California State Route 152

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State Route 152 marker

State Route 152
Route information
Defined by S&HC § 452
Maintained by Caltrans
Length: 104.419 mi[1] (168.046 km)
(plus about 1.5 mi (2.5 km) on US 101)
History: State highway in 1916; SR 152 in 1934
Major junctions
West end: SR 1 in Watsonville
  US 101 in Gilroy
I‑5 near Santa Nella
SR 165 in Los Banos
SR 59 near Los Banos
East end: SR 99 near Chowchilla
Highway system
SR 151 SR 153

State Route 152 (SR 152) is a state highway that runs near the latitudinal middle of the U.S. state of California from Watsonville to Route 99 southeast of Merced. Its western portion (which is also known as Pacheco Pass Road and Pacheco Pass Highway) provides the best access to and from Interstate 5 toward southern California for motorists in or near San Jose.

This route is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System[2] and is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System.[3]

Route description[edit]

Eastbound traffic and signs on Route 152 at its interchange with Route 156.

Route 152 begins near Route 1 as a series of local streets that run through downtown Watsonville: East Lake Avenue carries it to the intersection of Casserly Road. This point marks the start of a winding two-lane highway that crosses the Santa Cruz Mountains through Hecker Pass to reach Gilroy. In Gilroy, it is again carried on a series of local streets, then overlapped onto U.S. Route 101 for a small stretch before it separates again a short distance to the south and returns to heading east/west on more local streets in Gilroy.

After exiting the large commercial developments near U.S. 101, Route 152 consists of a single lane in each direction, with narrow shoulders, rain ditches on either side of the road, no center dividers, and posted speed limit of 55 mph (89 km/h), making it prone to head-on collisions. Headlights are required at all times along this portion. This segment is a significant bottleneck for traffic traveling along Route 152 between the San Francisco Bay area and the Central Valley. Upon reaching Route 156 near Hollister, the road expands to two lanes in each direction, and climbs and curves along the valley of Pacheco Creek into the mountains of the Diablo Range, crossing them through the Pacheco Pass into the San Joaquin Valley.

Route 152 continues as a four-lane divided expressway, descending along the northern and eastern shore of the massive San Luis Reservoir. The route passes in between the San Luis Dam and the O'Neill Forebay. The route continues east and passes a large Path 15 substation and then meets Interstate 5 as an expressway. It becomes a speed-limited city street, Pacheco Blvd., while passing through Los Banos. It then returns to an expressway until its eastern terminus at Route 99. Here, eastbound 152 traffic merges on to southbound 99 a few miles northwest of the city of Madera, and approximately 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Fresno. Motorists wishing to travel north on Route 99 are advised to take Route 233 north through Chowchilla to connect to northbound 99. Another possible northbound route exists by exiting Route 152 at State Route 59, and proceeding directly north to the city of Merced, where Route 59 meets Route 99.

The landmarks located on Route 152 include the Pacheco Pass, the Gilroy Gardens, the San Luis Reservoir, the Casa de Fruta and the Merry Cherries.

History[edit]

1939 map of Route 152 alignments between Bell Station and Pacheco Pass.[4]
1963 map of Route 152 alignments at San Luis Reservoir.[5]
Highway 152 Tree Row
Highway 152 Tree Row.jpg
Nearest city Gilroy, California
Built 1930-1931
NRHP Reference # 07000635[6]
Added to NRHP July 3, 2007

The road became popular as a route east during the California Gold Rush. The Butterfield Overland Mail ran along this route from 1858 to 1861. A portion of Route 152 from Bell Station to Pacheco Pass was a toll road from 1857 until 1878. In that year, Merced County and Santa Clara County purchased the toll road and replaced it with a new road built as a public highway, part of which is now a segment of Whiskey Flat Trail in Pacheco State Park. In 1915, the road became part of the state highway system, and in 1923, the state built the third road through the pass. Historic references say the portion of the route west of SR33 was named Legislative Route 32 before being designated State Route 152.[7][8][9]

The 1923 state route between Bell Station and Pacheco Pass had numerous curves and steep grades. In 1939, a realignment of 2.6 miles of highway was completed eastward from the Pacheco Lake area (starting about a mile east of Bell Station). In 1950, the first four-lane expressway segment was constructed from the 1939 alignment to near the Merced County line, a distance of 3.26 miles.[4][9][10] The 1939 and 1950 alignments continue to be in use today.

In 1963-65, a new 12-mile four-lane expressway, with climbing lanes for trucks, was built from the Merced County line eastward, to bypass the San Luis Reservoir which was then under construction.[5][11] A three-mile stretch of the bypassed road continues to be in use as Dinosaur Point Road, providing access to a boat launch ramp at the reservoir.

