Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Runner's Ridge Route resolution becomes law

By Patti Shea
Signal Staff Writer

Thursday, October 4, 2001

C
altrans will make way for a plaque to commemorate the historic Ridge Route at Castaic Junction under an Assembly resolution that became official Tuesday.
    The resolution, by Assemblyman George Runner, recognizes the significance of the road that linked Los Angeles and Bakersfield since 1915. The road was replaced in the 1960s by Interstate 5.
    "The Ridge Route is historic in that it opened up travel between southern and northern California," said Runner, R-Lancaster. "It played a tremendous role in California's economic development, so it is fitting tribute to commemorate this special road."
    Assembly Concurrent Resolution 98 instructs Caltrans to grant an easement for the placement of a monument and plaque at the junction of Interstate 5 and state Route 126 when the junction is reconfigured in the next few years. Runner carried the bill at the request of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, on behalf of the newly formed Ridge Route Preservation Organization.
    The 30-mile-long Ridge Route runs from Castaic Junction north, parallel to the Grapevine. Much of its expanse was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1997.
    Harrison Scott, Preservation Organization president, was delighted with Runner's interest in the road.
    "This road is an extremely historic aspect to California," Scott said. "If they didn't put in it, California would have been two separate states."
    Scott said he receives letters and e-mail messages from all over the world about the road.
    "It's beyond my imagination about the interest in the Ridge Route," he said
    Additionally, Scott said there is a history of controversy over the ownership of the road that extends to today.
    "Los Angeles County disavows any ownership of the road," he said. According to Scott, the county Department of Public Works conducted a title search on the road that proved inconclusive.
    However, Scott said, a deed from about 1934 was discovered, showing the county's ownership. The board of supervisors considered abandoning the road in the 1960s after the I-5 was constructed, but decided not to, he said.
    Scott said the U.S. Forest Service is the only agency that currently provides funding for the road's maintenance.


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