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California State Route 150 family of highways (CA 246, CA 154, CA 192 and CA 150)

This past month I drove the majority of what was once the 1934 route of California State Route 150 between Surf east to Santa Paula on modern day; CA 246, CA 154, CA 192 and CA 150.



Part 1; the history of California State Route 150 and how it became multiple highways

As noted in the intro to this blog the current routes of CA 246, CA 154, CA 192 and present CA 150 once largely comprised of what was originally a much larger CA 150.  CA 150 was one of the original Signed State Highways which was announced in a Department of Public Works Publication in August of 1934 on Page 32.  CA 150 was initially routed from Surf eastward towards Santa Paula via Santa Barbara and Ojai.

August 1934 Department of Public Works Guide announcing the Signed State Highway

CA 150 as originally defined in 1934 was comprised from the following Legislative Routes:

-  From Surf east to Santa Ynez CA 150 was signed on LRN 149 which was added to the State Highway System in 1933 according to CAhighways.org.

-  From Santa Ynez CA 150 was signed on LRN 80 east to near the Ventura County Line.   LRN 80 was first defined in 1931 as a highway from Zaca to Santa Barbra via San Marcos Pass.  In 1933 LRN 80 was extended east to the Ventura County Line according to CAhighways.org.

-  From near the Ventura County line CA 150 was signed on LRN 151 east to Santa Paula.  According to CAhighways.org LRN 151 was added to the State Highway System in 1933.

The initial alignment of CA 150 from Surf to Santa Paula can be observed on this 1935 Goshua Highway Map of California.


At some point between 1936 and 1938 a small segment of State Highway was added that aligns with present CA 154 on San Marcos Pass Road between US 101 and CA 192.  It appears this segment of highway was a spur of LRN 80 (according to the 1959 definition seen on CAhighways.org) and can be seen appearing by comparing the Santa Barbara Area on the 1936-37 State Highway Map to the 1938 Edition.  This small portion of highway is important since it appears to have ultimately been the driving force for CA 150 breaking into several highways.

1936-37 State Highway Map

1938 State Highway Map 

Beginning in 1950 construction of Bradbury Dam in Santa Barbara on the Santa Ynez River began and was completed by 1953.  This required that much of CA 150 between Santa Ynez and Devaul Canyon be relocated uphill to the south of future site of Lake Cachuma.  Presently this alignment is still in use as San Marcos Pass Road on CA 154.

Similarly when construction of Castias Dam on the Ventura River of Ventura County began in 1956 the original alignment of CA 150 had to be relocated.  The Castias Dam project shifted the alignment of CA 150 from the east bank of Santa Ana Creek to the west bank.  The alignment of CA 150 west of Santa Ana Creek is still part of the modern highway on Castias Pass Road.  Castias Dam was completed by 1959 and the original alignment of CA 150 can be seen south of the Marina Cafe when Lake Castias is low.

Globally the first major truncation of CA 150 came in 1961 when CA 154 was first signed between Surf and US 101 in Santa Barbara.  CA 150 was truncated to CA 154 just short of San Marcos Pass in Santa Barbra.  This change can be observed by comparing the 1961 State Highway Map to the 1962 Edition. 

1961 State Highway Map

1962 State Highway Map

Note; according to CAhighways.org there is a photo existing which shows CA 154 signed on a multiplex with CA 1 in Lompoc in 1957.  Given I cannot find the said photo I cannot confirm this was the case.

CAhighways.org on CA 154

During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering CA 150 was truncated to a west terminus at US 101 near Carpinteria in Ventura County.  What had been CA 150 between CA 154 in Santa Barbara east across the Ventura County Line became CA 192.  CA 154 was still aligned from Santa Barbara west over Santa Marcos Pass towards Santa Ynez but was shifted northwest to US 101 near Los Olivos.  CA 246 was assigned to what had been CA 154 between Surf and Santa Ynez.  These changes can be observed by comparing the 1963 State Highway Map to the 1964 Edition.

1963 State Highway Map

1964 State Highway Map 

1964 was also a significant year in that CA 154 was realigned onto the Cold Springs Arch Bridge which significantly straightened the approach to San Marcos Pass.  Previous to being realigned CA 150 and later CA 154 used Stagecoach Road to traverse Cold Springs Canyon. 

In 1984 CA 246 east from Surf to the City Limit of Lompoc as deleted by the State Legislature and relinquished.  The first State Highway Map to reflect the truncation of CA 246 to Lompoc was the 1988 Edition.

1988 State Highway Map


Part 2; driving CA 246 from Lompoc east to CA 154 in Santa Ynez

The present route of CA 246 officially begins at the western City Limit of Lompoc and travels 26 miles eastward to Santa Ynez according to CAhighways.org.


My approach to CA 246 east was from CA 1 south in Lompoc.  Interestingly as I was approaching Ocean Avenue I noticed that the signage for CA 246 on Ocean Avenue (at Post Mile Route 1 SB 20.575) is still posted directing traffic westbound to Surf.  I found this odd since it has been well over three decades since CA 246 was officially truncated to CA 1.  It seems that CA 246 officially ends just west of the junction of with CA 1 at Route 246 Post Mile 8.302.



