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California State Route 178: Wikis


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State Route 178 shield
State Route 178
Defined by S&HC § 478, maintained by Caltrans
Length: 166.81 mi[1] (268 km)
West end: SR 58 / SR 99 in Bakersfield
US 395 near Ridgecrest
Trona Rd. near Trona
Death Valley
SR 127 at Shoshone
East end: SR 372 towards Pahrump, NV
State highways in California (list - pre-1964)
< SR 177 SR 180 >
History - Unconstructed - Deleted - Freeway - Scenic

State Route 178 (SR 178) is a route that exists in two constructed segments. The gap in between segments is connected by various local roads and State Route 190 through Death Valley National Park.

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


Route description


Western segment

SR 178 follows the Kern River through the Kern Canyon, just northeast of Bakersfield

The first segment starts at State Route 99 just west of Downtown Bakersfield. The road continues as 24th street, but then splits at B St. utilizing 24th street as its westbound usage, and 23rd St. as its eastbound through the eastern part of Downtown Bakersfield. 178 then becomes a freeway as it departs Bakersfield. The freeway ends about 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Downtown. A new interchange is currently under construction at Fairfax road where the freeway portion of 178 becomes a two-lane conventional highway that ascends the lower Sierra Nevada Mountains on its way to Lake Isabella. 13.6 miles (21.9 km) south of Lake Isabella, the road briefly again becomes a divided limited access freeway, but later converts back to a two lane road at the at-grade junction with Lake Isabella Blvd. The road winds a little bit until it ascends to Walker Pass, an elevation of over 5,000 feet (1,500 m). The highway then descends from the mountains to its junction with State Route 14. It then proceeds eastward across US 395 into the town of Ridgecrest, CA. The constructed highway ends at the turnoff for the Trona Pinnacles National Natural Landmark.

Eastern segment

SR 178 goes through part of Sequoia National Forest.

The second segment resumes four miles (6 km) west of Salisberry Pass in the southeasterly part of Death Valley National Park in Inyo County at what had been the former boundary of Death Valley National Monument until 1994. It then meets up with State Route 127. 178 then branches northward from 127 to the California-Nevada State Line. In Nevada, the roadway continues as State Route 372 ending at State Route 160 near the center of Pahrump in Nye County. Plans to connect the two constructed segments in California are unlikely due to the would-be link's passage through Death Valley National Park.

The segment of State Route 178 from State Route 127 to the California-Nevada State Line as well as all of Nevada State Route 372 are both known as the Charles Brown Highway. Charles Brown, a former California State Legislator, was a major proponent for the incorporation of the segment of State Route 178 between State Route 14 and the California-Nevada state line into the California Highway System.


SR 178 was one of the routes created with the third bond act of 1919. It defined a route 202 miles long between Santa Maria and Freemans through Bakersfield. Freemans does not exist today; it was originally located at the junction of SR 178 and US 395. The route was defined as Legislative Route 57. The 1919 bond act also created the first segment of LRN 58. The route was extended several times since 1919.[4] In 1933, the final segment was added to LRN 58, which created a route from US 101 near Santa Margarita to the Nevada state line via Bakersfield.[5] Construction on the route between Bakersfield and Isabella through Kern Canyon started in 1922. Progress moved slowly, as sheer rock walls had to be blasted with dynamite. In 1931, 9 years after construction started, the 26 mile highway segment was completed.[6]

In 1933, with the creation of signed routes, portions of LRN 57 and LRN 58 would be signed as Route 178. LRN 58 would be signed between Route 33 and US 99, and LRN 57 would be signed between US 99 and US 395.[7] Later, in 1947, LRN 212 was created, and defined to run from US 395 at the junction with Route 178 east to the Nevada state line. It was an unsigned route.[8]

In 1964 all of the California routes were renumbered. LRN 58 was dropped from Route 178 and combined with the eastern portion of the decommissioned US 466 (also defined as part of LRN 58) to created SR 58. The remaining Route 178 was combined with LRN 212 to create SR 178. It was originally defined to start at SR 99 in Bakersfield, but later that year it was changed to simply start in Bakersfield.[7] This change was probably done to avoid a cosign with SR 58 along 23rd/24th St. After SR 58 was moved to the freeway south of Brundage Ln. in 1976, SR 178 was extended west to SR 99.

