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Modern Sinclairs

Modern Sinclairs

Joseph Pierce Sinclair
1910 - 1964

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you may have driven on the =
Sinclair Freeway.  This stretch of Interstate Routes 280 and 680 =
provided San Jose with its first freeway service.  The concept for the =
freeway took shape during the tenure of Joseph Sinclair as District =
Engineer in charge of District IV, California State Division of Highways =
(now Caltrans), from 1959 to 1964.  Route location studies were =
initiated in 1955, and adopted as part of the Interstate System in 1962.

By a special act of the California State Legislature, the portions of =
Interstate Route 280 between Route 17 and Route 101 in San Jose, and of =
Interstate Route 680 from Route 101 north to the Alameda County line =
were officially named the Sinclair Freeway.

Much planning and research went into the design of this freeway in order =
to provide both a beautiful and functional facility.  The City of San =
Jose and the Division of Highways negotiated a cooperative agreement for =
the development of park and recreational facilities within the freeway =
right-of-way at six locations along this route in a precedent-setting =
Freeway/Parks concept.

To make the freeway more compatible with the adjacent residential =
properties, the first noise barrier in the Bay Area was installed.  The =
freeway passed through an old Olive orchard.  Many of the trees were =
removed and replanted within the freeway right of way to preserve these =
old trees.  The freeway was landscaped and was officially designated as =
a "landscape freeway".  When a freeway gets this official designation it =
eliminates the possibility of outdoor advertising being placed adjacent =
to the freeway.

Sinclair was a pioneer in the design and routing of the State's great =
freeway system.  Born in Minnesota in 1910, he joined the Division of =
Highways in 1932 as rodman on a survey party, after graduation from the =
University of Southern California as a civil engineer.  Subsequently, he =
filled positions of increasing responsibility as a freeway planner, =
designer, and builder in San Diego and Los Angeles, prior to coming to =
San Francisco in 1952.  During World War II he served as Lieutenant =
Commander in the US Navy Seabees, stationed in the South Pacific.  At =
the time of his death in 1964 he had become nationally known in his =

In designating a freeway in his honor, the legislature for the first =
time named a highway after a civil engineer.

This branch of the Sinclair line traces its lineage back to Duncan and =
Christie McNaughton Sinclair, who emigrated from Scotland to Broadalbin, =
New York, in 1797.

Submitted by his son,
Mike Sinclair

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