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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).  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.

By 1938, Route 96 was 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 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.

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

The 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 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.

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

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