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State Shield

State Route 72

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 72From Route 39 to Route 605 in Whittier.

(a) This will cease to be a state highway when the Route 90 freeway is completed from Route 5 to Route 39.

(b) The relinquished former portions of Route 72 within the City of Montebello, the City of Pico Rivera, and the County of Los Angeles are not state highways and are not eligible for adoption under Section 81. For the relinquished former portions of Route 72, the Cities of Montebello and Pico Rivera and the County of Los Angeles shall maintain within their respective jurisdictions signs directing motorists to the continuation of Route 72.

The Montebello Relinquishment was considered by the CTC in September 2000.

The portion of Route 72 in Pico Rivera was up for relinquishment in July 2005.

In 2019, AB 1810 authorized relinquishment in the City of Whittier and the County of Los Angeles. Note that this will only leave the portion of the route in the City of La Habra, between Route 39 and Valley Home Avenue.

Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

In 1963, this route was defined as the route from Route 5 in or near Anaheim to Route 245. Route 245 was Downey Road.

In 1963, Chapter 1372 changed the terminus of the route to be "Downey Road near the City of Los Angeles." This was just a rewording reflecting the 1965 deletion of Route 245, which was a temporary state highway during construction of Route 5 running from Route 5 near Los Angeles to Route 60 at the intersection of Downey Road. The 1965 act also added some relinquishment conditions:

So clearly the intent was for Route 72 to be a temporary route while the freeway system was being built out.

In 1981, Chapter 292 truncated the route to be "Route 39 to Downey Road near the City of Los Angeles." This eliminated the portion between Route 5 and Route 39, reflecting the completion of the Route 57 freeway. The second condition ("Route 72 shall cease to be a state highway when Route 90 freeway is completed from Route 5 to Route 39.") remained. As for the former portions of Route 72: the portion from Route 5 to Harbor Blvd [Route 39] was relinquished from the state highway system, and the portion from Harbor Blvd [Route 39] to Route 39 was transferred to Route 39.

In 1985, Chapter 385 added additional conditions to the route definition: “…except as follows: (a) Route 72 shall cease to be a state highway when Route 90 freeway is completed from Route 5 to Route 39. (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), that portion of Route 72 from Atlantic Boulevard to Downey Road shall cease to be a state highway when the County of Los Angeles completes the reconstruction of Whittier Boulevard approximately between these two limits.”

In 1988, Chapter 106 added an additional condition: “(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the portion of Route 72 from Route 605 to Atlantic Boulevard shall cease to be a state highway when the County of Los Angeles, the City of Montebello, and the City of Pico Rivera complete the reconstruction of their respective portions of Whittier Boulevard approximately between these two limits.”

In 1992, Chapter 1243 changed the route to "Route 39 to Atlantic Boulevard near the City of Los Angeles". This reflected the completion of subsection (b), eliminated Atlantic to Downey Road.

At one time, there was a permit that allowed the closure of this route to all vehicular traffic, except emergency traffic, between Eastern and Atlantic Blvd on Friday, Saturday, and Sundy nights between 9:30 pm and 5:00 am. This permit was granted to reduce the "cruising" that was occuring on the route on those evenings. This segment is no longer part of the routing.

In 2010, Chapter 421 (SB 1318, 9/29/10) changed the terminus of the definition: "to Atlantic Boulevard near the City of Los Angeles to Route 605 in Whittier". Appropriate adjustments were made in subsection (b) as well. It used to read: "(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), any portion of Route 72 from Route 605 to Atlantic Boulevard ceases to be a state highway when the County of Los Angeles, the City of Montebello, and the City of Pico Rivera complete the reconstruction of their respective portions of Whittier Boulevard approximately between these two limits."

In 2019, AB 1810 (Chapter 636, 10/8/2019) authorized relinquishment in the city of Whitter and the County of Los Angeles by adding the following to the Streets and Highways Code:

(c) The commission may relinquish to the City of Whittier and the County of Los Angeles the portion of Route 72 within their respective jurisdictional limits, upon terms and conditions the commission finds to be in the best interests of the state, if the department and the city and the county enter into an agreement providing for that relinquishment.

(1) A relinquishment under this subdivision shall become effective on the date following the county recorder’s recordation of the relinquishment resolution containing the commission’s approval of the terms and conditions of the relinquishment.

(2) On and after the effective date of the relinquishment, all of the following shall occur:

(A) Any portion of Route 72 relinquished pursuant to this subdivision shall cease to be a state highway.

(B) Any portion of Route 72 relinquished pursuant to this subdivision shall be ineligible for future adoption under Section 81.

