LA's Oldest Freeway Gets New Old Name - NBC Southern California

LA's Oldest Freeway Gets New Old Name

When construction began in 1938, the road marked the beginning of Los Angeles' massive freeway system



    LA's Oldest Freeway Gets New Old Name
    Library of Congress
    An entrance sign at the beginning of the Arroyo Seco Parkway in Pasadena at Wallis Street, looking southeast.

    How's this for a freeway transition: The Pasadena Freeway, which used to be called the Arroyo Seco Parkway, will now be called the Arroyo Seco Parkway once again.

    The re-re-naming of a portion of the 110 Freeway will come with new lighting, a better center divider and low walls on the shoulders. The Department of Transportation decided those changes warranted a return to the road's roots.

    California highway officials have been installing new connector road signs reading "Pkwy" for weeks. The LA Times reported that the signs will cost about $650,000.

    The Pasadena Freeway was called the Arroyo Seco Parkway when the first 6-mile section opened in 1940. The parkway is located between the four-level interchange in downtown and Glenarm Street in Pasadena.

    At the time of its construction in 1938, it was a marvel of engineering. Then-Gov. Culbert Olson declared the much-needed transportation link the "first freeway in the West," according to the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER).

    The HAER calls the scenic Pasadena-LA route "a prominent example of the evolution from recreational parkways to more utilitarian high-speed freeways." Check out HAER's photo gallery for some vintage images of the area and the 1938 road construction project.

    The road improvements are part of a $17 million rehabilitation project for the eight-mile highway. It's expected to be completed by next spring. 

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