California State Route 180

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For the interstate highway, see Interstate 180 (California).

State Route 180 marker

State Route 180
Route information
Defined by S&HC § 480
Maintained by Caltrans
Length: 112.31 mi[2] (180.75 km)
(via old route in Fresno)
Existed: 1934 [1] – present
Major junctions
West end: SR 33 in Mendota
  SR 99 in Fresno
SR 41 in Fresno
SR 63 near Orange Cove
SR 245 in Sierra National Forest
SR 198 in General Grant Grove
East end: Dead end in Kanawyers in Kings Canyon National Park
Highway system
SR 178 SR 182

State Route 180 is a state highway in California, United States, which runs through the heart of the San Joaquin Valley from Mendota through Fresno to Kings Canyon National Park, with an unbuilt segment defined west to Paicines.

Nearly the entire 24-mile (39 km) stretch from the Kings River crossing to Cedar Grove is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System, and nearly the entire route from Paicines to Cedar Grove is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System. Two short segments travel through national parks, so are not state maintained and are the exceptions to the above: a segment through the General Grant Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park, and the far eastern end of the road inside of Kings Canyon National Park. The freeway through Fresno has the distinction of having the most heavily traveled section of road in the San Joaquin Valley. Major plans include an extension west to Interstate 5.

Route description[edit]

The actual western terminus of SR 180 is at SR 33 in Mendota, with an unconstructed portion defined west across Interstate 5 to SR 25 in Paicines, currently signed as County Route J1. (See Future) In Mendota, the route is carried on Oller Street and San Benito Avenue, then travels along Whitesbridge Avenue through Kerman to Fresno.

Northbound on SR 41, approaching its interchange with SR 180. The mainline traffic of SR 180 is on the lowest overpass.

Through Fresno, from Brawley Avenue to DeWolf Avenue, it is a 4-to-10-lane freeway intersecting SR 99 in a 2-level stack, SR 41 in a 4-level stack, and the southern terminus of SR 168; officially, CalTrans considers the freeway SR 180S (supplemental) until the old highway on downtown surface streets is relinquished.[3][4]

East of Fresno, the freeway links up with the original routing on Kings Canyon Blvd, and continues north of Sanger, through Centerville, Minkler and Fresno's Squaw Valley, before arriving at the entrance to Sierra National Forest near Dunlap. It follows the Kings River into General Grant Grove, where SR 198 splits off south toward Sequoia National Park. SR 180 turns north, passing through Wilsonia, leaving General Grant Grove, then turns east as it nears the South Fork of the Kings River near Hume, passes through Cedar Grove, and terminates in Kanawyers at the entrance of the Kings Canyon National Park. The entire portion beyond Hume Road is closed during winters, usually after the first snowfall.[5]

The majority of SR 180, from SR 25 to the entrance of General Grant Grove, is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System,[6] but only the piece in Fresno has actually been constructed to freeway standards. A 24-mile (39 km) length east of unbuilt State Route 65 near Minkler to the boundary of Kings Canyon, excepting the 2-mile (3.2 km) portion through General Grant Grove, is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System;[7] the road inside of General Grant Grove and Kings Canyon is a Forest Service Byway. The old route east of SR 99 to the General Grant Grove is part of the National Highway System.[8]

The old routing of SR 180 through downtown Fresno remains on the books, but is no longer signed and not considered a business route. The road no longer connects with its freeway bypass at all; the east and west ends terminate in cul-de-sacs. Local agencies are now generally forced to maintain or improve the road.[9]

SR 180 handles a wide range of traffic volumes, from a low of 5,000 per day near Kerman, to over 160,000 at the highly congested SR 168 interchange, the most-traveled highway segment in the San Joaquin Valley.[4] A study into the use of Measure C funds found that traffic volumes will likely increase between 50% and 100% across the entire road by 2020, especially in the more rural areas.[10]

Business development[edit]

SR 180 is a busy commercial route along most of its urban length, being a main street of Mendota, Kerman, Minkler, and Fresno's Squaw Valley, as was the old highway through Fresno. In east Fresno, the Kings Canyon corridor is one of the largest multicultural business districts in the city, together with east Belmont a mile north. The old Fresno "main street" of Broadway has long been torn down for Chuckchansi Park and Fulton Mall parking, but Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Ventura Streets remain commercially viable, despite having fallen into some neglect over the years. This segment is being redeveloped as part of the Ventura Widening and Downtown Entryway Beautification Project,[9] as well as the preservation or relocation of a number of historic buildings in Old Armenian Town on Ventura, with the creation of a new commercial district by the same name.[11]

Rolinda Store, Fresno County 
East extent of Kerman along SR 180. 

