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The Crosstown Freeway and Old Highway 30

Part 2: BR 30/Old CA 30 in San Bernardino and Highland (Highland Avenue); BR 18 (Sierra Way) and CA 18 (Waterman Ave); Old CA 30 and Old CA 106 in Redlands (Boulder Avenue)

Go to: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

[Riverside/San Bernardino 1947-1999] Click the thumbnail at right to open a new window with a scrolling map showing Riverside and San Bernardino in 1947, 1957, 1963, 1969, 1974, 1977, 1984 and 1999.

Before the Crosstown Fwy (Part 1), however, there was Highland Avenue, which along with the Base Line was the major east-west drag through the San Bernardino valley. Until the freeway was fully connected in 1992 it still remained an important section of CA 30's routing, and after the freeway was fully finished, it remained Business Route 30 and those shields persisted for many years despite California's generally poor attention to business routes. Because BR 30 is inextricably tied to the history of CA 18 and its own Business Route 18, we will also take a detour down BR 18 through north San Bernardino too.

Also in this Part, we'll look at old CA 106, which became part of CA 30 in 1972 as we explained in the introductory blurb in Part 1. CA 106 was incarnated in 1963 between Highland and Redlands to take up the slack of LRN 190 that CA 30, then continuing on what is now CA 330 along City Creek Road to Big Bear, was not covering otherwise; as you will recall, in 1972, CA 106 was in fact replaced by CA 30 proper and the CA 330 designation created for the old City Creek routing. There are no more scars of CA 106 on its old routing on Boulder Avenue, but there are some remnants of CA 30 (some even still extant) and we will see them too.

As in the prior Part, the majority of these signs have sadly been removed.

Highland Avenue (Business Route 18, Business Route 30)

Going back to the Highland Avenue exit from southbound CA 259 (Part 1), we now exit to traverse Highland Avenue east of the Interstate 215 N/S plumbline and the old CA 30 routing east to Highland.

As a reminder of its heritage, an old white business banner sat on the trailblazer shields at the mouth of the offramp until around 2009.
Another CA 30 also sat at the end of the northbound offramp. We saw this interchange in the prior Part as well.
EB Highland Avenue. Despite all those 30s, the first shield on Highland Avenue in this direction was for BR 18, with a then-relatively new state-erected shield.
A couple blocks down is Sierra Way. Here, our routes split and we see our first BR 30 advance signage just before the intersection.
Sierra Way.
If we kept heading east on Highland past Sierra, then we start seeing BR 30 shields in the flesh.
However, turning back west, we again are met with BR 18 shields.

Detour: Sierra Way (Business Route 18)

So let's explore BR 18. CA 18, for those unfamiliar, was an original 1934 state highway and one of the longer routings in Southern California, stretching from the northern San Bernardino Mountains down past Big Bear into San Bernardino and Riverside to terminate at Long Beach. As originally designated (as the map sequences on the scrolling map demonstrate), CA 18 descended from the San Bernardino Mountains into the city along Sierra Way, heading east on Highland to E Street where it joined CITY US 66, then south to 5th St (4th Street in its earliest days, see Old Highway 395 Part 15), and east to Mount Vernon Avenue where it joined US 395 and later US 91 for points south. In 1968, after the CA 259 freeway was completed (signed as CA 18; see Part 1 for why), CA 18 was moved from Sierra Way to Waterman Avenue north of that point and the relevant portions of Sierra and Highland became BR 18 south and west to connect to the "CA 18 freeway." This means that today BR 18 extends quite a bit further south than the modern highway does, though still not as far as CA 18's greatest extent, of course (it was not truncated until around 1961).

NB Sierra Way/BR 18.
BR 18 shield and banner while crossing CA 30 CA 210 at 30th St. This shield disappeared in 2011.
NB Sierra Way at 35th St.
40th St.
Around 44th, Sierra Wy starts to curve northeast to join Waterman Avenue.
However, the actual intersection between Sierra and Waterman is one way, so we curve east on 48th to meet the highway.
High speed traffic definitely doesn't do well on this road.
Junction CA 18.

Double Detour: CA 18

What the heck, it's a nice day. Let's go up into the mountains for a little bit.

