway was replaced by US 40. The 1918 State Highway Map is the earliest that shows a road going over Donner Pass but no route names. By 1926, Donner Pass Road is shown as unimproved west out of Truckee to Donner Lake but graded over Donner Pass. By 1930 US 40 appears on State Highway Maps and all of Donner Pass Road from Truckee to the actual Pass appears to be classified as "Improved." By 1934 all over US 40 over the Sierras appears to have been paved. Not much changes until the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 which of course led to the Interstate system. The first visual change that can be seen on the state highway map with Donner Pass Road being bypassed is in 1960 when a new stub of I-80 is shown running from the Nevada state line west past Truckee to Donner Lake. It isn't until the 1967 State Highway Map that US 40 completely disappears from California.

So, why did US 40 get the interstate nod over US 50? James Lin reported, on misc.transport.road, "a Caltrans employee told me that back in the late 1950s, there was fierce competition between the US 40 and US 50 corridors over which alignment would become Interstate. What eventually tipped the battle in favor of the US 40 corridor was Squaw Valley hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics."

A listing of all the former routings of US 40 may be found at http://www.route40.net/page.asp?n=1058.

Hampshire Rocks Rd.In October 2012, it was reported that two 1926 bridges along old US 40 were scheduled for replacement: the Hampshire Rocks Road bridge over the South Yuba River near Big Bend, and the Donner Pass Road bridge over the S. Yuba River . The latter project is between exits 165 and 171 off I-80 (and is a bit E of the first project).

Alternate Routes Alternate Routes

Pre-1963 Routing (US 40)

US Highway Shield There was also an Alternate US 40, also signed (apparently) in the mid-1930s. This ran N from 2 mi SW of Davis beginning at the current interchange of I-80 and Pedrick Road (Yolo County Road 98). It then followed Pedrick Road north past the UC Davis airport to Russell Boulevard, then followed Russell east to Route 113, where it met up with US 99W northbound and continued to Woodland (LRN 7 between US 40 and Route 16; LRN 87 between Route 16 and Tudor); then along present-day Route 70 between Marysville and US 395 (LRN 87 between Marysville and Oroville; LRN 21 between Oroville and US 395). It was cosigned with US 395 into Reno, NV.

In the late 1930s, there was a temporary routing of Alternate US 40 that took a more southern alignment than the current Route 70 routing, running through Berry Creek and Bucks Lake to Quincy along Orville-Quincy Highway, Spanish Ranch, and Bucks Lake Road. Much of that route is no longer part of the state highway system, although the portion from Oroville to Brush Creek is part of Route 162.

Note that the routings in Davis had been changed to the Route 113 routing by 1953.

Freeway Freeway

Post 1963-Routing (I-40)

[SHC 253.1] Entire route. Added to the Freeway and Expressway system in 1959.

Pre-1963 Routing (US 40)

U.S. 40 Roseville to Newcastle Freeway ProposalIn July 1955, the Auburn Journal published an article on the proposed freeway routings between Roseville and Newcastle. It noted:
(Source: Joel Windmiller, California's Historic Highways on FB, 6/1/2020)

Officials, Civic Groups, Urged To Attend Public Meeting July 13th. Studies for the future freeway routing of US. 40 between one-half mile east of Roseville and one mile east of Newcastle have now reached a stage which permits tentative conclusions as to basic plan, District Engineer A. M. Nash of the State Division of Highways announced today. Nash said that State Highway Engineer Q T. McCoy has requested the district to hold a public meeting to explain the various route and the conclusions reached by the engineers. Preliminary discussions have been held with local authorities to arrange for such a meeting in Auburn on July 13 1955 at 2 p. m. in the Little Theater at Siena College. The Division of Highways urges all interested officials, individuals, and civic groups to attend the meeting and to present any Information pertinent to the route determination. The information may be furnished orally, or written statements may be filed with the Division. The studies by the Division of the various possible routings between Roseville and Newcastle Include all of the numerous factors which influence the location of a highway through developed and semi-developed areas. These factors involve traffic service, cost of construction, and right of way, location of schools, future development, and overall effect on the area. In addition to local conditions Nash also pointed out that all route studies on U. S. 40 have to take into consideration the importance of the road as a main trans-continental highway, as well as its being a part of the federal government interstate highway system. On a map furnished by Nash for publication, the various possible routes for U. S. 40, that have been given the most serious consideration are shown. All of the routes start one-half mile east of Roseville at the easterly end of the Sacramento to Roseville freeway that is now under construction. The end one mile east of Newcastle at the westerly end of the proposed Newcastle Auburn freeway for which the route was adopted by the Highway Commission in November of 1953. The possible routes between Roseville and Newcastle are shown on the Division of Highways map. Route "A" departs from the existing road one-half mile east of Roseville and continues along Secret Ravine, south of Rocklin, Loomis, and Penryn. Near the end of Secret Ravine, the line turns north. and rejoins the existing road one mile east of Newcastle a distance of approximately 11 miles. All of the other routes generally follow existing various proposals for going through or around Rocklin and Loomis. The necessity for improving U. S. 40 to a multi-lane freeway between San Francisco and the Nevada state line has been widely publicized during the past few years. The strategic importance of the road in the event of a national emergency has been emphasized repeatedly. With, the adoption of this section by-the highway commission U. S. 40 will have been declared a continuous freeway from San Francisco to approximately 9 miles east of Colfax except for a short section through the city of Sacramento. After the public explanation of the route studies between Roseville and Newcastle has been accomplished a report of the data and conclusions, including information furnished by interested persons attending the meeting, will be forwarded by Nash to State Highway Engineer G. T.. McCoy. McCoy will furnish the report and his recommendation for routing to the California Highway Commission. Route adoption is the responsibility of the commission. It is the policy of the commission to offer the opportunity for a public hearing "by the commission itself if the local authorities so desire.