(C) For any portion of Route 72 relinquished pursuant to this subdivision, the City of Whittier and the County of Los Angeles shall maintain signs within their respective jurisdictional limits directing motorists to the continuation of Route 72.

If the portion authorized for relinquishment in 2019 is relinquished, the only remaining adopted portion of Route 72 would be between Route 39 and Valley Home Avenue.

The route currently is along Whittier Blvd.

Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

US Highway Shield The current routing was originally signed as US 101, and dates back to the definition of US 101 in the 1930s. It was LRN 2, defined in 1909.

Route 72 was not defined as part of the initial state signage of routes in 1934. It is unclear what (if any) route was signed as Route 72 between 1934 and 1964.

Status Status

The SAFETEA-LU act, enacted in August 2005 as the reauthorization of TEA-21, provided the following expenditures on or near this route:

Naming Naming

Historically, this route is close to the original "El Camino Real" (The Kings Road). The original 1964 route (from I-5 to Route 39) has officially been designated as "El Camino Real by Assembly Bill 1769, Chapter 1569, in 1959. The roads that connect the Route 39 terminus with I-5 are also part of El Camino Real.

Whittier Officers Mike Lane and John Pierce Memorial HighwayThe portion of this route from the eastern entrance of Route 72 at the intersection of Costa Glen Avenue and Whittier Boulevard to the western entrance to Route 72 at the intersection of Penn Street and Whittier Boulevard (~ LA 0.603 to LA 4.855) is officially named the "Detectives Mike Lane and John Pierce Memorial Highway." (although the actual sign seems to say "Whittier Officers Mike Lane and John Pierce Memorial Highway") Named in memory of Whittier Detectives Mike Lane and John Pierce. Detective Mike Lane graduated from Loara High School in Anaheim and joined the Whittier Police Department on January 22, 1968, as a cadet, attaining the position of police officer on May 23, 1969. In 1973, Detective Lane was assigned to the Whittier Police Department’s Detective Division, Criminal Tactical Unit, and Major Crime Investigations. Detective Lane was also a member of the Southeast Burglary Investigation Team from its inception in April 1975, until March 4, 1977, when he became a detective in the Whittier Police Department’s Investigative Division, Narcotics Detail. On December 13, 1979, Detective Lane was working undercover on a motorcycle theft investigation when he was attempting to buy back a stolen motorcycle from a local outlaw motorcycle gang when he was confronted by the suspects while still in his vehicle. Shots were exchanged and he sustained fatal injuries.Whittier Detective John Pierce attended and graduated from El Rancho High School and Fullerton City College. After a stint in the California National Guard, Detective Pierce joined the Whittier Police Department on October 2, 1967, as a uniformed patrol officer, and in the early 1970s, he served as a liaison officer in the Whittier Police Explorer Post. In 1973, Detective Pierce was promoted to the Whittier Police Department’s Investigative Division, assigned to narcotics and vice, and later served on the Whittier Police Department’s SWAT Team. In 1976, Detective Pierce attained the rank of agent. Detective Pierce also served as a training officer in the Whittier Police Department’s Investigative Division. In April 1977, Detective Pierce was named the “California Outstanding Narcotics Officer” by the We Tip organization. On September 21, 1976, while working on an undercover investigation regarding the sale of narcotics, Detective Pierce was assaulted by two subjects and sustained serious injuries. These injuries left him paralyzed from the neck down and ultimately resulted in his death on May 18, 1977. These two heroic police officers, who were killed in the line of duty while protecting the community against dangerous criminals, will never be forgotten; in fact, as of 2013, these are the only two officers the Whittier Police Department has lost. Named on 09/27/13 by ACR 62, Res. Chapter 139, Statutes of 2013.
(Image source: Whitter Daily News, Whittier Police Officers Assn)

Interstate Submissions Interstate Submissions

In November 1957, the designation I-72 was proposed for what is now I-580. This was part of an approach to have I-5 numbered as I-11, and I-80 as I-76, and included a lot of single interstate numbers for routes that are now loop or spur routes (3di). The numbering was rejected by AASHTO in favor of I-5W.

Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

Statistics Statistics

Overall statistics for Route 72:

Pre-1964 Legislative Route Pre-1964 Legislative Route

The route that would become LRN 72 was first defined in 1931 by Chapter 82 as the route from Weed to California-Oregon State Line, near Calor. In 1935, it was codified into the highway code as the following route:

“[LRN 3] at Weed to the Oregon State Line near Calor”

This definition remained unchanged until the 1963 renumbering. The route was (and is) signed as US 97.


Acronyms and Explanations:


Back Arrow Route 71 Forward Arrow Route 73

© 1996-2020 Daniel P. Faigin.
Maintained by: Daniel P. Faigin <webmaster@cahighways.org>.