California State Route 68

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State Route 68 marker

State Route 68
Route information
Defined by S&HC § 368
Maintained by Caltrans
Length: 22.02 mi[1] (35.44 km)
Major junctions
West end: Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove
  SR 1 in Monterey
SR 218 near Del Rey Oaks
East end: US 101 in Salinas
Highway system
SR 67 SR 70

State Route 68 (SR 68) is a state highway that runs from Pacific Grove to Salinas in Monterey County. It is about 20 miles (32 km) long.

Route description[edit]

This route is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System[2] and is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System.[3] However, only the part from SR 1 to the Salinas River is designated by Caltrans as a scenic highway.[4] The Monterey-Salinas Highway is a California Scenic Route because of its views of the chaparral and springtime lupin for 14 miles (23 km) between State Route 1 in Monterey to the Salinas River.[citation needed] State Route 68 is part of the Juan De Anza Trail.[5]

State Route 68 westbound concurrent with State Route 1 southbound in Monterey.

SR 68 begins as Asilomar Avenue in the city of Pacific Grove at an intersection with Lighthouse Avenue, near the Point Pinos Lighthouse. The highway continues south to an intersection with Sunset Drive, turning east on Sunset Drive before continuing south after roughly half a mile onto Forest Avenue. Soon after entering Monterey and passing by the Presidio of Monterey, SR 68 becomes the W.R. Holman Highway until its junction with SR 1 at the terminus of the 17 Mile Drive.[6]

SR 68 is concurrent with SR 1 for 2.5 miles (4.0 km) until nearing the Monterey County Fairgrounds. At this point, SR 68 exits SR 1 onto the Monterey-Salinas Highway, which is a freeway for the first half mile. The freeway becomes a highway and passes by the Monterey Regional Airport, intersecting SR 218 before leaving the Monterey city limits, continuing for 17 miles (27 km) towards Salinas. The route goes past Pasadera, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Laureles Grade, Corral De Tierra, San Benancio, Toro Park and Spreckels, becoming a freeway for the last 3 miles (4.8 km) before Salinas, eventually turning north. At the city limits, SR 68 becomes South Main Street and continues to downtown. SR 68 makes a right off of Main and follows John Street to its terminus at U.S. Route 101.[6]

Highway 68 is heavily traveled. The road has a design capacity of 16,000 vehicles per day. As of 2006, it carries about 26,000 vehicles per day. This figure is projected to increase as residential development in and around Salinas continues, and the Monterey Peninsula's tourism economy continues to expand. The Monterey-Salinas Highway is the main connector between Monterey and Salinas. [1] The Holman Highway is the main connector between Pacific Grove and Carmel.[2] Highway 68 and the "68" road symbol have become iconic in Pacific Grove skating culture. This association developed after the opening of the skate shop "68 Skate".[citation needed]

History[edit]

Highway 68 is part of the DeAnza Trail, a route that linked all of California's mission settlements during the Spanish colonial period. With the advent of the automobile, Highway 68 was upgraded from a dirt wagon road to a 2-lane paved road in 1937.[7]

During the 1950s and 1960s, Caltrans had planned to upgrade Highway 68 to a freeway between Salinas and Highway 1 in Monterey, that was to start at US 101 south of the city and proceed west between Salinas and Spreckels, serving as a bypass for Salinas. The freeway was to then follow the existing Highway 68 alignment into Monterey.

The freeway plan died as a result of environmental concerns along the route. The only portions of this freeway that were actually built were a 1-mile (1.6 km) section approaching the Highway 1 interchange in Monterey, and a 3-mile (4.8 km) segment starting in Spreckels and heading west, bypassing the unincorporated village of Toro Park. The segment around Spreckels opened in 1967 and included a pair of new bridges spanning the Salinas River, which replaced an old truss bridge built in 1889. At the western terminus of the Spreckels freeway segment, land acquired for the freeway can still be seen.[8]

There continues to be discussions, but no definitive plans, to either bypass Route 68 or convert the existing road to 4-lanes by building a second roadway alongside the present 2-lane carriageway. Caltrans and Monterey County officials mention the most practical route for a bypass would be to the north of the existing Route 68, through Fort Ord. A major upgrade of the Highway 68 corridor would cost on the order of $300 million. In the fall of 2007, Caltrans is scheduled to begin a $6 million project to implement safety upgrades at three major intersections along Highway 68.

Meanwhile, Caltrans and Monterey County are proceeding with a plan to divert Monterey-Salinas traffic away from Highway 68 by converting Davis Road and Reservation Road from two lanes to four between Highway 101 on the north side of Salinas and Highway 1 in Marina. These two roads pass through Fort Ord and the upgrades are using excess land set aside following the base's closure in 1994. The Davis Road/Reservation Road upgrade is a short-term fix, and most state and county officials realize that a permanent fix for Highway 68 will eventually be necessary.

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.[9] The entire route is in Monterey County.

Location Postmile
[9][10][11]
Exit
[12][13]
Destinations Notes
Pacific Grove 0.00 Sinex Avenue – Asilomar State Beach West end of SR 68
  17-Mile Drive
Monterey L4.26
75.14[N 1]
SR 1 south / 17-Mile Drive – Carmel Interchange; west end of SR 1 overlap
  West end of freeway on SR 1
R75.75[N 1] 399B Munras Avenue – Monterey No eastbound entrance
R76.00[N 1] 399C Soledad Drive, Munras Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
R77.38[N 1] 401A Aguajito Road – Monterey
R78.12[N 1]
R3.95
7B SR 1 north – Santa Cruz, San Francisco East end of SR 1 overlap
R3.99 7B North Fremont Street – Seaside No eastbound entrance; signed as exit 401B eastbound
  East end of freeway
Del Rey Oaks 6.81 SR 218 west (Canyon del Rey Road) / Monterra Road – Del Rey Oaks, Seaside
  11.22 CR G20 (Laureles Grade) – Carmel Valley
    West end of freeway
  15.83 19 Portola Drive
  R17.19 20 CR G17 (River Road, Reservation Road)
  R18.08 21 Spreckels Boulevard
    East end of freeway
Salinas 19.97 US 101 (CA).svg Blanco Road to US 101
22.02 US 101 Interchange; east end of SR 68
22.02 John Street Continuation beyond US 101
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  1. ^ a b c d e Indicates that the postmile represents the distance along SR 1 rather than SR 68.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing