California State Route 68
SR 68 highlighted in red
|Defined by Streets and Highways Code § 368|
|Maintained by Caltrans|
|Length||22.02 mi (35.44 km)|
|SR 68 between SR 1 and the Salinas River|
|West end||Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove|
|East end||US 101 in Salinas|
State Route 68 (SR 68) is a state highway in the U.S. state of California, located entirely in Monterey County. It runs from Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove to U.S. Route 101 in Salinas. The approximately 20-mile (32 km) long highway serves as a major route between the Monterey Peninsula and Salinas.
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.
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 at Del Rey Oaks, continuing for 17 miles (27 km) towards Salinas. The route goes past Pasadera, WeatherTech 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.
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.  The Holman Highway is the main connector between Pacific Grove and Carmel. 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".
SR 68 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System, and east of SR 1 is part of the National Highway System, a network of highways that are considered essential to the country's economy, defense, and mobility by the Federal Highway Administration. SR 68 is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System; however, only the part from SR 1 to the Salinas River is designated by Caltrans as a scenic highway. 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. State Route 68 is part of the Juan De Anza Trail.
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.
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.
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.
Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured on the road as it was in 1964, based on the alignment that existed at the time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. R reflects a realignment in the route since then, M indicates a second realignment, L refers an overlap due to a correction or change, and T indicates postmiles classified as temporary (for a full list of prefixes, see the list of postmile definitions). Segments that remain unconstructed or have been relinquished to local control may be omitted. The entire route is in Monterey County.
|Pacific Grove||0.00||Sinex Avenue – Asilomar State Beach||West end of SR 68|
|SR 1 south / 17-Mile Drive – Carmel||Interchange; west end of SR 1 overlap; SR 1 exit 399A|
|||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|
|7B||SR 1 north – Santa Cruz, San Francisco||East end of SR 1 overlap; SR 1 exit 401B|
|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|
|||R17.19||20||CR G17 (River Road, Reservation Road)|
|||||East end of freeway|
|Salinas||19.97||To US 101 / Blanco Road|
|22.02||US 101||Interchange; east end of SR 68; US 101 exit 327|
|22.02||John Street||Continuation beyond US 101|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
- Indicates that the postmile represents the distance along SR 1 rather than SR 68.
- California Department of Transportation (September 7, 2011). "Officially Designated State Scenic Highways and Historic Parkways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- California Department of Transportation (July 2007). "Log of Bridges on State Highways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation.
- California Road Atlas (Map). Thomas Brothers. 2008.
- "Article 2 of Chapter 2 of Division 1 of the California Streets and Highways Code". Sacramento: California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
- Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: California (North) (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
- Natzke, Stefan; Neathery, Mike & Adderly, Kevin (June 20, 2012). "What is the National Highway System?". National Highway System. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- "Article 2.5 of Chapter 2 of Division 1 of the California Streets & Highways Code". California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
- California Department of Transportation (September 7, 2011). "Officially Designated State Scenic Highways and Historic Parkways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
- Trails and Roads: De Anza Trail last retrieved March 6, 2007.
- California Highway 68, America's Lost Roads[permanent dead link]
- "A TROUBLED BEAUTY Highway 68: A road with scenery, history and tragedy, The Salinas Californian, August 4, 2007". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
- California Department of Transportation. "State Truck Route List". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (XLS file) on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
- California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
- California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, State Route 68 Freeway Interchanges, Retrieved on 2009-02-06.
- California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, State Route 1 Freeway Interchanges, Retrieved on 2009-02-06.
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