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State Route 96

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 96From Route 299 near Willow Creek via the vicinity of Weitchpec to Route 5 near the confluence of the Shasta and Klamath Rivers.

Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

In 1963, this routing was defined as "Route 299 near Willow Creek to Route 5 near Klamath River Bridge via the vicinity of Weitchpec."

In 1965, Chapter 1401 changed the terminus to "Route 5 near the north city limit of Yreka via the vicinity of Weitchpec."

In 1968, Chapter 282 changed the terminus again, this time to "Route 5 via the vicinity of Weitchpec near the confluence of the Shasta and Klamath Rivers."

In 1984, Chapter 409 corrected the wording to "Route 299 near Willow Creek via the vicinity of Weitchpec to Route 5 near the confluence of the Shasta and Klamath Rivers."

Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

The original route of signed Route 96 was added to the state highway system in 1919 as LRN 46, running along the route from Jct. US 101 at Klamath to Jct. US 99 near Yreka, via Klamath River. It appears as a projected route by the early 1920 and was under construction from 1922 to 1924. LRN 46 is shown as a functional highway from LRN 3/US 99 west to Weitchpec on the 1930 Division of Highways Map.  LRN 46 northwest to LRN 1/US 101 is shown to be a planned highway along the Klamath River.  Bald Hills Road is shown as a functional connecting local road from LRN 46 in Weitchpec west to LRN 1/US 101.
(Source for some material: Gribblenation Blog: Paper Highways; modern California State Route 169 the unfinished California State Route 96)

The 1934 signage of routes indicated that Route 96 would be signed and aligned over the unfinished LRN 46 from US 101 near Klamath east to US 99 near Yreka via the Klamath River (hence the name; Klamath River Highway).  A 1935 State Highway Map still shows the LRN 46 routing as Route 96, with the routing to Willow Creek as Route 96T. In terms of present-day routing, the portion from US 101 at Klamath to Weitchpec is present Route 169, and from Weitchpec to US 99 (I-5) 9 mi N of Yreka is present-day Route 96.

The 1935 Map shows Route 96T, which by 1938 was Route 96, realigned off of LRN 46 south of Weitchpec to a new routing using LRN 84 to US 299 at Willow Creek.  LRN 84 was added to the State Highway System during 1933.  Tom Fearer surmised on the Gribblenation BLog that it was likely Route 96 was realigned via easier grades of LRN 84, as it followed the Trinity River to US 299.  The planned route of LRN 46 west of Weitchpec followed a far more flood prone Klamath River to US 101.  
(Source for some material: Gribblenation Blog: Paper Highways; modern California State Route 169 the unfinished California State Route 96)

The 1968 change added a small portion of LRN 3 (1910) [the portion from Route 263 to I-5] to the route as a result of a transfer from Route 263.

Status Status

In June 2015, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding a project in Humboldt County that will realign curves, widen shoulders, replace existing culverts, install rumble strips, construct a retaining wall, install guardrail, and overlay bonded wearing course on Route 96 near the community of Willow Creek (~ HUM 0.014). The project is programmed in the 2014 State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The estimated cost is $6,049,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2016-17. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope programmed by the Commission in the 2014 State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

In February 2019, it was reported that the CTC allocated $171,000 in right-of-way support costs for bridge projects on Route 96 and US 101 in Humboldt County. The projects willrevamp three bridges at the following locations in Humboldt County: The Willow Creek Bridge on Route 96 (HUM 000.24, Bridge 04-0135), the Camp Creek Bridge on Route 96 (HUM R037.25, Bridge 04-0066) in Orleans, and the G Street Overcrossing along US 101 in Arcata.
(Source: Lake County Record Bee, 2/6/2019)

In August 2011, the CTC approved $4,725,000 in SHOPP funding for maintenance along Route 96 near Orleans, from Salmon River Bridge (SIS R000.04) to Klamath River Bridge (SIS R015.61) at various locations. This work would rehabilitate six bridges by performing preventive maintenance to provide smoother ride and extend the life of the structures. They also approved $2,160,000 in SHOPP funding to rehabilitate the existing drainage system at 82 locations near Somebar, from Humboldt County line to 1.2 miles east of Scott River Bridge to upgrade drainage system components that have reached the end of their useful lives to reduce maintenance costs and maintenance exposure to traffic.

In December 2021, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding 02-Sis-96, PM 43.5/57.0. Portuguese Creek and Cade Creek Fish Passage Project. Replace existing culverts with bridges at Cade Creek and Portuguese Creek on Route 96 in Siskiyou County. (ND) (PPNO 3620) (SHOPP). This project is located on Route 96 at PM 43.5/43.8, and 57 in Siskiyou County. The Department proposes to replace existing culverts with new bridges at Cade Creek and Portuguese Creek, reconstruct approach roadways, restore stream channels upstream and downstream of the new bridges. The purpose of the project is to provide structurally sound structures that meet current highway standards and fish passage criteria as mandated by State and Federal law. This project is currently programmed in the 2020 SHOPP for a total of $19,739,000, which includes Construction (capital and support) and Right of Way (support). Construction is estimated to begin in 2023. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope as programmed by the Commission in the 2020 SHOPP. A copy of the ND has been provided to Commission staff.  The project will result in less than significant impacts to the environment.
(Source: December 2021 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.2c.(1))

In August 2016, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding a project on Route 96 (02-Sis-96, PM 52.48, 60.17, 88.26) in Siskiyou County that will replace nonstandard bridge rails on three bridges; at Thompson Creek, Seiad Creek, and Beaver Creek; between Happy Camp and I-5. The project is programmed in the 2014 State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The total programmed amount is $16,350,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2017-18. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope programmed by the Commission in the 2014 State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

The 2022 SHOPP included the following new long lead project: 02-Siskiyou-96 71.2. PPNO 3660; ProjID 0216000125; EA 0H730. Route 96 Near Hamburg, at Scott River Bridge № 02-0079. Replace existing bridge deck and widen bridge. Total project cost: $20,623K Begin Con: 6/26/2027.
(Source: “2022 State Highway Operation And Protection Program, Fiscal Years 2022-23 through 2025-26”, March 17, 2022)

Horse Creek Bridge No. 02-0117 (02-Siskiyou-96 PM 76.8/78.0)

Horse Creek BridgeThe following project was included in the final adopted 2018 SHOPP as a "Long Lead Project" in March 2018: PPNO 3629. 02-Siskiyou-96 76.8/78.0. Route 96 Near Horse Creek, at Horse Creek Bridge No. 02-0117, from 0.4 mile west of Klamath River Bridge to 2.0 miles west of Kohl Creek. Replace bridge on new alignment to correct scour critical conditions, improve safety, and reduce operational deficiencies. Note: Environmental approval requires 36 months due to Section 7 formal consultation with NOAA. * PA&ED phase(s) is authorized. Begin Con: 4/27/2024. Total Project Cost: $31,333K.

The 2020 SHOPP, approved in May 2020, included the following Bridge Preservation item of interest (carried over from the 2018 SHOPP): 02-Siskiyou-96 PM 76.8/78.0 PPNO 3629 Proj ID 0216000040 EA 1H360. Route 96 near Horse Creek, at Horse Creek Bridge No. 02-0117, from 0.4 mile west of Klamath River Bridge to 2.0 miles west of Kohl Creek. Replace bridge on new alignment to correct scour critical conditions, improve safety, and reduce operational deficiencies. Programmed in FY23-24, with construction scheduled to start at the end of April 2024. Total project cost is $43,873K, with $33,293K being capital (const and right of way) and $10,580K being support (engineering, environmental, etc.).
(Source: 2020 Approved SHOPP a/o May 2020)

In December 2021, it was reported that the Horse Creek Bridge Replacement Project will replace the Klamath River Bridge on Route 96 in Siskiyou County near Horse Creek. Construction is currently planned to begin in the spring of 2024, with tree cutting in the fall of 2023. Originally constructed in 1953, the existing bridge is planned for replacement due to scour around the piers. The new bridge will be 545 feet long, 44 feet wide, and constructed on a new highway alignment in the area. The purpose of the project is to provide safe, sustainable, and traversable structure to the public, reduce operational deficiencies, improve worker safety, and decrease maintenance and repair costs. The $44 million project will be funded in part by Senate Bill (SB) 1.
(Source: District 2 on FB, 12/21/2021)

