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Looking Back: Cuesta Grade Project Is Assured 

Looking Back Paso Robles

Click here to read the full front page of the June 16, 1936, Paso Robles Times.

Excerpt from the June 16, 1936, Paso Robles Times

President Signs Federal Aid Bill Which Provides 1936-37 Biennium Funds

Final and positive assurance that the realignment of the tortuous Cuesta Grade will become a reality within the next year was made today by Senator Chris N. Jespersen, upon receipt of telegraphic information that the President has signed a Federal Aid Bill providing funds for this work.

According to information received by Jespersen from H.R. Judah, highway commissioner, of Santa Cruz, the Cuesta project will be included in the 1936-1937 biennium funds.

Following is the telegram received by Mr. Jesspersen:

Speed Up Action

Although it is impossible to say at the present time, as to the exact date when bids for the work will be let, or when the actual reconstruction will be started, Senator Jespersen declared Monday that he is making every effort to speed up this action, and that results can be expected probably before the close of the summer.

The Cuesta Grade improvement has been the major goal of civic leaders, service clubs and other organizations through the county. Nearly a year ago as an association of businessmen was formed, for the purpose of waging an active campaign to bring the realignment project to a head.

Several meetings were held in this county and a canvass of the territory from San Luis Obispo north as far as San Jose was made by Wm. Kullgren of Atascadero. This brought considerable enthusiasm from newspapers and businessmen as far as 200 miles north of the bottle-neck grade and is believed to at least partially responsible for the final approval.

Following this, the California State Chamber of Commerce named the Cuesta Grade its “number one” project for improvement and recommended immediate action.

New Route Surveyed

The new route has already been surveyed, preliminary to the actual widening, and a fast four-lane highway is planned. According to engineering reports, the maximum grade will be increased from 6 ½ to 7 per cent. This would not slow down traffic, it is explained, because the average car would be able to travel at 50 miles per hour on a straight sever per cent grade.

The summit of the present grade will be lowered 50 feet, and the northern approach will be straightened by means of a huge fill in the vicinity of the railroad tunnel entrance.

The cost of the project is estimated at approximately $650,000.

In his telegram to Senator Jesperson, Judah also declared that he is working for a survey of the Paso Robles-Cambria road, a much desired route which would provide a highly scenic gateway from the valley to the coast.

Read previous Looking Back articles


This “Looking Back” view at Paso Robles history comes from one of the hundreds of local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. Several local newspapers, dating from the 1800s, have reported on local, national and world events, providing priceless historical views of our community that are not available from any other source. The Historical Society is seeking community support for the multi-phased Newspaper Preservation Project to help fund the transfer of these aged and fragile pages to microfilm and digital images. See the society website for more information about becoming a member or donating to any phase of this project.

The Paso Robles Daily News is pleased to support this important project. Watch this space for future “Looking Back” articles.

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.