U.S. 40 Rte Adoption - Gold Run to Blue CynIn March 1956, the Sacramento Bee published information on the proposed freeway route in the vicinity of Gold Run. The final adoption of the routes was expected to be made by the California Highway Commission at a meeting in April 1956. The article noted:
(Source: Joel Windmiller, California's Historic Highways on FB, 6/1/2020)

Contracts To Be Let On 17 Miles Of Freeway. On US Highway 40 Bids will be opened and contracts let to start construction this year on U. S. Highway 40 between Heather Olen and Colfax, between Colfax and Maura and between Floriston and the Nevada State line, it was announced by J. W. Trask, district engineer of the State Division of Highways. In addition, a contract to be let for construction. structure! between Newcastle and Auburn at an estimated cost of $1,300,000 will also get underway this year, Trask stated. The first three stretches of multi-lane freeway total about 17 miles, with an estimated construction cost of 9,750,000. The necessity for improving US 40 to multi-lane freeway from San Francisco to the Nevada state line has received considerable publicity in the past few years. On February,14 a public meeting was held In Auburn to discuss the section between Magra west of Gold Run and Blue Canyon Road, a distance of 14 miles, and the section between Hampshire Rocks to Soda Springs, a distance of 6 miles.

U.S. 40 Rte adoptions in the Sierra Nevada areaIn October 1956, the Reno Gazette Journal published information on proposed routings of US 40 (future I-80) in the Sierra Nevada area. The map to the right is excepted from the article; it shows the tentatively planned route from east of Donner Lake over the Sierra summit north of the present Donner pass and on to a point just west of Soda Springs, a distance of 10.3 miles. The lower map shows the proposed freeway segment further west, beginning at Hampshire Rocks and continuing for 13.6 miles to the Blue Canyon turnoff, just west of Emigrant Gap. The routing for the segment between the two areas shown above has already been adopted by the California Highway Commission." The routing was described as follows:
(Source: Joel Windmiller, California's Historic Highways on FB, 6/1/2020)

Division Engineer Trask explained the Emigrant Gap-Hampshire Rocks routing as follows: "The tentative routing of this portion of US 40 begins at Blue Canyon road at the easterly end of the previously adopted freeway between Magra and Blue Canyon road, and generally follows the existing alignment to a point west of Cisco. There it crosses the south fork of the Yuba River and proceeds in an easterly direction south of the river. West of Big Bend ranger station the line crosses the south fork of the Yuba again, travels northeasterly of the present highway, and terminates at Hampshire Rocks, which is the westerly end of the adopted relocation between Hampshire Rocks and Soda Springs."