Construction on the initial freeway in Bakersfield was completed in 1968. It ran from M St, on the eastern edge of Downtown, through East Bakersfield to Haley St. Eastern extensions have been constructed since 1968, one interchange at a time as the need arises. In the Kern Canyon section, which is between Bakersfield and the Kern River Valley, a bypass route was identified in 1964. By 1968, a deed from the US forestry service issued an easement to the State for the construction of the highway through National Forest lands. The first phase of construction was completed in 1974, which created a short freeway near Lake Isabella and a 60’ wide expressway extending west to China Garden. Subsequent phases were not funded.[9]


Western freeway extension

There has been a plan to extend SR 178 freeway west, passed SR 99 to the proposed Westside Parkway. Although the extension has been studied several times since the existing freeway was completed in 1968, a formal route adoption has never been done. When that study is conducted, most likely the following two alignments will be considered, since both have been recommended in previous reports. The central alignment, sometimes referred to as the Westchester alignment, was Caltrans preferred route in 1973. The southern alignment was recommended as part of the Bakersfield System Study in 2001. It was also recommended in a study conducted by the Kern Council of Governors (KernCOG) in 1986.

The central alignment would extend the freeway west from its current terminus at M St, through Downtown Bakersfield between 23rd St. and 24th St. It would continue west through Westchester, to Oak St. At Oak St, the freeway would turn southwest, cross under SR 99 and terminate at the proposed Westside Parkway.[10]

The southern alignment would start at SR 178 at Baker St, about 0.7 miles east of its current terminus. From there, it would turn southwest, and run parallel to Baker St, through East Bakersfield, to the BNSF railroad yard. From there, it would turn west and run south of the railroad tracks through the southern end of Downtown Bakersfield. At Bakersfield High School, it would run north of the tracks (avoiding the high school). It would continue, under SR 99 and terminate at the proposed Westside Parkway.[11]

Although there is currently no date for the construction of the freeway extension, there are plans to increase capacity on the existing streets. 23rd and 24th St, through Downtown, will be widened to four lanes each. 24th St. through Westchester will be widened to six lanes, and close several of the local streets access, or possibly be grade separate. An interchange will also be constructed at Oak St. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2012.

Eastern freeway extension

There are plans to extend SR 178 as a divided highway east of Fairfax Rd. When all of the projects are completed, the highway will be a four-lane divided freeway to future Vineland Rd. (near the old Mesa Marin Raceway) and a four-lane arterial to Miramonte Dr.[12][13] These improvements are expected to be completed by 2014.[14 ]

Kern Canyon bypass

There is a plan to realign SR 178 from its current route through the Kern Canyon, to a route parallel to Rancheria Rd, north of the canyon. The new alignment would run from future Vineland Rd, 15 miles to China Garden, where it will meet with the existing four-lane expressway (which was complete in 1974). The goal will be to have a minimum of a four lane expressway from Bakersfield, to Lake Isabella.[15 ] This would result in increasing the speed limit from 35 mph to 55 mph and eliminate the sharp curves and steep drop-offs that exist with the current route. Currently there is no expected construction date.

