A Photographic Look at the Construction of 5 SoCal Freeways

A Photographic Look at the Construction of 5 SoCal Freeways

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To mark the arrival of "Carmageddon," the weekend-long closure of the 405 freeway through the Sepulveda Pass, L.A. as Subject' latest contribution to KCET's SoCal Focus blog looks a thte construction of five Southern California freeways:

As Angeleños prepare to survive the upcoming weekend without access to a ten-mile section of the San Diego Freeway, our thoughts may turn to L.A.'s pre-freeway era, a time before it was possible to cruise through the Los Angeles basin at 70 miles per hour, a time when freeway construction was an occasion for celebrity photo-ops rather than an excuse to coin apocalyptic portmanteaux.

In the twenty years between 1950 and 1970, more than 500 miles of freeways were built in L.A., Orange, and Ventura counties. Southern California welcomed them with the pomp and circumstance usually reserved for foreign dignitaries. Movie stars and governors christened the new concrete rivers, and many Southern Californians drove to construction sites to pose in photographs of half-built highways rising from the ground.

The photos below, culled from several regional archives, illustrate that junction between L.A.'s pre- and post-freeway eras, when work crews built bridges and on-ramps but also razed houses and split neighborhoods. They show construction work on five Southern California freeways: the Hollywood Freeway (U.S. Highway 101), one of L.A.'s first; the Harbor Freeway (Interstate 110); the Santa Monica Freeway (Interstate 10); the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405); and the Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210).

Keep reading the full post

—which features 21 archival photographs—on the KCET website.