U.S. 40 Rte Adoption - Hampshire to Soda SpringsIn March 1956, the Sacramento Bee published information on the proposed freeway route in the vicinity of Kingvale. The final adoption of the routes was expected to be made by the California Highway Commission at a meeting in April 1956.
(Source: Joel Windmiller, California's Historic Highways on FB, 6/1/2020)

U.S. 40 Routings - Soda Springs - Truckee YIn October 1956, the Reno Gazette Journal published information on proposed routings of US 40 (future I-80) in the Sierra Nevada area. The map to the right is excepted from the article; it shows the proposed freeway segment beginning at Hampshire Rocks and continuing for 13.6 miles to the Blue Canyon turnoff, just west of Emigrant Gap." The routing was described as follows:
(Source: Joel Windmiller, California's Historic Highways on FB, 6/1/2020)

Division Engineer Trask explained the proposed routing of the Soda Springs-Truckee "Y" freeway as follows: "(The routing) begins at the easterly end of the previously adopted route between Hampshire Rocks and Soda Springs, crossing the existing road west of and passing to the north of Soda Springs. It then continues in a northeasterly direction passing approximately 1.75 miles north of Donner Summit in the vicinity of the West Lakes From this point, the proposed alignment continues to the westerly end of the previously adopted relocation between 1.3 miles west of the junction of US 40 and Route 89." 

U.S. 40 Route Adoption near TruckeeIn March 1956, the Sacramento Bee published information on the proposed freeway routes in the vicinity of Truckee. The final adoption of the routes was expected to be made by the California Highway Commission at a meeting in April 1956.  The article noted:
(Source: Joel Windmiller, California's Historic Highways on FB, 6/1/2020)

Trask announced today that preliminary studies for a future freeway on 16 miles of US 40 in Nevada County between the east end of Donner Lake and Floriston have now reached the stage which permits a tentative conclusion as to basic plan. State Highway Engineer O. T. McCoy has Instructed Trask to hold a public meeting to explain the various studies and the tentative conclusions reached by the engineers. The meeting will be held in Truckee on April 7 at 10 a.m. In the Truckee high school cafeteria. Trask urged all interested individuals and civic groups to attend the meeting and to present any information which may be pertinent to a freeway routing for the portion of US 40 concerned. This information may be delivered orally, or a written statement may be filed with the division of highways. The studies by the division of the proposed route from the east end of Donner Lake to Floriston include all of the numerous factors influencing the location of a highway through developed and seml-developed areas. The factors involved Include traffic service, cost of construction, and right of way, location of schools, future developments, and over-all effect oo the area, including the town of Truckee. ". 7 Mr. Trask also stated that in addition to local conditions all route studies on US 40 have to consider the importance of the road as a main transcontinental highway and a part of the federal government interstate highway system. The tentative routing would depart from the existing road, a short distance east of Donner Lake, pass to the north of both the town of Truckee and the Truckee airport, and rejoin the existing road west of Boca. Just east of Boca, the tentative routing leaves the existing highway again, rejoining it southwest of Floriston. The tentative routing eliminates many of the sharp curves in the Truckee River canyon. After a public explanation of the route studies between Donner Lake and Floriston has been given a report of the data and conclusions, including information furnished by interested persons attending the meeting, will be forwarded by Trask to State Highway Engineer McCoy. McCoy will furnish the information and his .recommendation for routing to the California, highway commission. Route adoption is the responsibility of the; commission.

Status Status

There is a sign at the western end of the route that indicates the distance to Wilmington NC (~ SBD 0.559). The sign was once stolen, but has since been replaced.

In September 2011, it was reported that San Bernardino County received $35,912,000 to rehabilitate 93 roadway lane miles and extend pavement service life and improve ride quality near Newberry Springs on I-40 (~ SBD R28.5 to SBD R50.012). The scope of work is between the Desert Oasis Safety Roadside Rest Area and Crucero Road. The project will grind and overlay mainline, shoulders and ramps. It will also upgrade metal beam guardrail and minor drainage.

Ludlow Cross Slope Rehabilitation (08-SBd-40, PM R75/R100)

Rte 40 near LudlowIn October 2018, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding the following project for which a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) has been completed: I-40 in San Bernardino County (08-SBd-40, PM R75/R100). Regrade median cross slopes on a portion of I-40 near the town of Ludlow. (PPNO 3001R) This project is located on I- 40 near the town of Ludlow in San Bernardino County. The project proposes to regrade the existing median cross slopes within the 30 foot clear recovery zone from a steeper gradient to a flatter gradient. Also included in the proposed project will be the extension of existing culverts, upgrading of guardrail and establishing California Highway Patrol crossings in the median. The proposed project will address the need to improve the recovery zones and reduce the risk of out of control vehicles crossing the median and colliding with opposing traffic. The proposed project is estimated to cost approximately $38.4 million. This project is currently funded and programmed in the 2018 SHOPP for approximately $38.4 million. Construction is estimated to begin in 2020. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope programmed by the Commission in the 2018 SHOPP.
(Source: October 2018 CTC Agenda Item 2.2c.(1))

