Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Dedication of ASCE Ridge Route Monument
Pyramid Lake

Click image to enlarge





October 18, 2008 — (Caltrans photo caption): At the podium is Dan Freeman, Deputy District Director for Maintenance accompanied by (from left) Ridge Route historian Harrison Scott, Warren Minner and Don Sepulveda.

Ridge Route Named a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
A historical monument designation is placed to mark milestone achievements of transportation pioneers.

In 1915, along the rolling hills above Interstate 5, in north Los Angeles County, a roadway still known as the original "Ridge Route" was carved out of a mountain by forward-thinking transportation pioneers. It was a two-lane, gravel, partially paved narrow and winding roadway that lined the way for the modern roadways of today especially and particularly the Golden State Freeway or I-5.

Last month, on October 18, through the efforts of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Ridge Route Preservation Organization and transportation historians, the "Ridge Route" was officially designated a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Dan Freeman, Deputy District Director for Maintenance, represented Caltrans at the Pyramid Lake Recreation Center to officially place the historical monument designation on the famous Ridge Route along I-5 to memorialize and celebrate the historic achievements of transportation pioneers.

The Ridge Route was initially a 53-mile portion of the first 123-mile roadway that was constructed between Los Angeles and Bakersfield, primarily by pick and shovel. The route has rich history and beauty all its own, complete with scenic views of Castaic Lake, the rolling hills of the Tehachapi Mountains and the San Joaquin Valley. It was constructed through the Tehachapis over the Tejon Pass and down the "Grapevine" grade. It was named that way because the major portion of the road was placed on the ridge of the mountains west of Castaic Creek to avoid drainage problems and reduce maintenance and earthwork. It was the very first highway to cross a major mountain range and began a physical connection, a critical link between northern and southern California. And it was "the first highway crossing of a major mountain range by the newly formed California State Department of Highways," according to the writing on the new monument.

When the Ridge Route was built, Pyramid Lake was just a river and there was no freeway. In those very early years of highway building, the area was studied by Caltrans engineers and surveyors, who made their way on foot along the Ridge Route and what is now the eight-lane I-5. According to one of Caltrans early surveyor, Dick Murphy, who recently retired, "This was a daunting challenge for California's highway engineers working for the Division of Highways back then." He and a team of engineers and surveyors walked that distance from Castaic to the Kern County line, over 30 miles one way, to map out the alignment of I-5, eventually transformed a huge mountain into a landmark in freeway surveying, planning, engineering, construction, operations and maintenance or the famous Golden State Freeway the backbone of the state highway system.

"They are some of the transportation heroes of the era of highway building," Freeman added. On behalf of Caltrans, Freeman publicly thanked Don Sepulveda, Warren Minner and ASCE members; Harrison Scott, President of the Ridge Route Preservation Organization; Andy Machen, P.E., Caltrans District 8; and the United States Forest Service for their efforts to preserve the rich history of this famous roadway.

Award Nomination 2008-2009.

Each year, through the efforts of the History and Heritage Committee, the Section dedicates a historic landmark. These landmarks remind us of the efforts of engineers and how they have solved engineering challenges throughout history. These dedications begin through the diligent efforts of a project champion. This champion works with the project from the inception through the dedication by handling all the logistics, development of the plaque, and the ceremony

The Section, through the efforts of Warren Minner, P.E. LM. ASCE, dedicated the Ridge Route as a significant civil engineering landmark. The Ridge Route was the main roadway between Southern California and the Central Valley. This route was instrumental in providing a link between the two agricultural regions of California and was largely responsible for the economic growth of the state.

The committee, working under the leadership of Warren Minner, succeeded in securing a prominent permanent location for the monument. This work included the construction of a concrete pad and landscaping. The monument is located at the Department of Water Resources Visitor Center at Pyramid Lake and overlooks Interstate 5, the highway that eventually replaced the Ridge Route.

The dedication was October 18, 2008 and featured folk music, refreshments and remarks from Warren Minner, Section President Don Sepulveda, Caltrans District Director for Maintenance Dan Freeman, and Historian Harrison Scott.

The Section is working on the dedication of a plaque honoring Marilyn Jorgenson Reese, the first licensed woman civil engineer in California. Our History and Heritage Committee has been working on procuring funding and a location for this dedication. The Section has provided the funding and has worked to procure a location for the plaque. The dedication is expected to occur this fall.

The Section worked closely with the Engineers Without Borders in publicizing events through our Calendar, emails and website so that all ASCE members are informed of mutually beneficial events.

Through the ASCE LA Section YMF, whose chair serves on the ASCE LA Section Board, numerous exhibits and public service projects were undertaken. Section members were invited to participate in all of the events. In some of the events, such as the Popsicle Bridge Contest discussed under Part E, the Section President Don Sepulveda, P.E., F. ASCE was a keynote speaker. The events were well publicized, funded and supported by the ASCE LA Section. These events provide a vital service for the membership of the Section. In addition to the numerous outreach events that the Section YMF groups, they also work closely with our ten ASCE student chapters to ensure that they have the tools that they need to succeed.

CT0801a: 19200 dpi jpeg | Online image only.

Historical Monument

• Legislation 2001
• Pre-Story 2001

Civil Engineering Monument


Dedication 2008 x3

RETURN TO TOP ]   RETURN TO MAIN INDEX ]   PHOTO CREDITS ]   BIBLIOGRAPHY ]   BOOKS FOR SALE ] is another service of SCVTV, a 501c3 Nonprofit • Site contents ©SCVTV
The site owner makes no assertions as to ownership of any original copyrights to digitized images. However, these images are intended for Personal or Research use only. Any other kind of use, including but not limited to commercial or scholarly publication in any medium or format, public exhibition, or use online or in a web site, may be subject to additional restrictions including but not limited to the copyrights held by parties other than the site owner. USERS ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for determining the existence of such rights and for obtaining any permissions and/or paying associated fees necessary for the proposed use.