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Antelope Valley Freeway
The Antelope Valley Freeway is a freeway in Los Angeles and Kern counties in southern California. It is signed as California State Highway 14 along its length. It connects Greater Los Angeles to the rapidly developing Antelope Valley, and then, via U.S. Highway 395, to the Owens Valley, Lake Tahoe, and Reno, Nevada.
It begins in the Santa Susana Mountains, just north of Newhall Pass, by splitting from the Golden State Freeway (Interstate 5) and proceeding in a northerly direction. Forming the eastern boundary of the city of Santa Clarita along its route, it continues to the northeast and crosses the western San Gabriel Mountains via the canyon of the seasonal Santa Clara River. After entering the Antelope Valley, it turns due north, crossing the California Aqueduct and passing through Lancaster and Palmdale. It continues across the Los Angeles/Kern county line before terminating at California State Highway 58 in Mojave. CA-14 continues northward, as an expressway in most portions, to U.S. 395 in Inyokern.
Begun in the late 1960s, the Antelope Valley Freeway was nearly complete when the February 9, 1971 Sylmar earthquake completely destroyed its interchange with the Golden State Freeway and wrecked large portions of its route through the San Gabriels. Rebuilt to stronger specifications, it again suffered major damage during the 1994 Northridge earthquake and was closed, but reopened within a year.
Rapid exurban growth in Santa Clarita, Lancaster, and Palmdale has made the Antelope Valley Freeway one of the most congested in southern California, with average rush hour speeds well below 20 miles per hour. In response, the government of Palmdale has successfully campaigned for the proposed high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco to follow the Antelope Valley Freeway's right-of-way and stop in Palmdale before crossing the Tehachapi Mountains at Tehachapi Pass. Such a route would add 20 minutes to the train's travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but would be considerably safer than the earthquake-prone Grapevine Canyon route along the Golden State Freeway's right-of-way, and facilitate the much-discussed development of the Palmdale Regional Airport as an alternative to LAX.
Since the 1950s, proposals have also been made to bypass the Antelope Valley Freeway by boring a massive tunnel underneath the San Gabriels and extending the Glendale Freeway through it to the Antelope Valley Freeway just south of Palmdale. The difficulty of such a project, and the costs of insuring it against earthquakes and terrorism, would like make its cost prohibitively expensive to perpetually cash-strapped Caltrans.
As it is built to interstate highway standards, it is likely that the Antelope Valley Freeway will be designated as a subsidiary route of Interstate 40 (most likely receiving the designation I-340) once the freeway upgrade to all of CA-58 between California State Highway 99 and Interstate 15 is complete.
Communities along the Antelope Valley Freeway include:
- Santa Clarita
Freeways intersecting the Antelope Valley Freeway include:
- Golden State Freeway
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