Major intersections

Note: Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured in 1964, based on the alignment as it existed at that time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.
County Location Postmile
#[19] Destinations Notes
KER 0.00-104.62
Bakersfield 0.00 SR 58 (Rosedale Highway) / SR 99Sacramento, Los Angeles Interchange
0.36 Oak Street south Former Legislative Route 141 south
West end of freeway
R2.01 2A Q Street, Golden State Avenue (SR 204, SR 99 Bus.) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
R2.01 2A SR 204 north (Golden State Avenue, SR 99 Bus. north) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
R2.41 2B Union Avenue (SR 204 south, SR 99 Bus. south)
R3.40 3 Beale Avenue
R4.10 4 Haley Street Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
R4.63 5 Mount Vernon Avenue
R5.64 6 Oswell Street
East end of freeway
R6.77 Fairfax Road Interchange under construction
T9.61 SR 184 / Masterson Street – Lamont, Los Angeles
Alfred Harrell Highway, Comanche Drive – Ming Lake, Arvin
Lake Isabella West end of freeway
R41.65 42 Bodfish, Lake Isabella
R42.94 43 SR 155Wofford Heights, Lake Isabella, Kernville
East end of freeway
55.68 Sierra Way – Kernville Airport, Kernville
Freeman Junction 88.26
14 57.77
SR 14 south (Aerospace Highway) – Mojave, Los Angeles West end of SR 14 overlap
14 60.57
SR 14 north (Aerospace Highway) – Bishop, Reno East end of SR 14 overlap
Inyokern US 395 (CA).svg Brown Road to US 395 north – Bishop Former US 395
R93.24 US 395Bishop, Reno, San Bernardino Interchange; west end of US 395 Bus. overlap
Ridgecrest 100.60 Inyokern Road, Sandquist Road
US 395 Bus. south (China Lake Boulevard) / Ridgecrest Boulevard
East end of US 395 Bus. overlap
San Bernardino
SBD 0.00-14.78
7.35 Trona Road
14.78 Trona Road
Gap in SR 178
INY 28.00-62.19
28.00 Jubilee Pass Road Former Death Valley National Monument boundary
127 16.25
SR 127 north to SR 190Death Valley West end of SR 127 overlap
Shoshone 127 14.75
SR 127 south – Baker East end of SR 127 overlap
62.19 Nevada state line
62.19 SR 372 east – Pahrump Continuation beyond the Nevada state line


  1. ^ "California Log of Bridges on State Highways" (PDF). California Department of Transportation. January 1, 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-18.  
  2. ^ CA Codes (shc:250-257)
  3. ^ CA Codes (shc:260-284)
  4. ^ Chronology of California Highways - Phase II: Early Growth. Accessed: 01-14-2010.
  5. ^ Chronology of California Highways - Phase III: A Significant System is Created. Accessed: 01-14-2010.
  6. ^ Draft Report of Kern Canyon Highway Corridor Study. KernCOG. September 1984. Page 5.
  7. ^ a b Route 177-184. Accessed: 01-14-2010.
  8. ^ Route 209-216. Accessed: 01-14-2010.
  9. ^ Draft Report of Kern Canyon Highway Corridor Study. KernCOG. September 1984. Page 4-5.
  10. ^ Route 178 Corridor Study. Kern Council of Governments. December 1986. Pages 39-41. Retrieved on November 2, 2009.
  11. ^ Route 178 Corridor Study. Kern Council of Governments. December 1986. Pages 42-43. Retrieved on November 2, 2009.
  12. ^ "Morning Dr." Thomas Roads Improvement Program (TRIP). Retrieved on July 3, 2009.
  13. ^ "SR 178 Widening." Thomas Roads Improvement Program (TRIP). Retrieved on July 3, 2009.
  14. ^ TRIP 2008/2009 Progress Report. Thomas Roads Improvement Program (TRIP). Page 8. Retrieved on July 3, 2009.
  15. ^ Draft Report of Kern Canyon Highway Corridor Study. Kern Council of Governments. Retrieved on July 3, 2009.
  16. ^ California Department of Transportation, State Truck Route List (XLS file), accessed February 2008
  17. ^ California Department of Transportation, Log of Bridges on State Highways, July 2007
  18. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
  19. ^ California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, SR-178 Eastbound and SR-178 Westbound, accessed February 2008

Images along SR178

External links


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