In March 2022, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding 02-Sis-96, PM 76.8/78.0 PPNO 02-3629, Horse Creek Bridge Replacement Project. Replace the Klamath River Bridge on Route 96 near Horse Creek in Siskiyou County. The project is located on Route 96 from PM 76.8 to 78.0, in Siskiyou County.  The proposed project would replace the Klamath River Bridge near Horse Creek with a three-span bridge with two 12-foot lanes with 8-foot shoulders.  This project is currently programmed in the 2020 SHOPP for a total of $41,233,000, which includes Plans, Specifications and Estimate, Right of Way (capital and support), and Construction (capital and support).  Construction is estimated to begin in 2023-24. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope as programmed by the Commission in the 2020 SHOPP.
(Source: March 2022 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.2c.(1))

Also in March 2022, the CTC approved the following SHOPP SB1 pre-construction phase allocation: 02-Sis-96 76.8/78.0. PPNO 02-3629; ProjID 0216000040; EA 1H360. Route 96 Near Horse Creek, at Horse Creek Bridge № 02-0117, from 0.4 mile west of Klamath River Bridge to 2.0 miles west of Kohl Creek. Replace bridge on new alignment to correct scour critical conditions, improve safety, and reduce operational deficiencies. (Concurrent consideration of funding under Resolution E-22-13; March 2022.) Allocation: PS&E $2,810,000; R/W Sup $830,000.
(Source: March 2022 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5b.(2b) #4)

Klamath River Bridge (02-SIS-96, PM 103.00/103.6, 02-SIS-263, PM 56.7/57.2)

Rte 263 Klamath River BridgeIn July 2016, it was reported that a historic but deteriorating 85 year old bridge crossing the Klamath River on Route 263 is proposed for demolition and replacement in the near future, according to Caltrans documents. A Caltrans historic bridge survey determined that the Klamath River Bridge meets criteria to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. As such, Caltrans must do some form of mitigation, but it could be as little as an informational plaque. The northernmost of a set of five bridges built in the 1930s on former US 99 through the Shasta River canyon, this piece of road was at that time “the most thickly bridged section” of any state highway in California. An alternate plan to blast tunnels through the rock formations was rejected. The bridge has an unusual 600 foot radius curve built into it, negating what would be sharp right angle turns on the north side. It is of “T-beam” construction, a less common variety of girder design associated with the 1930s. The original “window railings” were replaced with solid barriers in the late 1970s. The new bridge’s design and exact location is yet to be revealed but its construction is set to take out an old residence on the north bank of the river, the former Kamp Klamath (later called Richie’s Store and Gas Station) that served early day motorists.
(Source: Siskiyou Daily News, 7/15/2016)

In January 2017, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding a project in Siskiyou County that will replace the Klamath River Bridge on Route 263 near the city of Yreka (near the intersection of Route 96, making the scope 02-SIS-96, PM 103.00/103.6, 02-SIS-263, PM 56.7/57.2). The project is programmed in the 2016 State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The total programmed amount is $22,940,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2018-19. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope programmed by the Commission in the 2016 State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

In August 2018, it was reported that the CTC approved $18.6 million for a project that will replace the Klamath River Bridge on Route 263 from north of the Shasta River Bridge to Route 96 near the city of Yreka, and Route 96 east of State Route 263 in Siskiyou County.
(Source: Action News Now, 8/20/2018)

In December 2018, the CTC approved the California Department of Transportation’s (Department) request for an additional $4,600,000 for the State Highway Operation Protection Program (SHOPP) Bridge Replacement project (PPNO 3424) on Route 263 and Route 96 in Siskiyou County, to award the construction contract. This is an increase of 30% over the construction capital amount. This project is located at the intersection of Route 263 and Route 96 near the city of Yreka, in Siskiyou County. The project will replace the existing Klamath River Bridge, which is over 85 years old and has deteriorated extensively. The new bridge will be wider than the existing bridge to accommodate wider shoulders to meet current standards. The contract award status is pending approval of this request for supplemental funds. Construction would begin in Spring of 2019, would take 350 working days, and be completed in November 2021.