In December 2018, it was reported that Caltrans was beginning a safety project on I-40 to improve the slope of the median near the city of Ludlow, between Crucero Road and Badger Wash. Construction will being on January 7, 2019. Work will be done on both east and west bound I-40, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. This $33.9-million safety project is expected to last for approximately one year.
(Source: Caltrans Press Release, 12/28/2018)

Van Winkle Wash Bridges (~ R085.19)

In June 2012, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding a project that will replace Van Winkle Wash Bridge Left and Right (Bridge Numbers 54-0903L and 54-0903R) on I-40 near Essex to correct extensive deck and girder cracking. The project is programmed in the 2010 State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP). The total estimated project cost is $21,697,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2012-13. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope programmed in the 2010 SHOPP.

In August 2012, the CTC approved SHOPP funding of $11,615,000 on I-40 PM R85.2 near Essex, at Van Winkle Wash Bridges (Bridge # 54-0903L/R). Outcome/Output: Replace both eastbound and westbound bridges to address extensive cracking and ensure long-term operational capability.

Hoff Wash Bridges (~ R093.60)

In June 2014, the CTC authorized for future consideration of fund a project in San Bernardino County that will replace the existing Hoff Wash Bridge on I-40 near the town of Ludlow. The project is programmed in the 2014 State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The total estimated cost is $13,390,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2015-16. They also authorized for future consideration of funding a project in San Bernardino County that will replace the left side of the existing Watson Wash Bridge on I-40 near the Goffs Road overcrossing. The project is programmed in the 2014 State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The total estimated cost is $13,478,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2015-16. Lastly, they also approved, again for future consideration of funding, a project in San Bernardino County that will replace the existing Haller Wash Bridges, Rojo Wash Bridges, and Clipper Valley Wash Bridges and construct a temporary concrete batch plant site in the median of I-40. The project is programmed in the 2012 State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The total estimated cost is $41,059,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2014-15.

In January 2016, the CTC approved SHOPP funding in San Bernardino County, on I-40 near Essex, from 0.3 mile west to 0.4 mile east of Hoff Wash Bridge (No. 54-0889L/R). Outcome/Output: Replace two bridges due to cracking on bridge deck, wing/pier walls and concrete barrier railing. Future Consideration of Funding approved under Resolution E-14-23; June 2014. $8,036,000.

In March 2019, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding a project on I-40 near the city of Needles in San Bernardino County, east of Homer Wash Bridge to the California/Arizona border (08-SBd-40, PM R125/R154.6). The project proposes to re-grade the existing non-standard median. The project proposes to address the safety of the traveling public by reducing the number and severity of collisions in the existing median. This project is fully funded and currently programmed in the 2018 SHOPP for approximately $32.3 million. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2019-20. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope programmed by the Commission in the 2018 SHOPP. They also provided a support allocation of PS&E $2,300,000 and R/W Sup $200,000 (2.5b.(2a)).
(Source: March 2019 CTC Minutes, Agenda Item 2.2c.(1))

In January 2018, it was reported that paper signs placed over the existing sign that listed emergency contact information and phone numbers on the "Welcome to California" signs at the border (~ SBD R154.493) had been removed. The signs, first noticed by a handful of Twitter users, read "Official Sanctuary State," and "Felons, Illegals, and MS13 Welcome! Democrats Need The Votes!" California became a sanctuary state on January 1, 2018, following a bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown in October. The bill prevents state law enforcement officers from inquiring about a person's immigration status, from arresting persons because of civil immigration warrants, or from participating in a joint task force with federal officials to enforce immigration laws. The intent is to not discourage undocumented immigrants from working with law enforcement due to fear that their cooperation would get them deported. One sign was found and promptly removed Monday on Interstate 15 near Mountain Pass, just west of the California-Nevada border. Another was removed from I-40 in the Needles area near the California-Nevada border. Caltrans has also received unconfirmed reports of up to three more fake signs — two of which are reported to be near the Oregon border — but they have not yet been able to verify the existence of those. The Twitter photo included a white paddle indicating at least one sign was on Route 95 near Palm Gardens (the paddle shows "CL", likely referring to Clark County, and the point where US 95 transitions from California to Nevada).
(Source: SFGate, 1/2/2018; Snopes, 1/2/2018)

Colorado River Bridge (08-San Bernardino-40 PM 153.9/154.7)

The following project was included in the final adopted 2018 SHOPP as a "Long Lead Project" in March 2018: PPNO 3001S. 08-San Bernardino-40 153.9/154.7. I-40 Near Needles, from Park Moabi Road to Topock Road at the Colorado River Bridge No. 54-0415. Bridge rehabilitation and/or replacement. Caltrans will be the lead agency and will share half of all costs with ADOT as indicated via a signed Letter of Intent. Note: Complexity of environmental and geotechnical investigations. Extensive coordination required with Arizona resource agencies. * PA&ED phase(s) is authorized. Begin Con: 4/15/2024. Total Project Cost: $44,141K.

