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<= Funding California's Roads

Leaving Depression Road! =>


California’s varied terrain, consisting of mountains, rivers, deserts, valleys, and coastlines, presented a challenge to highway engineers. Road builders used some heavy machinery, but often laborers toiled with pickaxes and shovels to complete early highway construction projects.

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In 1918, California’s Highway Commission oversaw only 2,300 miles of state roads and highways.  Over the next four decades, however, the state’s highway system underwent drastic changes.  Through construction of new roads and improvement of old routes, California expanded its highway system to include over 13,800 miles of road by 1960.

In 1918, California’s Highway Commission oversaw only 2,300 miles of state roads and highways. Over the next four decades, however, the state’s highway system underwent drastic changes. Through construction of new roads and improvement of old routes, California expanded its highway system to include over 13,800 miles of road by 1960.

Records of the Department of Public Works, Division of Highways, California State Archives


Early cautionary sign of the Division of Highways, circa 1930.

Early cautionary sign of the Division of Highways, circa 1930.

Records of the Department of Public Works, Division of Highways, Office of the Highway Engineer, California State Archives


Photographs of construction on Route 4 in Los  Angeles County and Route 2 in San Diego County, 1914-1915.

Photographs of construction on Route 4 in Los  Angeles County and Route 2 in San Diego County, 1914-1915.

Photographs of construction on Route 4 in Los  Angeles County and Route 2 in San Diego County, 1914-1915.

Photographs of construction on Route 4 in Los  Angeles County and Route 2 in San Diego County, 1914-1915.

Photographs of construction on Route 4 in Los  Angeles County and Route 2 in San Diego County, 1914-1915.

Photographs of construction on Route 4 in Los  Angeles County and Route 2 in San Diego County, 1914-1915.

Photographs of construction on Route 4 in Los  Angeles County and Route 2 in San Diego County, 1914-1915.

Photographs of construction on Route 4 in Los  Angeles County and Route 2 in San Diego County, 1914-1915.

Photographs of construction on Route 4 in Los Angeles County and Route 2 in San Diego County, 1914-1915.

Records of the Dept. of Public Works, Division of Highways, California State Archives



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