Interstate 40 in California
Interstate 40 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of California. The highway runs east-west in the south of the state, from Barstow, just northeast of Los Angeles, to the Arizona border at Needles. One passes through the virtually unpopulated Mojave Desert and east of Barstow there are no larger towns on the route. The route in California is 249 kilometers long.
I-40 at Needles.
In Barstow, a regional town in the Mojave Desert, Interstate 40 exits from Interstate 15, which runs from San Diego to Las Vegas. The highway has 2×2 lanes and runs parallel to Historic Route 66. You pass through the inhospitable Mojave Desert and a little further east is the Mojave National Preserve, a nature reserve. Near the hamlet of Pisgah you pass a solidified lava field. The only place in the desert is Ludlow, a hamlet of dilapidated buildings from the days when Route 66 was still heavily trafficked. Today, that traffic goes via I-40. It crosses a number of dried-up seasonal riverbeds and passes not far from Devils Playground. This area is very remote and there are no facilities for miles around.
One comes over the 793 meter high South Pass, a fairly long climb of 40 kilometers. West of Needles, US 95 joins from Las Vegas and passes Needles, little more than a large town of barely 5,000 inhabitants, but the largest town between Barstow and the Arizona border. That border is not far away and is formed by the Colorado River. First, US 95 merges to cross the desert toward Blythe, onto Interstate 10 150 miles south. It crosses the Arizona border 12 miles southeast of Needles, where Interstate 40 continues in Arizona toward Kingman and Flagstaff.
According to Topschoolsintheusa, the first plans of I-40 in California date from 1947. In 1957 it was proposed to number the road as I-30 because US 40 was already in the state and two identical numbers in one state are in principle not allowed. However, this was rejected and US 40 was renumbered Interstate 80 at the time. The state of California proposed in 1956 and 1968 that State Route 58 between Barstow and Bakersfield also be used as I-40, but this plan failed both times. I-40 eventually replaced Historic Route 66 and some villages on the route have become ghost towns.
The highway was built mainly in the 1960s through the Mojave Desert, in difficult conditions for the workers due to the extremely high temperatures and long distances to villages. Between Barstow and Needles there is not a single village for 200 kilometers. After the construction of the motorway, some truck stops have grown into small towns with facilities for through traffic.
The first section of the highway opened to traffic in 1961 and was a 1-kilometer branch of I-15 in Barstow. Then in 1964 an extension opened from Barstow to Daggett. In 1966, the bridge opened over the Colorado River on the border with the state of Arizona. Large parts of the route were opened up through the Mojave Desert in 1967-1968. The last section to open was the Needles bypass in 1973.
|0||1 Barstow-Montara Road||1 km||00-00-1961|
|1 Barstow-Montara Road||7 Daygett||10 km||00-00-1964|
|153 Park Moabi Road||Arizona state line||2 km||00-00-1966|
|133||141 Needles River Road||13 km||00-00-1967|
|144 Needles||153 Park Moabi Road||14 km||00-00-1967|
|23 Fort Cady Road||Lavic Road overpass||30 km||00-00-1967|
|Lavic Road overpass||50 Ludlow||14 km||00-00-1968|
|7 Daygett||23 Fort Cady Road||26 km||00-00-1968|
|100 Essex Road||115 Mountain Springs Road||24 km||00-00-1970|
|115 Mountain Springs Road||133||29 km||00-00-1971|
|50 Ludlow||78 Kelbaker Road||45 km||00-00-1972|
|78 Kelbaker Road||100 Essex Road||35 km||00-00-1973|
|141 Needles River Road||144 Needles||5 km||00-00-1973|
|Exit 1||Barstow ( I-15 )||19,000||21,000|
|Exit 78||Mojave Desert||13,000||12,000|
|Exit 154||border with Arizona||14,000||13,000|
|exit 0||Exit 153||2×2|