Highway names[edit]

The segment from SR 99 to I-5, including the unbuilt portion, is officially named the Deran Koligian Memorial Highway, after a long-time county supervisor who helped raise funds for road improvement. In Fresno, SR 180 is Sequoia-Kings Canyon Freeway, named for its destinations to the east in the Sierra Nevada - Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. Overlapping this, between SR 99 and Clovis Avenue it is the Senator Jim Costa Highway, after a longtime Assemblyman, Senator, and Congressman for Fresno; between Clovis Avenue and General Grant Grove Park, in the County of Fresno, it is the Senator Chuck Poochigian Highway, after the State Senator who sponsored the funding bills for its completion. The SR 41/SR 180 interchange is named the Rose Ann Vuich Interchange, for the longtime State Senator who secured funding for the initial freeway. The interchange at Fowler Avenue is the Kimberly Marie Hamilton Memorial Interchange, after a 16-year-old girl who died in a construction accident in 2004. Inside of Kings Canyon it is the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway or Kings River Highway.[1]

History[edit]

In 1905, the easternmost portion of what is now SR 180 was created as Legislative Route 41, from General Grant Grove to the Kings River Canyon; in 1919, a bond measure funded the extension and upgrade to Fresno, which was completed by 1933.[12] In 1935 LR 41 was extended to be a road from Kings Canyon to Tracy, signed as SR 180 to Mendota and SR 33 beyond.[12]

Through Fresno from the west, the route turned on B Street, Stanislaus Street, down Broadway (co-routed with US 99), turned at Ventura Street (co-routed with SR 41 for a few blocks) and left downtown on it, becoming Kings Canyon Blvd. At some point the road was split into parallel one-way roads, with eastbound traffic using Amador Street, A Street, and Tuolumne Street before merging into Broadway. The Stanislaus and Tuolumne bridges were built in 1958 to alleviate congestion at the train tracks and local industry,[13] and when US 99 moved to a freeway bypass in 1962, the 180 co-routing followed it. The bypassed route was given back to the City of Fresno; the bridges still exist but Broadway is now gone between Fresno and

When California converted its old Legislative routes to individual State routes in 1963, SR 180 was legally extended to US 101 in Hollister, then truncated at SR 25 in 1984 after the construction of SR 156. None of this route has been improved, and is signed only as County Route J1 for most its extent. (See Future) The existing routes from I-5 to SR-25, passing through Panoche and Llanada, are rugged and not currently state-maintained.

The Fresno Master Freeway plan was developed in the postwar boom, with a western bypass by 99, an eastern bypass by 41, and a northern bypass by 180. 99 was constructed in 1962, but lack of funds and a "freeway revolt" prevented the construction of the SR 180 and SR 41 freeways. 180 was particularly controversial because it cut through one of Fresno's historic districts. (See Controversy.) It was delayed so long that CalTrans was prepared to tear down the stack interchange at SR 41 (built in 1982[14]) and delete the routing, but in 1988 funds finally became available thanks to local Measure C sales tax;[15][16] construction of the viaduct began in 1992,[17] opening between SR 99 and SR 41 in 1995, to SR 168 in 1999,[18][19] and extending east of 168 and west of 99 in the 2000s. Overall the final product was nearly as originally envisioned by the Highway Commission (now CTC).[20]

Some of the downtown segment has been included in various revitalization proposals: The award-winning West Fresno Community Vision Plan of 2004 intends to create livable mixed-use areas between Whitesbridge and California Avenues; it was adopted by the council and is slowly being implemented.[21]

Controversy[edit]

The routing of the SR 180 freeway through central Fresno, now known as the 180 Gap neighborhood, split a well-defined working-class neighborhood (particularly the North Park neighborhoods[22]) in half and destroyed many large, historic buildings along Van Ness Avenue and surrounding area.[23] Even after funding dried up, the neighborhood declined dramatically with the ever-present knowledge that everything in its path would be demolished as soon as the money appeared;[24] low property values led to many buildings becoming slums or being condemned and razed long before the freeway came. By the 1980s, community pressure was increasing for CalTrans to either purchase the remaining properties or abandon the route, culminating in a lawsuit against the state,[25] and in 1988 the decision was made to begin eminent domain purchases and construction.[15]

Future[edit]

A planned 4-lane expressway extension from Mendota to I-5 is in the works, with several proposed routes that bypass Mendota and Kerman, but no final route has been decided on yet.[26]

Work on the eastern expressway extension is nearing completion between Fresno and Sanger, with a projected finish date in 2011. The road will be a four lane divided highway between DeWolf and Academy Avenues.[27] Further improvements east of Academy to Frankwood have been identified, but not yet funded.

