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Keep the Show on the Road!

A Rare Section Of Original Pavement On Us99/ Pacific Highway

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Every so often I “discover” a great new website I want to let others know about. This one will prove to be very useful for anyone interested in the Pacific Highway or US99 in Washington:

 

http://www.ilwu19.com/pacific_hwy/index.htm

 

I have contacted the author and invited him to share his expertise with us.

 

Speaking of the Pacific Highway, I “discovered” some original concrete pavement yesterday. Sit Properly (Eric) asked me for examples I knew about of concrete pavement in Western Washington. I suggested a couple I knew about, then decided to see if some places I thought might have old concrete surfaces, did in fact.

 

The photos below show what is almost certainly a segment of original and very rare concrete pavement on an abandoned section of the old and famous highway. It is pre 1923, based on the lack of a center joint. Given when concrete was first used on highways (abt 1913), and specifically on the Pacific Highway (1916, or perhaps as early as 1914), concrete laid on the Pacific before 1923 was very probably not a replacement hard surface pavement, and thus was the original.

 

I hoped to find a date stamp, as is the case on the 1919 concrete near Reardon, Washington, but I didn't. Of course that stamp was impressed at the end of the section laid each day, so I may have been in the middle of a day's section, and frankly, I didn't check every cross joint anyway

 

For Google Earth fans, go to coordinates 46.461177°, -122.838643° (Laussier Road, north of Toledo, Washington).

 

It will be tough, perhaps impossible, to find another such section in Washington. I did spot (not claiming discovery) an original 1915 concrete bridge in California a few years ago, but we all know that Washington trumps California!! See it here:

 

http://americanroadmagazine.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=1163&hl=%2Bpacific+%2Bbridge

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Looking east toward “modern” old US99

 

ARLaussierWest.jpg

 

 

 

 

Below.....Looking west toward road closure barrier.

 

ARLaussierEast.jpg

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I went back through my photos from my 2009 bicycle tour and I did see that section of 99 pictured. I found a few stretches like that in the area.

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I added a link to the Pacific Highway site on my US 99 tour. Very well put together site!

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Mike,

 

Thanks for the come-back!

 

Rereading your 2009 journal (nothing like a bike trip to view an old road!!), I note you mention and include a photo of another single slab concrete segment north of Burlington, Washington, of which I was not aware. I did not however find mention of other early examples (pre mid 1920's) in Washington. You note “a few stretches like that in the area,” so I'm hoping from your memory or photographs you might identify others.

 

If you identify where some of those other sections of old Pacific Highway original concrete in the area are, I would really enjoy taking a look at them.

 

And you didn't note for readers your outstanding tour site which I have cited below:

 

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/index.html?o=1&doc_id=5240&v=9b

 

Thanks again for the great information!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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Thanks Mike and Dave!

 

The Old 99 in Washington site is amazing and helpful and basically a labyrinth that could wrap me up for days upon days.

 

I agree with Dave, please share the other sections. I live in Everett, and so getting to the ones near Burlington is actually pretty easy. I've driven most of the old alignments between here and Bellingham, so there's a chance I know the roads and have just missed it - the cement here is darker than back east. Why is that?

 

-Eric

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Eric,

 

In a word, Mold.......

 

I really don't know, but judging by everything else, including my driveway and the outside concrete steps to the basement, I would guess some organic surface growth....but like I said, I really don't know.

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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The ilwu19 website was unknown to me and definitely has some good information. I had seen Mike's site before but I really enjoyed revisiting (especially the Columbia River & Mount Hood bits). It doesn't hurt us at all to occasionally be reminded of the cool roads and scenery in the northwest.

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Mike,

 

Thanks for the come-back!

 

Rereading your 2009 journal (nothing like a bike trip to view an old road!!), I note you mention and include a photo of another single slab concrete segment north of Burlington, Washington, of which I was not aware. I did not however find mention of other early examples (pre mid 1920's) in Washington. You note “a few stretches like that in the area,” so I'm hoping from your memory or photographs you might identify others.

 

If you identify where some of those other sections of old Pacific Highway original concrete in the area are, I would really enjoy taking a look at them.

 

And you didn't note for readers your outstanding tour site which I have cited below:

 

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/index.html?o=1&doc_id=5240&v=9b

 

Thanks again for the great information!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Thank you for the plug for my bike tour. I did post photos of many things US 99 on it (and Columbia River Highway). The other section of single-slab I found was at Tucker Rd. There was also some concrete where Jackson Hwy split from 505 near Toledo.

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Mike,

 

I may go down to the Toledo area today and include a look at the “Tucker Road” segment you identified. For others who may be interested, the coordinates are: 46.475895, -122.817637. Looking at Google Earth, there is no doubt that is an old section of concrete, and it clearly is connected to modern US99.

 

The curve doesn't seem to fit somehow in my mind's eye. Of course we don't know the exact roadbed of the old highway at either end of the curve. If that was available, the curve would probably "fit" better. Unfortunately the 1913-14 Chehalis quad doesn't extend that far south. I may stop at the Lewis County Museum to see if they have a period map.

 

I was aware of the other concrete you mention outside Toledo. That one is pretty small. But the one near Tucker is nice. Thanks!!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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Ooh, ouch, looking at the Google Maps satellite view of Tucker Road, it looks like someone was in there with a jackhammer tearing out the concrete. :-(

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Jim,

 

It has some unusual characteristics. First, to my way of thinking, it doesn't look necessary. The road could have gone straight ahead. Maybe the old old road weaved back and forth, maybe around trees, and the old road followed and has since been so obliterated as to make the curve appear to be an aneurism. It connects more like an extension of Tucker Road than the Pacific Highway, but that makes no sense.

 

Then I found a detailed 1925 Metsker map at the Lewis County Museum,, and it isn't on the map! Could be that he ignored a a section of old road? But that was not his practice, and besides, the road was not abandoned, only bypassed. It shows on modern maps.

 

Then when I got to the road, the north half is in beautiful condition, practically free of cracks. But as you note, the southern section almost appears to have been bombed, and has prominent lengthwise cracks.

 

Maybe the ground on the southern portion is more subject to movement, thus the cracks. I even considered that the roads had been laid different years, but they show similar surface wear, and the aggregate in both is very similar. And perhaps the grass was killed on the northern section and didn't enlarge cracks.

 

I'm willing to let these “mysteries” go unresolved.

 

The first picture below is the northern and the second is the southern section.

 

ARNorthern.jpg

 

 

ARSouthern.jpg

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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It looks like the northern section got used and the southern section not so much. But that's just speculation. At any rate, it's a great find, and your photos are mouthwatering. -Jim

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There is certainly an amazing amount of difference between the two sections but they are both pretty cool.

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