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California Trying To Give Away A Highway

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 29 (UPI) — California’s transit agency is trying to give away a highway that dead ends in the San Gabriel mountains over Los Angeles, but no one wants it.

The U.S. Forest Service and Los Angeles County both want Highway 39 to remain open, the Los Angeles Times reports. The highway provides access to Angeles National Forest for the public and firefighters and to three county dams.

Neither, on the other hand, wants to assume the cost of maintaining a road subject to damage from forest fires, landslides, falling rocks and floods. Caltrans puts the annual upkeep at $1.5 million a year.

Highway 39 runs from the city of Azusa to Crystal Lake, where the Forest Service recently spent $6 million upgrading a campground. When it was built in the 1920s, it connected with the Angeles Crest Highway, but a 1978 landslide blocked the last 4.4 miles, creating what Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler called “essentially a 27-mile cul-de-sac.”

The highway provides access to about 500 homes and is vital for some business owners.

Adam Samrah, a Turkish immigrant, bought the Crystal Lake Snack Bar Trading Post in 2002, only to see the area closed by a forest fire. He finally opened in March and says closing Highway 39 “would destroy me.”

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