In recognition that freeway connecting SR 41 and SR 168 is by far the most traveled segment of road in the San Joaquin Valley[4] and prone to daily congestion, CalTrans completed construction of the "Fresno 180 Braided Ramps" project in early 2014 between the freeways, allowing direct access between SR 41 and SR 168 without entering the main SR 180 freeway.[28] The project was delivered in a new format for Caltrans called Design-Build, one of the first projects constructed in the state's pilot program authorized by the State Legislature, wherein the contractor both designs and builds the project with Caltrans oversight.

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, and T indicates postmiles classified as temporary.[29] The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.

County Location Postmile
[2][4][29]
Exit
[30]
Destinations Notes
Fresno
FRE 23.50-109.53
Mendota 23.50 SR 33 (Derrick Avenue) – Firebaugh, Los Banos
24.59 I-5 (CA).svg Belmont Avenue to I-5 north
  26.12 I-5 (CA).svg San Benito Avenue, Panoche Road to I-5 south – Tranquillity, San Joaquin
  34.59 James Road – Tranquillity, San Joaquin
Kerman 42.64 SR 145 (Madera Avenue) – Madera, Coalinga
  47.65 Dickenson Avenue – San Joaquin, Coalinga
   
Fresno   56 Marks Avenue
R56.52 57A SR 99 – Bakersfield, Sacramento
R57.24 57B Fulton Street, Van Ness Avenue
R57.84 58 Abby Street, Blackstone Avenue
R58.70 59 SR 41 (Yosemite Freeway) – Lemoore, Paso Robles, Yosemite Signed as exits 59A (south) and 59B (north) westbound
R59.90 60A SR 168 east (Sierra Freeway) – Clovis, Huntington Lake Signed as exit 60 westbound
R60.07 60B Cedar Avenue Westbound exit is part of exit 61
R60.90 61 Chestnut Avenue Eastbound exit is part of exit 60B
R62.00 62 Peach Avenue Serves Fresno Yosemite International Airport
R62.94 63 Clovis Avenue
  64 Fowler Avenue Opened December 3, 2009
  65 Temperance Avenue Opened December 3, 2009
   
  71.61 Academy Avenue – Sanger, Kingsburg Opened September 23, 2011
  77.49 Reed Avenue – Reedley Opened July 1, 2012
  87.71 SR 63 south (Hills Valley Road) – Orange Cove, Visalia Opened May 21, 2013
  108.12 SR 245 south (Pinehurst) – Pinehurst, Porterville Opened July 2, 2013
Tulare
TUL 109.53-112.09
  110.83
    Generals HighwaySequoia National Park Opened August 16, 2013
Tulare–Fresno county line   112.09 West end of state maintenance at General Grant Grove north boundary
Fresno
FRE 112.09-137.94
  137.94 Kings Canyon National Park west boundary
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b California Highways: State Route 180
  2. ^ a b January 1, 2006 California Log of Bridges on State Highways
  3. ^ Department of Transportation (March 15, 2011). Truck Networks on California State Highways - District 6 map (.PDF). State of California. Retrieved 16 July 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
  5. ^ Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Travel Page
  6. ^ CA Codes (shc:250-257)
  7. ^ Eligible (E) And Officially Designated (OD) Routes, 161-680, CalTrans
  8. ^ The National Highway System, Southern California, map of Fresno
  9. ^ a b Fresno Redevelopment Agency 08/09 Budget
  10. ^ Fresno County General Plan, 1999
  11. ^ Old Armenian Town
  12. ^ a b CA Highways, Legislative Route 41
  13. ^ Stanislaus St Bridge, Tuolumne St Bridge, uglybridges.com
  14. ^ AARoads, Highway 41
  15. ^ a b FresnoBee article, "VALLEY ROAD JOBS OK'D BY CALTRANS", 1988-10-08
  16. ^ Measure C News
  17. ^ FresnoBee article, "180 WORK LINKS FRESNO TO ITS PAST"
  18. ^ 180 Under Construction
  19. ^ FresnoBee article, "TWO FREEWAYS OPEN TO CHEERS", 1999-06-03
  20. ^ City of Fresno Resolution 2009-167, Approving a modified Freeway Agreement with the CTC.
  21. ^ West Fresno Community Vision Plan. pp. 14,32-33,56-60
  22. ^ City of Fresno North Park Survey, 2008-11-01
  23. ^ Proposed Lower Fulton-Van Ness Historic District
  24. ^ FresnoBee article, "NEIGHBORHOOD DECAYS AS FREEWAY 180 STALLS" 1989-10-01
  25. ^ City of Fresno v. California Highway Com. (1981), justia.com
  26. ^ State Route 180 Westside Expressway Route Adoption Study
  27. ^ State Route 180 - Construction Update
  28. ^ SR 180 Braided Ramps Project
  29. ^ a b Staff. "State Truck Route List" (XLS file). California Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  30. ^ California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, SR-180 Eastbound and SR-180 Westbound, accessed February 2008

External links[edit]