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California State Route 156

Over the past couple years I've taken about every single conceivable note worthy road in and out of the California Coast as far south as San Luis Obispo north to Point Reyes.  Usually I try to avoid main roads due to the fact that I'm generally not in a rush and I routes like freeways to be boring to drive.  Last Friday it just so happened that I needed to be out on the Monterey Peninsula in a rush and it had rained about an inch the night prior.  So with those factors in mind I decided on the conventional way to the Monterey Peninsula from the Central Valley via California State Route 156.  So after an early morning jaunt through a soggy San Joaquin Valley and a westerly windy climb over Pacheco Pass on CA 152 I made my way to the start of CA 156.

CA 156 is a 25 mile route from CA 152 in Santa Clara County west to CA 1 near the mouth of the Salinas River in Castroville in Monterey County.  All of modern CA 156 was part of Legislative Route Number 22.  Almost every source that I tend to cite has CA 156 being unsigned until 1963 but it appears at least the section between CA 156 to US 101 was signed by 1938.

1938 State Highway Map

It wasn't until 1964 until the California Highway Renumbering that CA 156 was applied to what was LRN 22 between US 101 and CA 1.

1964 State Highway Map

CA 156 westbound starts by traversing underneath CA 152 Zanger Memorial Flyover.  Oddly if you are heading east on CA 156 and want to access CA 152 west you have to go all the way to Casa de Fruita and turn around.

From the junction with CA 152 it is 8 miles west on CA 156 to Hollister.

CA 156 is only in Santa Clara County briefly before entering San Benito County.

CA 156 has a well signed Business Route through Hollister that is the original alignment of the highway.  Westbound CA 156 used to traverse through Hollister on San Felipe Road and San Juan Road.  The modern alignment of CA 156 bypasses Hollister to the northwest.

CA 156 intersects CA 25 (the Airline Highway) north of Hollister.

As CA 156 swings around Hollister westbound it meets it's business loop on San Juan Road and offers a view of Fremont Peak in the Gabilan Range.

CA 156 enters San Juan Bautista and meets County Route G1 at the Alameda.  G1 heads south to the top of Fremont Peak.

Westbound CA 156 becomes an expressway as it approaches US 101.  The intersection with Monterey Street is notable due to it being part of the original alignment of CA 156.

Originally CA 156 used Old San Juan-Hollister Road, The Alameda, 3rd Street, and Monterey Street in San Juan Bautista.  The original alignment can be seen on the 1935 California Divisions of Highways Map of San Benito County. 

CA 156 west joins the US 101 southbound expressway which enters Monterey County. 

CA 156/US 101 junctions County Route G11 at San Juan Road which apparently is no longer signed.

CA 156 exits US 101 in Prunedale at exit 336 to continue west to Castroville.

It appears LRN 22 used Blackie Road in Prunedale from US 101 to reach LRN 118 (modern CA 183) on Merritt Street in Castroville.  This is alignment is shown on the 1935 California Divisions of Highway Map of Monterey County.  It doesn't appear Blackie Road was part of CA 156 when it was signed over LRN 22 in 1964 but the state highway map doesn't provide enough detail to be certain.

Exiting US 101 onto a surface alignment CA 156 becomes a two-lane expressway until the junction with Castroville Boulevard.

From Castroville Boulevard CA 156 becomes a short freeway west to a terminus at CA 1.  Before CA 1 was realigned north of Castroville CA 156 ended at it when it ran on Merritt Street.  CA 156 has an end placard at CA 1 but I missed taking a photo of it.


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