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Concrete Hillside

Posted by
Stephen Phillips (San Francisco, United States) on 5 March 2009 in Documentary & Street and Portfolio.

Old U.S. Route 40 through Crockett, California

Until the late 1950's - when the Interstate Highway System came to be - this is the four-lane blacktop that ran from the San Francisco Bay Bridge to Sacramento. Here we are one kilometer (0.6 mi.) west of Crockett (to our left). This hillside was paved decades ago to stabilize the high power transmission lines above. A curious sight.

For a look at the town of Crocket, click here:

© copyright 2018 by Stephen Phillips Photography / Oakland, California /
please respect these rights - do not copy or use these images without permission.

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

It's a curious sight indeed, and a vertiginous wide angle shot: the towers look imponent.

5 Mar 2009 5:50am

sherri from Little Rock, United States

I was gonna say...isn't that concrete? Why did they do that?

5 Mar 2009 6:32am

MontereyJohn from Salinas, California, United States

Interesting. Is that 40 or 50? I thought 40 stopped around Salt Lake as it parallelled i-70.

Interesting shot.

5 Mar 2009 6:37am

@MontereyJohn: I was surprised about this John - but researched the matter years ago and have the original maps. In California - U.S. 40 parallels Interstate 80. At Sacramento - 40 continued along what is roughly I-80. Signs are now posted along the entire route which at times meandered considerably, such as into the town of Rockville to the north and east of Cordelia. From Crockett, U.S. 40 was San Pablo Avenue as it is today - all the way down into Oakland.

U.S. 50 now ends in West Sacramento. Back then, it went south - sharing pavement with Highway 99. At Stockton, they separated and 50 turned east along what is now Interstates 505 and 680 - across the Altamont Pass, through Livermore to Castro Valley and north into Oakland along MacArthur Blvd., and then across The Bay Bridge into good old Ess Eff.

Mike from Lichfield, United Kingdom

It's all a bit ugly isn't it but it makes for quite a dynamic picture. I'm glad you waited for a car to drive past as it adds a lot to the image.

5 Mar 2009 7:37am

Magda from Canada

interesting perspective! interesting image :)

5 Mar 2009 8:11am

yz from Budapest, Hungary

fantastic perspective, how to make art from an ugly place :)

5 Mar 2009 8:19am

Lorraine from Gatineau, Canada

Elementally unbelievable, WOWOW you took that well, love it!!!

5 Mar 2009 11:21am

djedfre from schaumburg, United States

very strange - you sure they just didn't bury something there - like nuclear waste or a crashed saucer? hmmmm.

5 Mar 2009 11:29am

@djedfre: I believe this pre-dates even our earliest nuclear facilities. The saucer on the other hand...

Chris from South Jersey, United States

really cool picture - the towers on top of all that concrete are rather imposing....
I live just off of US Rt 40 at the other end - in New Jersey.....

5 Mar 2009 12:06pm

@Chris: Hey Chris - you might enjoy seeing this:

Marcie from United States

Have never seen anything quite like this. Love your point-of-view..and - of course- the passing red car!

5 Mar 2009 12:52pm

Anthony Lambert from Bielefeld, Germany

Makes for a great photo opportunity,something really different

5 Mar 2009 1:03pm

Betsy Barron from Chester Springs, PA, United States

curious indeed - great scale with the little speeding red car

5 Mar 2009 1:20pm

hugo poon from hong kong, Hong Kong

Like Paco, I also love the wide angle drama... and how the red car helps add interest and heighten the mood!!

5 Mar 2009 3:14pm

dogilicious from Millerstown, PA, United States

Amazingly, Old route 40 passes right in front of the house my wife grew up in - 3000 miles east. At one time it was referred to as the National Pike. This is when a road trip actually had something to see. Great shot.

5 Mar 2009 4:02pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

Interesting image. I see why the paved the hillside given the mudslides that can occur. It wouldn't do to have those towers come down.

5 Mar 2009 4:02pm

@Steve Rice: These two massive towers stand along the south side of The Carquinez Straight - a similar pair on the opposite side. There is almost 1 mile (1.4 km) between them. I can't imagine the weight load of the high-tension wires they carry - and in an area that frequently experiences high winds. A highway, busy rail line, and major shipping channel pass underneath.

Observing from West Cheshire, United Kingdom

That's a big paving job, good job it wasn't crazy paving. Looks like the engineer had an after thought..!

5 Mar 2009 5:09pm

melodia from ffm, Germany

looks kinda weird ... cool!

5 Mar 2009 5:10pm

@melodia: 'Weird' - is why we're here!

Susan from Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States

i also used to drive on 40 in NJ, going down to the shore!!! weird how one road travels so far.... Nice image, and interesting info, about why this was done!!!

5 Mar 2009 5:33pm

Suzanne from Huntington Bch, California, United States

Interesting capture.

5 Mar 2009 6:48pm

sorter from tehran, Iran

just very good

5 Mar 2009 7:05pm

willow from Chelsea, United States

It definitely makes for an odd sight - like maybe somebody wanted to put a parking lot there, but found the angle too steep so they just abandoned it. I like the addition and motion of the red car - adds interest and a good idea of size to the scene.

5 Mar 2009 7:34pm

Viewfinder from Bradenton, FL, United States

I like the motion in that car as it goes by.

5 Mar 2009 8:18pm

DenisSm from Prague, Czech Republic

yes, it is very interesting..if nature do`nt give us hill, we can make it from concrete :-)...

5 Mar 2009 8:19pm

@DenisSm: Nature gave us the hill. Man is just trying to stop nature from letting it move (as hills often do in California).

Alun Lambert from cheshire, United Kingdom

great angle, nice one

5 Mar 2009 10:15pm

Walter from Watkinsville, United States

No matter how much concrete you lay down, something is going to grow in it eventually.

6 Mar 2009 2:13am

@Walter: Ah - life's longing for itself!

Stunner from Kingston, Jamaica

Neat photo and great angle!

6 Mar 2009 2:38am

Tammy-Cricket from United States

My favorite part is the little red car...zoom zoom....Great angle on this.

6 Mar 2009 5:14am

Liang from San Francisco, United States

Great angle looking up. I like your patience on waiting for the PT Cruiser to pass by. =D

7 Mar 2009 4:52am

grant from kansas city, United States

the whole image seems to be humming with the wires. i like it.

8 Mar 2009 3:09am

@grant: The hum is heavily there. Thanks, Grant

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

No mud slides in Texas. Lately it seems it doesn't even rain here.

9 Mar 2009 3:08pm

Calusarus from St Sorlin en Valloire, France

A strange place…

9 Mar 2009 9:15pm

@Calusarus: ( specialty ! )