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California State Route 68

Circumstance brought me to the Monterey Peninsula on Monday.  I generally find myself in the area very frequently so I decided to finish some route clinches of the more conventional highways, in this particular case California State Route 68.  I made my way north on US 101 to Salinas CA 68 on John Street.  John Street from Abbott Street west to South Main Street is a previous alignment of US 101.




CA 68 is an east/west route but largely travels southwest/northeast between Salinas and Monterey.  I was traveling westbound so I had to turn Main Street to continue towards Monterey.  CA 68 is odd in that it is heavily traveled roadway but is largely still a two-lane highway.



CA 68 has two small freeway segments along the 22 miles of roadway, the first is immediately outside the city limits of Salinas which traverses the Salinas River.  Spreckels Boulevard and County Route G17/Reservation Road both have exits on this short freeway segment which I believe is only three miles.  West of the Salinas River CA 68 drops back down to two-lanes approaching Fort Ord National Monument.



Fort Ord was a Army Reservation from 1917 to when it was decomissioned in 1994.  Fort Ord became a National Monument in 2012 and has become a pretty popular place to hike for locals in Monterey County.  The two-lane segment has two major junctions with County Route G20/Laurles Grade and CA 218 before becoming a short freeway that junctions with CA 1.   CA 68 enters the city limits of Monterey and skims the line of Del Ray Oaks before becoming a freeway.








CA 68 multiplexes the CA 1 freeway for a couple miles before splitting off as a surface route near Pebble Beach and 17 Mile Drive on the Holman Highway.





CA 68 uses a roundabout which junctions 17 Mile Drive and continues west as the Holman Highway.  CA 68 crosses under 17 Mile Drive in a couple locations, really the western segment of highway is strange in nature but I'll discuss that in the highway history below.



Entering Pacific Grove CA 68 becomes Forest Avenue before splitting off towards the Pacific Ocean on Sunset Drive.





Oddly CA 68 doesn't continue to the ocean but turns onto Asilomar Avenue to a terminus at Sinex Boulevard.  The pavement Caltrans used can be seen on the transition from Sunset to Asilomar Boulevard.  The terminus is seemingly random but it seems was intentionally designed to end at the entrance to the Asilomar Conference Center.




Asilomar Avenue actually continues north to Ocean View Boulevard at Asilomar State Beach.  The State Beach was created in 1951 and is very similar to Pebble Beach with the rocky coastline.  Ocean View Boulevard continues past Lovers Point State Park all the way east to the Monterey City Limits.






The route that became CA 68 was originally not a signed state highway but was made out of two legislative routes; LRN 117 and LRN 262.  LRN 117 was around back in 1934 when the Signed State Route system was instated in California and made up the routing from Salinas at US 101 west to CA 1.  In my my map research I observed the following about this particular segment of CA 68 on the LRN 117 segment:

-   On the 1935 County Highway Map of Monterey County LRN 117 appears enter the city along the modern route and likely used Fremont Street to Meet SSR 1 which would have probably been on Del Monte Avenue.

-  By 1942 LRN 117 seems to have been pushed back off of Fremont as SSR 1 seems to have assumed the alignment through Monterey.  This makes sense since parts of Fremont Street are signed as Business CA 1.

-  By 1960 LRN 262 is shown as a stub west of SSR 1 near Pebble Beach.  The stub is very short and appears to not traverse very far west of SSR 1.

-  By 1961 LRN 117 became signed as SSR 68.

-  By 1964 LRN 117 and LRN 262 are reassigned as LRN 68 during the state highway renumbering.  CA 68 remains signed only between Salinas to Monterey.

-  By 1966 LRN 68 is extended west to Asilomar Avenue but does not appear to have been signed as CA 68.

-  By 1967 it appears that the small segment of CA 68 intersecting CA 1 became a freeway.  I'm to understand that the freeway segment over the Salinas River became a freeway as well but I can't see the change until the 1969 state highway map.  The Salinas River freeway segment appears to have replaced what is now Hilltown Road and Spreckels Lane.  The previous bridge over the Salinas River was a truss design much like the San Lucas Bridge to the south.

My source references can be seen at the following links:

1935 Monterey County Highway Map

1942 State Highway Map

1960 State Highway Map

1961 State Highway Map

1964 State Highway Map

1966 State Highway Map

1967 State Highway Map

1969 State Highway Map

Cahighways.org on CA 68

Wikipedia on CA 68

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