Newberry Springs' Route 66
Now A National Scenic Byway !
Posted: February 17, 2021
Newberry Springs Community Alliance
by Ted Stimpfel
The Bureau of Land Management has announced that the U.S. Department
of Transportation has now officially designated Route 66 between the Colorado River and
Barstow as a National Scenic Byway !
Route 66 travels an asphalt ribbon from Chicago to Santa Monica
traversing Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and
Currently, the entire Route has a reported distance of 2,278 miles.
During its better days, Route 66 was often altered by cities. The L.A. area,
for instance, has a spaghetti patchwork of Route 66 alignments. As different
roadways were improved, the Route was changed for better traffic flow.
An old tire marks the location of Siberia. Siberia was a service
station stop on Route 66 between Klondike and Bagdad.
Originally, Route 66 ended in Los Angeles at Broadway and 7th
Street. It was later extended out to Santa Monica.
The section of Route 66 between Needles and Barstow has more
bridges on Route 66 than all of the remaining seven states combined.
Many are the original wooden bridges that have more than doubled their original
A portion of the new National Scenic Byway between Essex and
Mountain Springs Road has remained closed for a few years due to bridge washouts.
Due to heavy desert rains, the aging wooden bridges regularly
have maintenance problems limiting some bridges to only handle a limited amount
The County of San Bernardino, dependent upon state road funds,
has had difficulty acquiring maintenance funds for Route 66 due to the
limited number of vehicles that use the road. With bridge weight limits
and washouts, the vehicle count remains low and the state funding is based upon
A BLM California Gateway rest stop adjacent to Route 66 is located between the
Colorado River and the city of Needles.
With, the National Scenic Route designation, additional maintenance
funds are expected.
The Route 66 drive between Needles and Newberry Springs has the
best-preserved original scenery along the entire 8-state Route. Route 66
officially opened on November 11, 1926. Traveling between Needles and
Newberry Springs, travelers see pretty much the same undeveloped scenery as
viewed over 90 years ago.
With the new designation, traffic through Newberry Springs is
expected to slowly increase.
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