California Route 39

California Route 39 is a closed road with persistent landslides

California State Route 39 is the name of a winding mountain road located on the boundary between Orange and Los Angeles counties, in the U.S. state of California. The northerly portion of road, also known as San Gabriel Canyon Road, has been closed since 1978.

Where does California State Route 39 start and end?

Set high in the San Gabriel Mountains of California, the road is totally paved and features steep and curvy parts. It’s 80.495 km (50 miles) long, running south-north from Pacific Coast Highway (SR 1) to Islip Saddle on Angeles Crest Highway (SR 2). The road has been used for the final race in the film Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.

Is California State Route 39 open?

The road was completed in the early 1960s. But the northern section of the road -the last 9.65km (6 miles) running from Snow Springs north of Azusa to SR 2 at Islip Saddle-, was closed to the public in 1978 due to a massive mud and rockslide. Another rockslide in 2005 damaged more of the remaining roadbed. The road is closed indefinitely to automobile traffic because of persistent landslides along its route. Route 39 is one of the more varied state highways in the Los Angeles area but portions of the road are partially covered in dirt or badly eroded. It’s passable by foot or bike, as major sections are completely washed out down the west side of Mount Islip into the canyon below. The zone seasonally receives extreme snow levels, avalanches, and rock slides. It would cost a total of $100 million USD to repair the road. While the road is passable to emergency vehicles for the entire closed length, sections near reoccurring rock slides become narrow dirt roads which are not suitable for passenger vehicles. The local geology and slope instability continue to impede necessary water flow, and cause extreme flooding of the roadway at times. The estimated cost to repair the highway is $100 million.
Pic: Bo Lorentzen



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