The Engineer's Estimate (EE) for this project was updated in May 2018 which included consideration of the project’s remote location. In addition, the Department requested an increase to the original programmed amount, to account for both the higher bidding environment and higher construction costs throughout the region. The Department discussed the bid results and compared bid prices with the contractors, including those who opted out of the bidding process. Although 15 contractors, sub-contractors and material suppliers obtained contract plans for the project, only two contractors submitted bids for this project. The contractors stated that this project includes many difficult, specialty contract items which only a few contractors can perform. Some of the difficult items on this contract include constructing the bridge foundation in a rocky, river environment and support falsework for an arch structure over a flowing river. The difficulty to construct this bridge, the bridge’s remote location and environmental constraints due to the proximity of the Klamath River, present added challenges and higher risks to the contractor. All these challenges and risks resulted in a limited number of bidders and higher contract bids. The EE was developed appropriate for the project including the challenging location of the existing bridge. However, the EE was still undervalued as the current trends were beyond expectations. While there are only two bidders on the project, the existing bridge is in an extensively deteriorated condition, and urgently needs to be replaced to ensure the safety of the traveling public. The Department has reviewed the bid results for possible mathematical or material unbalancing in accordance with 23CFR 635.102, and 23CFR 635.114. The bids appear to be mathematically balanced and there is no evidence of material unbalancing of the low bid.
(Source: December 2018 CTC Minutes, Agenda Item 2.5e.(4))

In April 2021, it was reported that Route 263 has been rerouted onto the new new Klamath River Bridge, north of Yreka. There will be intermittent traffic control and closures on both Route 263 and Route 96 throughout summer 2021 as work continues on the project. The old Klamath River Bridge is anticipated to be removed starting in June of 2021 and continue through July of 2021. The project is anticipated to be completed by the end of October 2021.
(Source: Caltrans District 2 FB Post, 4/28/2021)

In August 2021, the CTC approved a request for an additional $500,000 in Construction Support for the SHOPP Bridge Replacement project on Route 263 in Siskiyou County, to complete the construction contract. The project (PPNO 02-3424; ProjID 0200000586; EA 2E480) is located on Route 96 and Route 263 near the city of Yreka in Siskiyou County (02-Sis-263 56.8/57.2, 02-Sis-263 56.8/57.194, 02-Sis-096 103.1/103.6). The project will replace a bridge 8 miles north of Yreka, from 0.3 mile north of Shasta River Bridge to Route 96, also on Route 96, from 0.5 mile west to 0.2 mile east of Route 263. The project’s construction support was programmed for $3,100,000 in the SHOPP for delivery in 2021-22 and was allocated by the Commission in August 2018 for $3,100,000; G-12 funds in the amount of $510,000 was approved in March 2021.  The project was awarded in December 2018 with construction beginning in February 2019.  The project is expected to be completed in November 2021. The remaining budget is $137,000 and is insufficient to complete construction. The project is currently 85 percent complete. The project experienced various obstacles during construction that resulted in an increase to the construction support cost. At the start of construction, differing site conditions were discovered; as there was a discrepancy between the Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and field conditions on site. The DTM did not penetrate the vegetation well enough to capture the ground elevation. The inaccurate survey file created rework for the Surveys and Design team, and triggered a change order work for a cofferdam around the thrust block and additional environmental coordination with California Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service and Regional Water Board.  The cofferdam was not anticipated for this project as the thrust block was originally anticipated to be outside of the waterway. Adding to construction support cost, the contractor’s drilling equipment continuously broke down and delayed the drilling schedule approximately 7 months. Given the remote location of the project, and uncertainty of whether the equipment would be fixed timely, inspectors would remain onsite.  To address the delays, the contractor worked overtime and added extra shifts, which required additional inspection hours from the construction support crew. When the contractor commenced removing the falsework, the first column moved out of alignment. After a design review, it was decided that the contractor must rebuild the column. While reconstruction is the responsibility of the contractor, additional Department staff resources were required to analyze the column, inspect the work, and provide additional survey verification of the falsework and column forms. The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted the resource use of the survey crew. Crews typically stay overnight in Yreka to maximize the time on the jobsite; however, lodging was unavailable which required the crew to return to Redding each day which is two hours away. The additional travel time extended the number of days the crew were needed on site, compounding the overall time spent on the project. These supplemental funds will be utilized to address the additional construction support costs needed as well as the 5-year mitigation plan.
(Source: August 2021 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5e.(6))

