February 2022 Open Meeting

Our Zoom meeting series continues! On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 6 pm, we are holding our second meeting for 2022. This meeting will focus on our plan to reopen the roadway with the USFS. We will discuss the plan, as it is currently written, and work to expand parts of the plan with your ideas. We want to hear from you! Join us and help reopen the Ridge Route!

To register for the meeting, use the link below:

https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0tdeGhpj8iE9PSVIigPIpmRPfZHgBvblUU

January 2022 Open Meeting

We are trying out something new this year. As stated in our last newsletter, we are starting to hold more regular meetings, albeit online via Zoom, to help keep everyone updated on the roadway, give presentations on various aspects of the history of the road or special features, and give time to share stories about the roadway.

For our January meeting, Michael Ballard will be sharing photos from the last two trips over the roadway showing the current state of the Ridge Route and giving an update on the status of upcoming events. Come join us on Thursday, January 20 at 6 pm!

To register, please use the link below:

https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwtde-pqTwiH9TT3Z5xjxm-nQPIO_qrZhRl

January / February 2022 Newsletter

Ridge Route Update

On December 18, 2021, we went on an inspection trip over the Ridge Route to assess what the latest storms have done to the roadway. What was saw was very mixed but encouraging overall. Small rockslides were common from Serpentine Drive all the way to Sandberg. Some were a bit larger and will require tools to remove. We did remove many smaller rocks along the way and cleared the roadway to the best of our ability. Our next CUTRR event is still in the works but will involve clearing a few drains between Kelly’s and Reservoir Summit and rock removal at Serpentine Drive.

As we are in a somewhat rainy season, use extra caution when traveling the roadway. Whether the gates are open or not, do not travel the road just after or during a storm. Rockslides could trap you, the gates could be closed behind you, and you will likely damage the roadway in the process. We appreciate your support and understanding.

Rocks covering the roadway, again, at the August worksite on Serpentine Drive. Courtesy – Michael F Ballard
Eventually, we’d like to move this boulder even further. The fact it remains the largest on the road is somewhat encouraging at least. Courtesy – Michael F Ballard
Largest rockfall on Serpentine Drive, just north of the August worksite. A few hits with a hammer should break these down for removal. Courtesy – Michael F Ballard
Swede’s Cut was passable but needed a lot of work. Courtesy – Michael F Ballard
Blocked culvert near Reservoir Summit, causing material to accumulate on the roadway. Courtesy – Michael F Ballard
Between Kelly’s and the Tumble Inn. This puddle is the result of poor drainage and must be fixed. The original pavement can’t even be seen here. Courtesy – Michael F Ballard

Monthly Meetings via Zoom

We are working on putting together monthly meetings, open to the public, to talk about the Ridge Route, what is happening, future CUTRR events, and its history. There is a lot going on and things are looking positive for the Ridge Route, more than they have in the past. These meetings will be online via Zoom. We want to get more people engaged in our continuing efforts to reopen the roadway and help keep it preserved. The schedule is still being worked out, so make sure you’re subscribed to our website to stay informed. Our first meeting is likely to be held in late January.

Public Forums

In the next few months, we are planning to start an online forum on our website for the Ridge Route where you can swap stories, learn about the roadway, and share your knowledge of the roadway. These will be open to all, with some sections being for RRPO members only. Stay tuned for more details!

Website Subscription

Make sure to subscribe to our site to get updates on upcoming CUTRR events and Ridge Route news.

Reporting Problems on the Ridge Route

With all the recent fire activity as well as other events such as January 26 when big rigs tried to travel the Ridge Route, we thought it was a good idea to have a place to report things. If you see something wrong on the Ridge Route, be it a developing washout, large vehicles traversing the roadway, or things out-of-the-ordinary, we have have set up a web page to help you report things on the road. We will pass the information along to the appropriate agencies as needed.

To Report Problems or other issues on the Ridge Route, please use the website below. The web page is also located under our “Current Roadway Conditions” page in the menu.

Featured Photo

North of Reservoir Summit. Courtesy – Michael F Ballard

One of the many interesting features along the Ridge Route is the superelevated roadway. Between Reservoir Summit and Kelly’s Halfway Inn, this reaches a “fever pitch”, with the pavement acting like a warped ribbon across the mountain. It is one of my favorite sections of roadway. What is your favorite part of the road?

2021 In Review

2021 has been a good year for the Ridge Route and the RRPO. We have accomplished a fair amount this year starting with two CUTRR events resulting in a clearer roadway and a better appreciation for the work we have before us. We intend to have more events in 2022 and, using the knowledge gained from the last two events, we will accomplish even more using better tools. We have also worked to survey the roadway about once a month since we gained access to the closed section. These trips not only offer the opportunity to experience the roadway and take photos, but to review what we need to do to help preserve it. Each time we go up there, we seem to find something new. Sections of original striping, wooden railing, and even some concrete curbing have been found that was thought to have been lost. Each trip is an adventure. It is something we look forward to many more being able to enjoy in the future.

The RRPO continues to have a good working relationship with the USFS, something I intend to use to help the roadway as much as possible. I know things have seemed slow and unchanging, but that isn’t the case. We are currently working with the USFS to develop a plan to reopen the roadway, keep it maintained, and restore the monuments along the roadway. It is frustrating at times but we are persistent and we will prevail. It will be reopened, it will just take time.

