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California Highways

The History of Southern California Freeway Development
(Part 2 - 1950s)

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By the 1950s, the freeway construction boon had begun, and interstate highways began to appear. Planning began for an extensive freeway system for Southern California. The two maps below show some of the planning that resulted. Figure 2 (below) comes from the "In Our Path" site, and illustrates the plan for freeways in 1956. Figure 3 (below) is from an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, and illustrates the 1958 plan for freeways. Both of these plans appear to have been drawn up by local transportation agencies, and appear to contain plans for routes that never made it into the 1964 highway system (in fact, they contain routes that weren't even in the 1963 state highway system)

[Thumbnail of 1956 Freeway and Expressway Plan]
(click on image for the full-size map. Full-size image size: 33.1K)
[Thumbnail of 1956 LAMTA Plan]
(click on image for the full-size map. Full-size image size: 273K)
Figure 2-1. 1956 Freeway and Expressway Plan for Southern California [IOP56] Figure 2-2. 1956 Proposed Freeway System (LA Metropolitan Traffic Association [LAMTA56]
[1958 Planning Map Small Image]
(click on image for the full-size map. Full-size image size: 138K)
[Thumbnail of 1956 LAMTA Plan View 2]
(click on image for the full-size map. Full-size image size: 262K)
([PDF] Acrobat Version: 1.5MB, but more detailed
Figure 2-3. 1958 Metropolitan Transportation Engineering Board (MTEB) Freeway and Expressway Plan [MTEB58a] Figure 2-4. 1958 Metropolitan Transportation Engineering Board (MTEB) Master Plan of Freeways and Expressways [MTEB58b]
[1957 Times Map]  
Figure 2-5. Late 1957 Map of Planned Freeways from the April 25, 1957 Edition of the Los Angeles Times
(Published in the Daily Mirror Blog)

It is interesting to compare these various plans to the 1947 plan. Some routes are the same. Some are new. The maps show roughly the same routes, although they focus on different areas. Some notes on these maps in comparison to each other and compared to the 1947 plan (in alphabetical order):

On the eastern portion of the city, much is unchanged from 1947. There is still the East By-Pass, and the Rio Hondo Freeway; freeways that disappeared by 1963. Other well-known routes were still there or showed up for the first time: San Gabriel River, Long Beach, Pomona (not in 1947), Garden Grove.

The 1958 MTEB map also shows numerous expressways and additional freeways on new, and quite likely difficult to build, alignments—this certainly was the age of planning. Take a look for the following:

Luckily, a number of these proposals were abandoned, as can be seen in part 3.

Return to Part 1

Continue with Part 3

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© Daniel P. Faigin.
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