San Bernardino national forest boundary, almost immediately upon leaving the urban area proper which seems to be built right up to the foothills. The result is predictable during fire season.
CA 18 is now an expressway up the mountain towards its (rather perilous) interchange with CA 138. The old routing survives as Old Waterman Canyon Road; the Waterman in Waterman Ave and Cyn is Governor Robert Waterman, who moved to San Bernardino in 1874 to invest in the mining industry and was elected to Lieutenant Governor in 1886, becoming Governor in 1887 after the death of Gov. Washington Bartlett.
PM 10.
The expressway is an improvement over the Old Waterman Cyn route, but it's still pretty gnarly.
Curving around up to Crestline, with Mount Baldy in the background.
PM 16.31. In many places expanding the alignment into the mountain was not possible, so it was expanded out from it instead. Since this is entirely thin air, a lot of the upgrade alignment is built on steel stringer bridges glommed onto the ledge.
The perilous CA 18/CA 138 interchange is a modified trumpet clinging onto the cliff, which we get a better view of lower down the mountain as we approach it.
Marker for the Mormon Lumber Road. In 1851, the Mormons descended through what is now the Cajon Pass to settle San Bernardino (see our Old Highway 395 exhibit, Part 15 and Part 18, for more history about San Bernardino and the Cajon Pass). Sufficient lumber was required to build their settlements and sufficient lumber was indeed found in Waterman Canyon, but getting it back down to the San Bernardino valley was well-nigh impossible. To expedite transport over one hundred Mormon men put in a good thousand man-days of work to run a road up into the prime timber groves, and six sawmills were industriously churning out lumber by 1854. Mormon lumber found its way throughout much of southern California, not just the Inland Empire, where the boards were nicknamed "Mormon banknotes."
Approaching the interchange. Yes, we are hanging over the precipice here. It's kind of a weird, acrophobic spot to have grade separation.
END CA 138 at the interchange, with a idiotically tiny END banner. CA 138 returns the favour to CA 18 by being CA 18's western terminus near Phelan.
With most of the Crestline traffic branching off on CA 138, CA 18 downgrades into one-lane-per-direction highway to finish its ascent. We turn back around here.
Exit for CA 138 from SB CA 18, which doesn't really do the interchange justice.
Views of the highway as we descend south.
San Bernardino city limits at PM 11.23.
Business 18 signage as we approach the north end of Sierra Way again.
For some reason, the Sierra Wy exit signage leads the actual gore point by a comparatively large distance.
CA 18 heads back down Waterman straight ahead (left) on the bypass expressway alignment, while Sierra Way branches off (right) into the business district.
This time, we'll continue down Waterman and over the CA 30 CA 210 freeway back to Highland to continue our trek.

End Detour(s)

Getting back on EB Highland Avenue at Waterman, but south of CA 30 CA 210, so now it's no longer CA 18.

A lonely set of BR 30 shields cling here to the traffic mastarms. These are the last, furthest east BR 30 shields along Highland Avenue, and are as of this writing (June 2020) still up.
Entering Highland city limits. An old CA 30 postmile survives here, but was repainted and given a reflective hazard strip for the guardrail.
Advance signage for CA 330, which is still a couple miles on.
Passing by the Patton State Hospital, a 1287-bed facility psychiatric forensic hospital responsible for the treatment of suspects judged incompetent or otherwise unable to stand trial, suspects found not guilty by reason of insanity, and mentally disordered inmates or those placed under conservatorship. I know a bit about Patton because I spent some time there. As a medical student. Not, you know, involuntarily. Going through the sallyport every day was always unnerving.
Junction Boulder Avenue.
[Boulder and Highland Ave, 1948, 56K.] Boulder Avenue is where CA 106, and CA 30 after it, went south to Redlands along the continuation of LRN 190; at right is a thumbnail showing the former junction as it existed in 1948 (click for a 56K enlargment in a new window). However, we'll follow modern Highland Avenue out to the current City Creek route (CA 330) for completeness.
Junction CA 330.
This reconfigured interchange is where CA 30 originally simply headed north along City Creek into the mountains. At that time it was connected together, of course, as a continuous highway. In 1992, a full interchange was constructed with CA 30 to the south (which we saw in Part 1) as part of the CA 30 project and crossings built for Boulder and Highland Aves in 1993. As you will recall from Part 1 as well, the remnant of CA 30's old routing is that the postmiles for CA 330 no longer start at zero and instead at R28.7 to add up to this milepoint, PM 29.53, the point at which CA 30 subsequently deviated south. The Caltrans bridge log still marks this point as "JCT RTE 30/BEGIN 330" despite being almost a full mile north of CA 330's signed end.

Since this picture was taken, District 8 has been revising the control cities on CA 330 (presumably at the behest of SANBAG) to say Big Bear instead of Mountain Resorts.