Reopening the roadway isn’t as easy as just leaving the gates open. The road surfacing is now over 100 years old and we want to do what we can to ensure it lasts for a long time to come. Reopening the roadway now would not be beneficial to that goal. There are steps that must be taken prior to that point. The concrete has sections where the reinforcing bar is exposed. Asphalt sections are failing. Portions of the roadway are in danger of being washed out. We need to stabilize these sections first before we would feel comfortable in having the roadway open. We are the Ridge Route Preservation Organization and without the Preservation, we’d have no Ridge Route left to protect. Our intention is still to get the roadway reopened as soon as possible, but with some restrictions to help keep the roadway safe. The main restrictions would include having the roadway open only during the dry season to reduce damage to the pavement during the winter months and ensuring overweight vehicles are not allowed on the roadway through the use of additional signage as well as working with mapping companies to reduce the problem. A study is already underway by the County of Los Angeles to potentially restrict trucks along their section of the roadway, initiated by us. Once the roadway is scheduled to reopen, we intend to work on the monuments that have long since faded away along the roadway.

All these things take time, money, and effort. We wish to thank all those that have donated their time, their money, and effort to the Ridge Route and the Ridge Route Preservation Organization. We couldn’t have accomplished what we have so far without your support. We will continue to need that support even after the roadway is open again. Special thanks goes out to Harrison Scott without whom we wouldn’t even be this far. We would also like to thank Ray Kidd with the Angeles National Forest for helping us and guiding us as USFS volunteers.

If you’d like to help with the reopening plan or any other part of the Ridge Route efforts, let us know!

November – December 2021 Newsletter

Ridge Route Update

With winter coming, we will be shutting down our CUTRR projects until March or April 2022, depending on how winter goes. Planning gets to be a bit more difficult when dodging rain and snow storms. Those same storms also bring additional hazards to the historic roadway. To ensure both yourself and the roadway stay as safe as possible, please do not travel the roadway during or just after a heavy rain or snow storm. Mud, rocks, and other debris may be present on the roadway blocking the roadway. The concrete paving is also most vulnerable during this period and can be easier to break with a wet base. We can all do our part to help keep the roadway safe.

Overall, the roadway is in decent shape with some major exceptions. Those exceptions are a part of our CUTRR goals and what we intend to get the USFS to repair as needed. The gates at both ends remain closed and as always, if you see them open DO NOT expect them to remain open for the duration of your visit. USFS, utility companies, and other groups with access may close the gates behind them.

We are working with the USFS to “upgrade” our relationship with them as well as get approvals to use heavier equipment, such as skid-steers and scrapers. Using them will allow us to clear the roadway a lot easier and with greater speed while still ensuring the historic roadway remains intact. Our last two events have mostly used hand tools, which we still will use for smaller projects and to clear brush as needed. I do wish to thank ALL that have contributed to the success of these events, in any way they have contributed. Some have done so financially, others brought tools, many others have been helping swing picks and clear debris. We couldn’t, nor could we continue, to do this without all your efforts. Thank you Ridge Route volunteers!

October 23, 2021 CUTRR Event Report

CUTRR crew hard at work

We had another successful CUTRR event on the 23rd. We set the date later in October with the hopes the weather would be cooler and the fire danger would have subsided. We got that and more. It rained a bit the night before, but not enough to cancel or cause a problem. It rained / drizzled yet more when we all met in Gorman. However, when we got to the work site, the weather was near perfect.

The work was hampered a fair amount due to the lack of heavier equipment. Should we do this again without skid-steer/bobcat-type equipment, we intend to use powered tools, such as jackhammers and the like to break up and remove the debris from the roadway. We hadn’t really used such equipment in the past and I hadn’t considered it before as a result.

Despite using just hand tools, we made really good progress, thanks to our volunteers. The drain was cleared, channels were dug to help direct the water better, and a decent amount of material was removed to help prevent this from getting worse. Repairs to the drainage culvert will be necessary in the near future, however, as it is starting to rust and develop holes.

Finished for the day.

If you’d like to help plan the next CUTRR event, let us know! We can use the help.

Website Subscription

Make sure to subscribe to our site to get updates on upcoming CUTRR events and Ridge Route news.

Reporting Problems on the Ridge Route

With all the recent fire activity as well as other events such as January 26 when big rigs tried to travel the Ridge Route, we thought it was a good idea to have a place to report things. If you see something wrong on the Ridge Route, be it a developing washout, large vehicles traversing the roadway, or things out-of-the-ordinary, we have have set up a web page to help you report things on the road. We will pass the information along to the appropriate agencies as needed.

To Report Problems or other issues on the Ridge Route, please use the website below. The web page is also located under our “Current Roadway Conditions” page in the menu.

Featured Photo

Ridge Route in Castaic with Castaic Dam in the right background. Courtesy – Michael F Ballard

This month’s featured photo shows a section of the Ridge Route which seems insignificant, but contains a great deal of history. It was taken on Castaic Lake Drive just north of the Castaic Lagoon entrance. This location marks the end of the 1915-1917 Saugus to Castaic paving, the 1922 widening of the 1917 paving (the small strip of concrete at the edge of the roadway), the beginning of the “true” Ridge Route 20′ wide paving, the first curve on the Ridge Route, and the former junction with Elizabeth Lake Canyon Road (now Lake Hughes Road). Come check out this unique piece of Ridge Route history next time you visit Castaic or Castaic Lake.

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