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Sign County Route J18 and pre-1937 Legislative Route 122

The fourth route I took this past Monday was Sign County Route J18.


Sign County Route J18 ("J18") is a 26.5 mile route spanning San Joaquin Valley from I-5 east to CA 99.  From I-5 J18 starts at exit 423 along Stuhr Road.



Sturh Road looking east towards Newman across San Joaquin Valley.


J18 crosses CA 33 just north of the city limits of Newman.


East of Newman Sturh Road ends and J18 east takes a left turn on Hills Ferry Road.  Hills Ferry Road quickly crosses the San Joaquin River into Merced County becoming Kelley Road.


J18 turns right on River Road over the Merced River.  The 1910 Merced River Bridge is located next to the modern bridge on River Road.  The 1910 bridge is heavily vandalized and obviously not very well cared for with holes in the asphalt surface. 









River Road east of the Merced River is in terrible shape and can't really practically be drive at speeds higher than 45 MPH comfortably.  River Road has several 90 degree turns and generally follows the path of the Merced River.





Interestingly J18 jumps onto CA 165/Lander Avenue briefly before continuing east on Westside Boulevard.  This would be a rare example of a State Highway multiplexing a Sign County Route.



Westside Boulevard is flat and straight with very few indications you are still on J18 aside from this weird looking shield.


After 11 miles on Westside Boulevard J18 terminates at CA 99 near Atwater.


According to CAhighways.org J18 has been signed since 1960.

CAhighways.org on Sign County Route J18

Interestingly J18 was the precursor route to California State Route 140 west of Merced.  The 1935
Division of Highways maps for Stanislaus and Merced Counties show Legislative Route 122 running from CA 33 in Newman east to US 99 in Livingston.  The route of this highway is exactly the same as CR J18 aside from using Main Street north from Westside Boulevard to reach US 99 in Livingston and utilizing Hills Ferry Road to CA 33 in Newman.  Legislative Route 122 was adopted during 1933 according to CAhighways.org. 

1935 Division of Highways Map of Merced County

1935 Division of Highways Map Stanislaus County

Legislative Route 122 was shifted off of River Road south to a new alignment between Merced and Gustine which can be seen on the 1938 Division of Highways State Map.  CA 140 can also be seen for the first time west of Merced on the 1938 Division of Highways State Map. 

1938 Division of Highways State Map

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