In November 2021, it was reported that the new $18 million Klamath River Bridge, a 300-ft. long, one lane in each direction, arch structure located north of Yreka, Calif., constructed by Golden State Bridge Inc. for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), was fully delivered on Oct. 1, 2021. The complex project dealt with many environmental hurdles, which required a unique falsework system envisioned and implemented by Golden State's Project Manager Paul Lukaszewicz, Superintendent Jim Banbury and Project Engineer Evan Huber to meet all concerns of the permitting agencies with no temporary structures in the flowing water. An engineered bridge removal plan also was required to dismantle the old structure and prevent debris from falling into the river. The work took place near the city of Yreka, a Caltrans District 2 initiative, that also widened existing roads for today's standards. The bridge is located at the junction of Route 96 and Route 263. Crews completed the new structure in 2020 and in 2021 realigned the highway to tie it in to the new bridge and removed the old structure. Challenges included extremely difficult pile installation due to high water table, loose overburden consisting of sand couples and boulders with 30 KSI bedrock below. There was an existing utility that interfered with the pile driving — a 60 KV electrical line that had to be relocated. The CIDH pile installation was extremely difficult as there were loose soils over the very hard rock, consisting of sand, gravel and big boulders. Beyond that, the bedrock was 30,000 PSI in water — it was the worst combination of everything for pile installations. The new bridge is west of the old one and its location improved turning radiuses and sight distances and lowered the existing grade considerably.
(Source: Construction Equipment Guide, 11/3/2021)

Naming Naming

State of Jefferson National Scenic BywayBetween Yreka California, and O'Brien Oregon, Route 96, together with US Forest Route 48N01, is designated as "State of Jefferson National Scenic Byway". The Route 96 portion is from Route 263 [263 SIS 49.086 to 263 SIS 57.088] to Happy Camp (~ SIS 88.239 to SIS 103.388).This is in recognition of the once proposed State of Jefferson. Jefferson was proposed to be located in the mountain border region of what is more commonly known as Northern California and Southern Oregon. The State of Jefferson secession movement of 1941 was begun primarily to draw attention to the need of good roads into the back country to access vital mineral and timber resources for defense related purposes before the United States was drawn into WWII. For information on the State of Jefferson, see http://www.stateofjefferson.com/. This appears to have been named at the national level.
(Image source: Living Gold Press, North State Public Radio, Wikipedia)

Named Structures Named Structures

Bridge 04-0240 (nee 04-0402?) (HUM R039.48), at Pearch Creek in Humboldt county, is named the "Henry Edgar Beck Jr. Memorial Bridge". Henry Edgar Beck, Jr. worked as a highway maintenance equipment operator and acting foreman for the State Division of Highways from 1926 to his retirement in 1965. It was built in 1974, and was named by Senate Concurrent Resolution 71 in 1977.

Bridge 02-0177 (SIS R000.04) over the Salmon River (Somes Bar) in Siskiyou county is named the "Carl Langford Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1974, and was named by Senate Concurrent Resolution 143 in 1974. Carl Langford was the owner of the Somes Bar Store and served as the local Postmaster from 1926 until his death in 1949.

Bridge 02-0156 (SIS R005.08), at the Klamath River in Siskiyou county, is named the "Lyle H. Davis Memorial Bridge". It was built in 1970, and named by Senate Concurrent Resolution 127 in 1974. Lyle Davis died March 13, 1974, operating heavy equipment while pioneering a new road for Route 96 near Windy Point between Orleans and Somes Bar.

Scenic Route Scenic Route

[SHC 263.1] Entire route.

According to Dan Kilmer, "Route 96 is very well maintained between I-5 and Happy Camp, CA. (a distance of approximately 63 miles) and is becoming more and more popular with motorcyclists due to the beautiful scenery and very comfortable riding conditions (due to smooth road surfaces). In fact, Happy Camp last year hosted a second annual motorcycle ralley that is fast becoming popular. There is also a not so well maintained road over the Siskiyou Mountains from Happy Camp north to O'Brien or Cave Junction, Oregon and Route 199 that is also very scenic, although it is slow due to lots of tight turns and, in some areas, poor road surfaces."

Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

Statistics Statistics

Overall statistics for Route 96:

Pre-1964 Legislative Route Pre-1964 Legislative Route

LRN 96 was defined in 1933 as the route from "[LRN 23] near Bridgeport to the Nevada line via Walker River." This definition was codified as LRN 96 in 1935, and remained unchanged until the 1963 renumbering. This was unsigned before 1964, and is present-day Route 182.


Acronyms and Explanations:


Back Arrow Route 95 Forward Arrow Route 97

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