Route 66 News

Part of Route 66 in Mojave Desert may remain closed until 2016

Route 66 closed, Mojave Desert

A portion of the National Trails Highway (aka Route 66) from Essex, California, to just east of Amboy, California, may remain closed until 2016 because flash flooding in September 2014 damaged the roadway and bridges there, according to a San Bernardino County official.

The flooding washed away about 50 bridges from Essex to Ludlow, California. The section from Ludlow to Amboy reopened in late January after weeks of repairs by county road crews. But from Amboy to Essex will need more time, according to an email from Brendan Biggs, deputy director of the San Bernardino County’s Department of Public Works:

Public works staff has been making roadway and bridge repairs and opened the sections except the section between Essex to Mountain Springs. The section from Cadiz to Mountain Springs Road/I40  will remain closed for several months if not a year. After a close evaluation from our structural engineers, the 3 remaining bridges were found to be beyond repair at this point and must be replaced. We are working with State OES in seeking emergency funds and concurrently working on design. These bridges are timber and were constructed in the 1930s.

A county web page also elaborated on the more-complex repairs that must be done to the damaged bridges in the still-closed section.

The County has received Federal Funds for two bridges and are planning to replace them in 2015. These bridges are located east of Kelbaker Road. Due to designation of Route 66 as a registered historic highway, non-traditional designs are being developed that satisfy the unique cultural and biological requirements for this area. The designs used for these two bridges will help guide future replacements and assist in streamlining the process.

In January 2015, the department hired a consulting firm to evaluate all of the bridges and to develop a funding strategy over a multi year period. The bridges will be grouped and prioritized for federal funding submittal. The funding is not guaranteed and these bridges must compete state wide for the federal funds. For bridges under 20 feet, other source s of funding must be found.

A map of closed roads in San Bernardino County may be seen here.

The county also has imposed weight restrictions on old Route 66 through that area. They won’t affect cars or pickups. But large RVs have difficulty traversing parts of that road.

(Image of closed National Trails Highway, aka, Route 66, via San Bernardino County)


One thought on “Part of Route 66 in Mojave Desert may remain closed until 2016

  1. Randy Cox

    Darn! And this is one part of the journey that I really loved too. When I was on this route the last time I went (2010) I was taking pictures of the landscape and rustic pix around Amboy. I wished I would ve taken the time to take pix of those cute bridges along the route. I love old stuff and old bridges. They were historic and always wonder when they built them and how they did it

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