The 2020 SHOPP, approved in May 2020, included the following Long Lead Bridge Preservation item of interest (carried over from the 2018 SHOPP): 08-San Bernardino-40 PM 153.9/154.7 PPNO 3001S Proj ID 0812000067 EA 0R380. I-40 near Needles, from Park Moabi Road to Topock Road at the Colorado River Bridge No. 54-0415. Bridge rehabilitation and/or replacement. Caltrans will be the lead agency and will share half of all costs with Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) as indicated via a signed Letter of Intent. Note: Complexity of environmental and geotechnical investigations. Extensive coordination required with Arizona resource agencies. Programmed in FY24-25, with construction scheduled to start at the end of January 2026. Total project cost is $44,141K, with $28,969K being capital (const and right of way) and $15,172K being support (engineering, environmental, etc.). Only the PA&ED allocation of $2,650K was authorized.
(Source: 2020 Approved SHOPP a/o May 2020)

Naming Naming

This route is named the "Needles Freeway". It was named by Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 in 1968. It was named because it traverses the City of Needles. Needles was named after a railroad station, established in February 1883, on the Arizona side of the Colorado River and named after the near-by pinnacles. The name was transferred to the California side in October 1883.

John W. ArmatoskiThe portion of I-40 between West Park Road (SBD 139.18) and the Needles Overcrossing (SBD 142) in the County of San Bernardino is named the "CHP Officer John “Jack” Armatoski Memorial Highway". It was named in memory of Officer John "Jack" Walter Armatoski, who was born on May 1, 1917, to August and Sophie, in Ironwood, Michigan. Upon graduation from the CHP Academy in 1948, Officer Armatoski was assigned to the Needles area. Officer Armatoski was killed in the line of duty on May 1, 1953, during a routine traffic stop on US 66 near Needles. After he completed the traffic citation, Officer Armatoski was approaching the violator's car on the left side when an intoxicated motorist, driving a stolen station wagon, sideswiped the parked vehicle and struck Officer Armatoski, killing him instantly. Officer Armatoski was a devoted officer, a loyal husband, and an amazing father. He was known for his integrity and his adoration of his wife and children.Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 100, Resolution Chapter 109, on September 4, 2012.
(Image source: California Assn of Highway Patrolmen)

Named Structures Named Structures

This route also has the following Safety Roadside Rest Areas:

Business Routes Business Routes

Historical Route Historical Route

Post 1963-Routing (I-40)

This route is part of "Historic Highway Route 66", designated by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 6, Chapter 52, in 1991.

Pre-1963 Routing (US 40)

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 180, 1998, designated those portions of US 40 that are still publicly maintained and not already designated as part of Historic US 40 as "Historic US 40".

Senate Concurrent Resolution 66, Chaptered May 18, 2006 (Resolution Chapter 51), designated, upon application by an appropriate local governmental agency, any section of former Alternate U.S. Highway Route 40 that is still a publicly maintained highway and that is of interest to the applicant, as Historic Alternate U.S. Highway Route 40. This recognizes the role that Former Alternate U.S. Highway Route 40 played in the development of the transportation routes into California over what is now known as the Davis "Y". Alternate U.S. Highway Route 40 is currently Route 113 from Davis to Woodland and Yuba City, and Route 70 through Marysville, Oroville, and the Feather River Canyon to Hallelujah Junction on Route 395, a route that today serves 27 towns and the six counties of Yolo, Sutter, Yuba, Butte, Plumas, and Lassen. The Feather River Scenic Byway is a 130 mile segment of Route 70, which was part of Alternate U.S. Highway Route 40.

Interstate Submissions Interstate Submissions

Approved as chargeable Interstate on 7/7/1947. In August 1957, this was tentatively approved as I-40; however, in November 1957 the California Department of Highways suggested that it be designated as I-30 to eliminate confusion with the existing US 40 in California. This was rejected by AASHTO, as was probably one of the factors leading to the "great renumbering".

