The “Ridge Route”
California Historic Civil Engineering Landmark
— Constructed 1914-1915 —
In front of you in the hills, high above freeway Interstate 5, is a portion of the historic 1915 two-lane “Ridge Route". The power lines follow it.
The original Ridge Route was constructed in 1914-1915 by pick, shovel and mule drawn Fresno scrapers. Placed on the ridge to avoid drainage problems and reduce earthwork, the ridge portion of the road was almost a continuous set of short radius reversing curves, 697 curves in 36 miles. This was the first highway crossing of a major mountain range by the newly formed California State Department of Highways. In 1933, the opening of Highway 99 to the west relocated the original roadway off the ridge.
This significant highway was the first primary highway connecting Northern and Southern California. It was a major factor in keeping the state from dividing into two states with the Tehachapi Mountains as the border between them. As traffic increased, upgrades and additions in 1933, 1952 and 1968 created the 8-lane divided freeway, Interstate 5, you see below you. The 1933 and 1952 roadways are beneath the waters of Pyramid Lake behind you.
The "Ridge Route” has progressed considerably
This plaque is dedicated to the men and women who planned, designed, constructed and now maintain this historic civil engineering masterpiece.
Erected 2008 by American Society of Civil Engineers.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the ASCE Civil Engineering Landmarks series list.
Location. 34° 39.774′ N, 118° 45.604′ W. Marker is near Gorman, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Vista Del Lago Road and Interstate 5. Located in the parking lot of the Vista Del Lago Visitor Center, open daily 9-5. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 38500 Vista Del Lago Rd, Lebec CA 93243, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Castaic Powerplant (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Reservoir Summit (approx. 2 miles away); Kelly’s Halfway Inn (approx. 2.2 miles away); Swede’s Cut (approx. 2.6 miles away);
More about this marker. This marker is only accessible when the parking lot is open, daily from 9 to 5.
Regarding The “Ridge Route”. This road was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. The road is currently closed to vehicles, from one mile north of Templin Hwy which is above Castaic Lake, to six miles south of Hwy 138. Efforts to reopen it are ongoing.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . . Ridge Route Preservation Organization. Working to reopen the road. (Submitted on August 16, 2018.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 1, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. This page has been viewed 329 times since then and 123 times this year. Last updated on June 29, 2020, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 1, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. 4. submitted on July 2, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. 5. submitted on July 1, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. 6. submitted on July 3, 2018. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.