Highland Avenue today continues past the old intersection, but this extension is later construction having nothing to do with the former route, so we'll turn around here.
Overlooking the CA 330 freeway as it ends just north of the Highland Ave interchange along City Creek.
The City Creek route is actually a moderately old one, inaugurated as LRN 207 (1939) and upgraded in stages between 1947 and 1952 culminating in its original designation as CA 30. It is a nice shortcut into the mountains -- only 16 miles between CA 30 and CA 18, versus around 26 miles from CA 30 to CA 330 (the same point) for CA 18 -- but it has fewer sections of full expressway and is a bit twistier making it a little more troublesome to drive.
"TO 30" signage on the SB CA 330 onramp as we head west again. This has been replaced with a CA 210.
Boulder Avenue (Old CA 106, Old CA 30)

Turning around, we take Highland Avenue back to Boulder Avenue, the former routing of CA 106, and then the former routing of CA 30. While nothing (I have found) survives of the former CA 106, Boulder Ave is riddled with marks from old CA 30.

Technically we re-enter San Bernardino city limits here, but we'll be back in Highland very quickly.
Turning left/south.
This old sign used to sit at the southeast corner and appears to date from the CA 30 days, but it's gone as well.
A remnant of the former CA 106/CA 30 is this expressway-like segment with median and advance signage at intersections between Highland and Base Line.
Just south of Base Line Street is the former City Creek crossing which we saw in Part 1; compare the postmiles, including this one which shows a T endorsement for temporary mileage. This is of course quite different from the bannered Temporary CA 30 we saw in Part 1 as well.
[San Bernardino and I-15, CA 30, CA 18, CA 106, CA 206; 1969] Between Base Line and Orange Street, old CA 30 followed a slanting direct diagonal routing, and at the end of its life, so did CA 106. However, the original routing of LRN 190, the Legislative Route Number that predated CA 30 and CA 106 (see the introduction in Part 1), went along several 90 degree turns instead. I'm not going to do these here because CA 30 never went that way and it's not entirely clear from period maps what the actual routing was, but the closest modern approximation is Baseline St east to Webster St, south to Eucalypus Ave, east to Orange St and then south from there. By the 1950s, this was replaced with the slant routing that CA 106 used and later CA 30.
CA 30 postmile on the "slant."
At 5th Street are various remnants of not only old CA 30, but also old CA 30 when the freeway ended at 5th (see Part 1). The City of Highland removed most of this in stages between 2011 and 2013. None of it remains exactly as shown here, though some of the shields were merely changed for CA 210 and the signs left.
Approaching the intersection from the west on EB Fifth, notice the CA 30 trailblazer indicating the route continues from Fifth to north on Boulder (which it did previously).
To corroborate that, approaching the intersection from the south on NB Boulder is this sign showing CA 30 heading both west back to the modern freeway and north along Boulder. The 330 faded greenout is probably covering a 30.
Finally, from the east on WB Fifth was this assembly saying "TO 30" and now, of course, says TO 210. We turn left and continue south on Boulder towards Redlands.
Orange Street (Old CA 106, Old CA 30)

Upon entering the City of Redlands, Boulder changes to Orange St.

The Plunge Creek bridge has another old bridge postmile on the northbound side at PM T32.06 (another Temporary postmile).
They do traffic signals a little differently out here.
Continuing into Redlands.

Orange St/CA 38 (Old CA 106, Old CA 30)

At Lugonia Avenue we pick up CA 38. A curious irregularity exists here in LRN 190: it continued not only south (with us in this case) towards LRN 26, which was US 99 then, later US 70-US 99 and now Interstate 10, but also east up to (again) CA 18 near Big Bear along modern CA 38 today. The southern spur to US 99/I-10 (then LRN 26) was originally CA 106 and was transferred to CA 38, meaning CA 106 ended here in 1965. After CA 30 took over CA 106 in 1972, however, it seems that this stub was returned to CA 30 and CA 38 once again truncated to this point. When CA 30 was transferred to the freeway in 1984, CA 38 finally took the spur back, so now we continue south into Redlands along old CA 106, old CA 30 and modern CA 38.

The arrow at the junction, of course, should be pointing east, not south.
But we're not on CA 38 for very long as we reach the END and Interstate 10.
The weatherbeaten green END has been replaced by a glaringly erroneous BLUE one. We get on I-10 west and travel out to the western segment of CA 30 to complete our grand circuit.
Advance signage for CA 30, this time from WB I-10.
Continue to Part 3
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