Classified Landcaped Freeway Classified Landcaped Freeway

The following segments are designated as Classified Landscaped Freeway:

County Route Starting PM Ending PM
San Bernardino 40 0.56 0.90
San Bernardino 40 R141.09 R142.21
San Bernardino 40 R142.28 R142.53
San Bernardino 40 R143.48 R143.76

Scenic Route Scenic Route

[SHC 263.4] From Barstow to Needles.

Blue Star Memorial Highway Blue Star Memorial Highway

This route (I-40) was designated as a "Blue Star Memorial Highway" by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 112, Ch. 143 in 1984.

Interregional Route Interregional Route

[SHC 164.12] Entire route

National Trails National Trails

Post 1963-Routing (I-40)

Interstate Shield National Old Trails Road Sign The original surface routing replaced by I-40 (i.e., old US 66) was part of the "National Old Trails Road".

Interstate Shield Santa Fe Trail Sign The original surface routing replaced by I-40 (i.e., old US 66) was part of the "Santa Fe Trail".

Interstate Shield National Park to Park Highway Sign Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway Sign The original surface routing replaced by I-40 (i.e., old US 66) appears to have been part of the "National Park to Park Highway", and the "Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway".

Pre-1963 Routing (US 40)

US Highway Shield Lincoln Highway Sign As US 40, the portion of this route between the Nevada border and Sacramento was part of the "Lincoln Highway (Alternate)" (which started in Reno).

US Highway Shield Lincoln Highway Sign Additionally, the segment of US 40 between San Francisco and Oakland was part of the "Lincoln Highway", which originally terminated in Lincoln Park, six miles west of the ferry landing at the foot of Market Street. The Lincoln Highway ended opposite the Palace of the Legion of Honor at a small monument marking the spot. The last few miles (of the highway) were California Street.

Victory Highway Sign Portions of US 40 were part of the "Victory Highway".

Exit Information Exit Information

Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

Post 1963-Routing (I-40)

Pre-1963 Routing (US 40)

Statistics Statistics

Overall statistics for I-40:

Pre-1964 Legislative Route Pre-1964 Legislative Route

The route that would become LRN 40 was first defined in 1899 by Chapter 26, which called for "...locating and constructing a free wagon road from the Mono Lake Basin to and connecting with a wagon road called the "Tioga Road" and near the "Tioga Mine"..."

In 1915, Chapter 306 and Chapter 396 extended the route further. Chapter 306 added "that portion of the Great Sierra Wagon Road, better known as the Tioga Road, lying without the boundary of Yosemite National Park, providing that the portion within the park is taken over by the federal government." Chapter 396 added "that certain toll road in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties known as the Big Oak Flat and Yosemite Toll Road beginning at a point near the former location of Jack Bell Sawmill in Tuolumne Cty and extending thence in an E-ly direction through a portion of Mariposa Cty at Hamilton Station, thence again into Tuolumne Cty, past the Hearden Ranch, Crocker Station, Crane Flat, and Gin Flat to the boundary line of the original Yosemite Grant near Cascade Creek"

In 1917, Chapter 704 extended the route through an act "...to extend the Mono Lake Basin state road E-ly to a junction with the county road from Mono Lake Post Office to Mono Mills"

In 1933, it was extended further, from [LRN 23] near Mono Lake to [LRN 76] near Benton Station. This led to the following 1935 codification:

  1. [LRN 13] to [LRN 23] near Mono Lake via Big Oak Flat, Buck Meadows, and Tioga Mine. That portion of [LRN 40] lying within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park is not a state highway.
  2. [LRN 23] near Mono Lake to [LRN 76] near Benton Station

In 1937, Chapter 841 removed the reference to "Tioga Mine".

In 1953, Chapter 1786 added a third segment, "LRN 23 N of Mono Lake to the Nevada line, in the vicinity of the Pole Line Road."

Signage on LRN 40 was as follows:

  1. From LRN 13 to LRN 23 near Mono Lake via Big Oak Flat and Buck Meadows.

    This segment was/is signed as Route 120, and runs from cosigned Route 108/Route 120 4 mi W of Chinese Camp to US 395 near Lee Vining.

  2. From LRN 23 near Mono Lake to LRN 76 near Benton Station.

    This is signed as Route 120.

  3. From LRN 23 N of Mono Lake to the Nevada line, in the vicinity of the Pole Line Road.

    This segment was unsigned before 1963. It is presently signed as Route 167.


Acronyms and Explanations:


Back Arrow Route 39 Forward Arrow Route 41

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Maintained by: Daniel P. Faigin <webmaster@cahighways.org>.