3 votes

Newcastle Tunnel


Taylor Road Newcastle

West portal

Photo taken by Craig Philpott in May 2010


BH Photo #166310

Street View 


"The Newcastle Tunnel. In September of 1930, one of the greatest undertakings in the history of California highway building, a new Highway 40 tunnel under part of the town of Newcastle to replace the existing narrow, curvy, hilly route through town, was begun. For years the Newcastle bottleneck with its curves as sharp as fifty feet in radius and dangerously steep grades presented serious problems to both through and local traffic. The new tunnel and its approaches, cut through almost solid rock, was hailed as one of the great engineering feats of the day. The tunnel proper was 531 feet long with it approaches adding several hundred additional feet to the project. When it was completed and opened to the public in 1932, it shortened the existing route through town by a quarter of a mile and reduced the grade by seventy-four feet. The new tunnel roadway was thirty feet in width with three foot walks on each side. The height of the tunnel itself was twenty feet above the center of the pavement, thus allowing passing of the largest trucks of the day. The Newcastle tunnel served as an important link on old Highway 40 until the 1960' s when the Interstate 80 freeway bypassed both the tunnel and the old Highway 40 which is today known as Taylor Road." Leonard Davis in "Newcastle - Gem of the Foothills"


Former Hwy 40 Tunnel under Under hillside and UP Railroad on Taylor Rd
Placer County, California
Open to traffic
This US Highway 40 tunnel opened in 1932 bypassing the bottleneck in the community of Newcastle.
- Hanrahan Co. (Contractor8)
- Southern Pacific Railroad (SP)
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
Reinforced concrete Tunnel
Span length: 549.9 ft.
Total length: 549.9 ft.
Deck width: 30.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 20.0 ft.
Also called
Taylor Road Tunnel
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.87646, -121.13381   (decimal degrees)
38°52'35" N, 121°08'02" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/661883/4304722 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Gold Hill
886 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 45381 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 14, 2013: Updated by Mike Lynch: Provided revision on name and historical information and photos
  • August 24, 2012: New photos from Brian Smith
  • May 26, 2010: New Street View added by Craig Philpott
  • May 24, 2010: Added by Craig Philpott


  • Craig Philpott - craigphilpott63 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Brian Smith - casigns28 [at] outlook [dot] com
  • Mike Lynch - lynch3212 [at] wavecable [dot] com