Between 1982 and 1992, the road was widened in three stages from two to four lanes, with some realignments, on a 10.5-mile segment from the four-lane section completed in 1950 to just east of the junction with California State Route 156, with an interchange built at Casa de Fruta.[citation needed] In 2008, a T-junction and stop sign at the intersection with Route 156 on the remaining two-lane section of the highway west of Casa de Fruta was replaced with a flyover, greatly easing congestion there.[12]

A segment of Route 152 west of Gilroy, between the Uvas Creek Bridge and Santa Teresa Blvd, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.[6] This segment of the road, serving as a western gateway into Gilroy, is lined with deodar cedar trees that were planted on consecutive Arbor Days in 1930 and 1931.

Major intersections[edit]

Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured on the road as it was in 1964, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. R reflects a realignment in the route since then.[1] The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.

County Location Postmile
[1][13][14]
Exit Destinations Notes
Santa Cruz
SCR T0.31-8.29
Watsonville T0.31 SR 1 north – Santa Cruz Interchange; westbound exit and eastbound entrance
T2.50 Freedom Boulevard – Freedom
T3.27
0.00
Lincoln Street
  R1.99 Holohan Road, College Road – Freedom, Santa Cruz
  3.69 Carlton Road, Casserly Road
Santa Clara
SCL 0.00-R35.16
  5.03 CR G8 (Watsonville Road) – Morgan Hill, San Jose
Gilroy 7.93 Santa Teresa Boulevard Serves Gavilan College
M9.43
US 101 Bus. south (Monterey Street)
West end of US 101 Bus. overlap
M9.78
US 101 Bus. north (Monterey Street) / Welburn Avenue
East end of US 101 Bus. overlap
M10.28
R7.53[N 1]
US 101 north / CR G9 (Leavesley Road) – San Jose Interchange; west end of US 101 overlap
  West end of freeway on US 101
  East end of freeway on US 101
R6.08[N 1]
R9.91
US 101 south / 10th Street – Los Angeles Interchange; east end of US 101 overlap
  12.81 CR G9 (Ferguson Road)
  14.89 CR G7 (Bloomfield Avenue)
  R21.98 SR 156 west – Hollister Interchange; no westbound entrance
  R23.41 Casa de Fruta Parkway Interchange
Merced
MER R0.00-R40.95
  11.27 60 SR 33 north to I‑5 north – Santa Nella, Gustine Interchange; west end of SR 33 overlap
  13.85 I‑5 – Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles Interchange
Los Banos 21.27 SR 165 (Mercey Springs Road) to I‑5 south – Turlock
  R32.37 SR 33 south – Dos Palos, Mendota Interchange; east end of SR 33 overlap
MercedMadera
county line
  R40.77–
R0.06
SR 59 – Merced Interchange
Madera
MAD R0.00-15.63
  10.80 SR 233 (Robertson Boulevard) to SR 99 north – Chowchilla Interchange
Califa 15.63 SR 99 south – Madera, Fresno Interchange; eastbound exit and westbound entrance; former US 99
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  1. ^ a b Indicates that the postmile represents the distance along US 101 rather than SR 152.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Staff. "State Truck Route List" (XLS file). California Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ CA Codes (shc:250-257)
  3. ^ CA Codes (shc:260-284)
  4. ^ a b Payson, H. (September 1939). "Pacheco Pass Realignment Job Completed Abolishing 31 Curves" (PDF). California Highways and Public Works (Sacramento, California, United States: Department of Public Works, State of California) 17 (9): 6–7. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Kroeck, Louis (March–April 1963). "Pacheco Pass, Highway Relocation Includes 11,400,000-cubic-yard Fill" (PDF). California Highways and Public Works (Sacramento, California, United States: Department of Public Works, State of California) 42 (3-4): 45–49. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  7. ^ Myer, Chuck, report: Pacheco Past: A History of the Gateway to Santa Clara County, (San Jose, California: Pioneers of Santa Clara County, 1992), page 9.
  8. ^ Shumate, Dr. Albert, Francisco Pacheco of Pacheco Pass, (Stockton, California: University of the Pacific, 1977). This information is repeated in other sources.
  9. ^ a b Levier, G. (March–April 1951). "Pacheco Pass, Portions of Historic Road Realigned To Meet Important Industrial Needs" (PDF). California Highways and Public Works (Sacramento, California, United States: Department of Public Works, State of California) 30 (3,4): 34–37. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  10. ^ Skeggs, Jno. (February 1939). "Pacheco Pass Realignment Deletes 31 Curves, Steep Grades" (PDF). California Highways and Public Works (Sacramento, California, United States: Department of Public Works, State of California) 17 (2): 10–12. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ Weavern, R. (July–August 1965). "Pacheco Pass, Route 152 Now Skirts San Luis Reservoir Site" (PDF). California Highways and Public Works (Sacramento, California, United States: Department of Public Works, State of California) 44 (7-8): 2–7. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  12. ^ Richards, Gary (November 10, 2007), "Pacheco Pass unplugged: Relief on the way at 152-156 interchange", San Jose Mercury-News .
  13. ^ California Department of Transportation, Log of Bridges on State Highways, July 2007
  14. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2006

External links[edit]