Highway 99

Highway 99 opened in October of 1933. This “engineering marvel” was created with three lanes so the middle lane could be used to “facilitate the passing maneuver”. The first paved highway between Southern and Northern California was called the Ridge Route because it ran along the ridge tops through the mountains between Los Angeles and Bakersfield. The new Hwy 99 was built down in the canyon to the west of the Ridge Route Road and cut many hours of travel time off the dangerous and winding road above. However that middle passing lane proved extremely dangerous to the then faster moving traffic. The passing lane might have worked well if someone would have thought to mark it with passing and no passing lines but it was not and that center lane soon became a suicide lane. A fourth lane was soon added. The only remaining original section of that three lane Highway 99 can be seen to the northeast of Gorman. The new roadway was first called the “Ridge Route Alternate” until a contest was held and it was renamed the “Golden State Highway”.

More on Highway 99 can be found here.