California State Route 168
Map of eastern California with SR 168 highlighted in red
|Defined by Streets and Highways Code § 468|
|Maintained by Caltrans|
|Length:||124.00 mi (199.56 km)|
|Existed:||1934 – present|
|Restrictions:||The segment from Lake Sabrina east to Aspendell is subject to closure to most vehicles during the winter months due to snow removal.|
|West end:||SR 41 / SR 180 in Fresno|
|East end:||Huntington Lake|
|West end:||Lake Sabrina|
|US 395 in Bishop|
|East end:||SR 266 at Oasis|
|Counties:||Fresno, Inyo, Mono|
State Route 168 (SR 168) is an east-west state highway in California, USA, which is separated into three distinct segments, in part by the Sierra Nevada mountains. The westernmost segment runs from Fresno east to Huntington Lake along the western slope of the Sierras. The middle segment connects Lake Sabrina in the Eastern Sierras to the city of Bishop. And the easternmost segment of SR 168 then runs from the community of Big Pine to Oasis, just to the west of the Nevada border.
The westernmost segment of SR 168 begins in southeast Fresno at the interchange with State Route 180, where it is known as the Sierra Freeway until it becomes Tollhouse Road near the northeast edge of Clovis. Tollhouse Road is a 4-lane expressway from the end of the freeway to Shepherd Avenue, east of which the highway is mostly an undivided 2-lane road. This segment continues east up into the Sierra Nevada, ending at Huntington Lake along the western slope of the range.
Before the reconstruction of urban Route 168 as a freeway, the route started at SR 41 and Shaw Avenue in Fresno. SR 168 ran along Shaw Avenue, Clovis Avenue, Third Street (Clovis), and Tollhouse Road to the current end of the freeway.
SR 168 cannot be used to cross the Sierra Nevada. The closest crossings of the Sierra Nevada are SR 120 via Tioga Pass to the north and Sherman Pass to the south. Both of these passes are accessible in warmer months only.
The middle segment of SR 168 has its western terminus at Lake Sabrina on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada. This rural mountain road runs east to U.S. Route 395 in Bishop. The segment of the highway from Lake Sabrina east to the community of Aspendell is subject to closure to most vehicles during the winter months, usually not opening until mid- or late-April, due to snow removal. The winter road closure gate is actually located to the southwest of Aspendell.
The easternmost segment of SR 168 begins in Big Pine at US 395, and climbs into the White Mountains through Westgard Pass, passing the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. From here it traverses Deep Springs Valley, home of Deep Springs College, before crossing into Fish Lake Valley, where the segment ends at State Route 266, just west of the Nevada Border.
SR 168 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System, and in the Fresno and Clovis city limits 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 168 is eligible to be included in the State Scenic Highway System, and is officially designated as a scenic highway by the California Department of Transportation from Camp Sabrina to Brockman Lane on the Lone Pine Indian Reservation.
The easternmost part of the route, from Big Pine over Westgard Pass to the Nevada state line near Lida, Nevada predates the era of numbered highways and dates to the auto trail era, as part of the Midland Trail. The Midland Trail was one of the earliest transcontinental roads in the USA. It was at Big Pine that the Midland trail forked in its westward journey to its eventual western termini, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The western descent from Westgard Pass into the Owens Valley was described as a "Welcome to California" view in the route guides for the Midland trail. Though SR 168 is the original routing of the Midland Trail, the route was realigned numerous times, and signs today mark U.S. Route 6 as the routing of the Midland Trail from California east to Denver, Colorado.
When the state of California began conceiving its own route network, modern SR 168 was conceived as a trans-Sierra highway connecting Fresno and Bishop. The proposed route, named the High Sierra Piute Highway, would have taken the highway over the 11,453-foot (3,491 m) Piute Pass. However, the two segments were never connected. The rugged Sierra crest and eastern escarpment would have made construction very difficult and today two congressionally designated wilderness areas block the way: Kings Canyon National Park and the John Muir Wilderness. The traversable route now comprises of Kaiser Pass Road from Huntington Lake to Florence Lake, various hiking trails from Florence Lake and through the Piute Pass to North Lake, and North Lake Road to a point along SR 168 east of where the highway connects to Lake Sabrina.
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 numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.
|Fresno||R0.29||1||SR 41 (Yosemite Freeway) / SR 180 (Sequoia-Kings Canyon Freeway) – Lemoore, Paso Robles, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Kerman, Mendota||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; signed as exits 1A (west) and 1B (east); west end of SR 168; SR 41 exit 128A; SR 180 east exit, west exit 60|
|R0.99||1C||McKinley Avenue||Signed as exit 1 eastbound|
|R4.26||4||Shaw Avenue||Former SR 168; serves California State University, Fresno|
|East end of freeway|
|||15.47||Academy Avenue – Sanger, Kingsburg|
|||T24.70||Millerton Road – Friant|
|Prather||T30.20||Auberry Road – Millerton Lake|
|Huntington Lake||65.84||Huntington Lake Road / Kaiser Pass Road – Huntington Lake, Mono Hot Springs, Edison Lake, Florence Lake|
|Gap in route|
|US 395 north (Main Street) / East Line Street – Bridgeport, Reno||West end of US 395 overlap; former US 6 north; East Line Street serves Eastern Sierra Regional Airport|
|Big Pine||100.83[N 1]
|US 395 south / County Road – Big Pine, Independence, Los Angeles||East end of US 395 overlap; former US 6 south|
|||20.81||Death Valley Road – Saline Valley, Eureka Valley, Scotty's Castle|
|Oasis||1.45||SR 266 to US 95 – Fish Lake Valley||SR 266 north was former SR 168 east; east end of SR 168|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Indicates that the postmile represents the distance along US 395 rather than SR 168.
- "Mountain Pass Closures". California Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
- "Snow Leaves Eastern Sierra Mountain Roads Closed for the Season". KCET. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
- California Department of Transportation (July 2007). "Log of Bridges on State Highways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation.
- "Bishop Area Winter Map" (PDF). Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
- California State Legislature. "Section 250–257". Streets and Highways Code. Sacramento: California State Legislature. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: Fresno, CA (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: California (South) (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved September 17, 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.
- California State Legislature. "Section 260–284". Streets and Highways Code. Sacramento: California State Legislature. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- California Department of Transportation (September 7, 2011). "Officially Designated State Scenic Highways and Historic Parkways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
- Westgard, A.L. "Motor Routes to the California Expositions". Highway History. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- "The High Sierra Piute Highway" (PDF). US Forest Service. 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- "State Route 168 Transportation Concept Report" (PDF). California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
- California State Assembly. "An act to amend Sections 318, 341, 343, 360, 366, 370, 374, 388, 389, 403, 425, 468, 548, 624, 2104, and 2107 of, to add Section 632 to, and to repeal Sections 322.1, 355.1, 417, and 622.2 of, the Streets.." 1985–1986 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 928 p. 3215–3216.
- 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, SR-168 Eastbound and SR-168 Westbound, accessed February 2008
Route map: Google
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