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California State Route 145

On my way back from to Fresno last Thursday from Big Sur and San Luis Obispo County I decided to deviate off course from CA 41 to try a route I had never completely driven which is CA 145.  CA 145 is a fairly remote 67 mile state highway running from I-5/CA 33 northeast to CA 41 north of the city of Fresno.  Really there isn't much in the way of civilization on CA 145 south of Madera but the route is largely important to the western ranches in San Joaquin Valley.

The history of CA 145 is very well detailed on Cahighways.org which is the source I tend to use for a lot of  the historic backstory in my California State Highways:

Cahighways.org on CA 145

In brief the history of CA 145 is as follows:

-  The route that became CA 145 was originally LRN 126 which ran from Kerman from what is now modern CA 180 to what is now CA 41.  LRN 126 was adopted in 1933 and was not part of the original run of signed state highways in 1934.
-  I noticed a possible variance with the information with Cahighways is that the state highway maps show CA 145 assigned by 1949 whereas the site states it was signed in 1953.  CA 145 can be seen present on the 1949 state highway map looking near Madera and it is not present in 1948:

1948 California State Highway Map

1949 California State Highway Map

-  The routing of CA 145 south from CA 180 in Kerman to I-5/CA 33 was adopted in 1970.  This is reflective on the 1970 State Highway Map which doesn't show the extension and the 1975 map that does.  Unfortunately I don't have any state highway maps from 1971-1974 which might have shown the upgrades of the local roads to state highway standards.  I do know for certain that all the roadways CA 145 used south of Kerman was county maintained for a quite a long time prior to becoming a state highway:

1970 California State Highway Map

1975 California State Highway Map

But with all that historic dispensed of off to the photos.  I approached CA 145 from I-5 after taking CA 269 to reach the Interstate.  CA 145 terminates where CA 33 jumps onto I-5 for a couple miles northbound.



The first 13 miles of CA 145 runs northeast on Fresno-Coalinga Road to a community known as Five Points.


Within a couple miles CA 145 cross the California Aqueduct.  The California Aqueduct is part of the California State Water Project and largely runs close to Interstate 5 through San Joaquin Valley.  Water is pumped through the system via the San Luis Reservoir which is located alongside CA 152.


There is a small community known as Westside northeast of the California Aqueduct.  Supposedly Westside was once known as O'Neil and appears to be nothing more than a large farm commune.  I don't see the community present on the 1935 highway map of Fresno County which seems to indicate it is relatively new.


Continuing northeast past Westside CA 145 takes a sharp right onto Mount Whitney Avenue and intersects the north terminus of CA 269/Lassen Avenue in Five Points.  From here CA 145 continues north out of Five Points on Lassen Avenue.




Five Points is named after the five-way junction that meets at the intersection of CA 145 and CA 269.  The community seems to be a creation of the mid-20th century with postal service supposedly beginning in 1944.  Most of the buildings seem to be in place to either sell liquor, farm equipment, or are otherwise abandoned.






CA 145 follows Lassen Avenue for 9-10 miles north and crosses into the community of Helm after about 7.  Helm essentially is another farm oriented community that really begs the question if it is actually an inhabited place anymore.  Supposedly Helm is named after a rancher who settled in western San Joaquin Valley in the 1850s but the community didn't get a post office until 1913.  There is some commercial buildings in Helm but much like Five Points not much trace of actual homes.







North of Helm CA 145 turns Northeast on the McMullin Grade and crosses the Fresno Slough.  The Fresno Slough is a tributary of the Kings River which used to feed the San Joaquin River with water flowing out of Tulare Lake when it crested at 210 feet above sea level.  Tulare Lake was a large inland lake with a maximum surface area of 690 square miles that was fed by the Kings, Kaweah, Tule, White, and Kern Rivers.  Tulare Lake largely disappeared in the 1930s from all the water diversions for agricultural purposes.  Supposedly the last time the Fresno Slough was reported to have fed water from Tulare Lake into the San Joaquin River was in the late 1870s.  Today there isn't much to indicate that Tulare Lake even existed, much of CA 41 south of the city of Lemoore to Kettleman City actually uses the former lake bed.  The Fresno Slough essentially resembles a small canal while passing it on CA 145 today.





Northeast of the Fresno Slough CA 145 takes a north turn on Madera Avenue.



Directly south of the city of Kerman CA 145 crosses Jackson Avenue which is traversed by a roundabout.  My understanding is that this roundabout was one of the first if not the first used by Caltrans in San Joaquin Valley to mitigate dangerous junctions.  Several of similar roundabouts have been installed on CA 43 in the past year.




Entering the city of Kerman CA 145 crosses a rail junction, splits on twin one-way streets before converging back to one near the junction with CA 180.  The junction with CA 180 was the previous southern terminus of CA 145 before it was extended in 1970.








North of Kerman CA 145 intersects the Skaggs Bridge Park and crosses over the San Joaquin River leaving Fresno County for Madera County.




At the junction of Avenue 7 and CA 145 is the community of Ripperdan.  Ripperdan has a couple mid-20th century businesses but appears to not be much beyond just another farm stop.  I don't see the community appear on the 1935 Highway Map, it would seem that likely it had some sort of commercial purpose that couldn't be served in the city of Madera at some point.









CA 145 crosses the CA 99 freeway in the City of Madera before turning on Gateway Drive.  Gateway Drive used to be the original alignment of US 99 through Madera.






CA 145 takes a right turn to head eastward towards CA 41 on Yosemite Avenue.  CA 145 crosses the California High Speed Rail Project upon exiting the city.  The High Speed Rail is projected to be open between Madera and Bakersfield by 2018, it follows the CA 99 corridor.








The Sierras are within sight of the CA 145 northern terminus at the CA 41 junction.  The implied continuation of CA 145 continues eastward to Friant on Road 145 past the north terminus.  Caltrans District 6 is generally pretty decent at placing "End" placards at route terminus points.




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