I turned east on CA 1 south on Ocean Avenue and noticed that the CA 246 signage is also present with reassurance shields through Lompoc.  CA 246 east for all intents and purposes is multiplexed with signage on CA 1 to where it splits away at 12th Street (approximately Route 246 Post Mile 9.561).







CA 246 almost immediately crosses the Santa Ynez River upon leaving Lompoc.  CA 246 east of Lompoc is signed on Buellton-Lompoc Road.







I quickly pulled off CA 246 east onto Mission Gate Road at Post Mile SB R11.357 to visit La Purisima Mission State Historic Park.





La Purisima Mission (also known as Mission La Purisima Concepcion) was the 11th of 21 Catholic Missions which were built in Alta California between 1769 and 1823.  La Purisima Mission was originally located near Ocean Avenue in Lompoc when it was originally was established in December of 1787.  The original La Purisima Mission was destroyed during an earthquake in December 1812 and was relocated to the present site.  La Purisima Mission was located on El Camino Real which was an early highway between the 21 Missions which were spaced approximately 30 miles apart.  El Camino Real and La Purisima Mission declined in importance when the Mexican Government secularized all the missions in beginning 1833.  Mission La Purisima gradually fell into ruin until it was deeded to the State of California in 1933.  Mission La Purisima became a State Historic Park in 1935 and was rededicated upon completion of it's restoration in 1941.  The original path of El Camino Real is well marked within the Mission grounds and goes well against the grain of the popular perception that it was completely associated with the corridor of US 101.







Conversely the American El Camino Real has origins in the formation of the El Camino Real Association in 1904.  The American El Camino Real Association began signing a highway with the signature Mission Bells starting 1906 to promote a corridor of through transportation and tourism.  The American El Camino Real is one of the earliest examples of a signed Auto Trail which were precursors to the US Route System.  The American El Camino Real became closely associated with Legislative Route 2 following the passage of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act and later US Route 101 in late 1926.  The Spanish El Camino Real differed heavily as it followed much of the path of the original CA 150 east of Lompoc over San Marcos Pass to Santa Barbra.  One of the American El Camino Real Bells is posted on the grounds of Mission La Purisima despite it never being part of highway.



Mission La Purisima has a display regarding life on the Spanish El Camino Real.



Returning to CA 246 east on Buellton-Lompoc Road the highway enters a roundabout at Purisima Road at Post Mile 12.258.


CA 246 east continues on towards US 101 and meets the original alignment of CA 150 at Campbell Road (Post Mile SB R17.102).  CA 150 along Campbell Road would have traversed the ghost town of Santa Rita apparently only had Post Office service from 1909 to 1914.











Santa Rita and the original alignment of CA 150 in Santa Barbara County can be seen on the below 1935 Division of Highways Map.

1935 Santa Barbara County Highway Map

CA 246 east of Campbell Road traverses open country side and expands to an expressway approaching Buellton.















CA 246 east passes through Buellton and meets US 101 at Post Mile SB 26.249.





CA 246 east of US 101 is signed on Mission Drive and quickly enters Solvang at approximately SB 29.005.






Solvang is somewhat an oddity in that it has a very Danish appearance as the primary facade of the City.  Solvang was founded by the Danish-American Colony Company out of San Francisco in 1911.  Gradually the community grew and eventually incorporated into a City by 1985.  CA 246 east traverses downtown Solvang on a pedestrian heavy Mission Drive.






Mission Santa Ines is located in Solvang along CA 246.  Mission Santa Ines was the 19th Mission established in Alta California in 1804. 


CA 246 east passes through the outskirts of the Santa Ynez Reservation on Mission Drive.



CA 246 east enters Santa Ynez on Mission Drive and terminates at a roundabout where it meets CA 154 on San Marcos Pass Road at approximately Post Mile SB R34.59.













Part 3; CA 154 east over San Marcos Pass to Santa Barbara

The present route of CA 154 officially begins at US 101 near Los Olivos and traverses 32 miles southeast by way of San Marcos Pass back to US 101 near Santa Barbara according to CAhighways.org.


Given that I was following the original path of CA 150 via CA 246 east my starting point on CA 154 was at approximately SB R8.144.




CA 154 east of CA 246 is signed as 6 miles from Lake Cachuma and 24 miles from Santa Barbara.  As noted above CA 154 east of CA 246 is signed along San Marcos Pass Road.


CA 154 east is signed as a Safety Corridor.  The route of CA 154 is a popular short cut from Santa Barbara which takes traffic on a more direct path towards the San Francisco Bay Area.  The design of CA 154 on San Marcos Pass Road is mostly two-lane with occasional passing areas.  The design of CA 154 coupled with the somewhat high traffic count has made the route known for traffic accidents.



At approximately Post Mile SB R10.14 CA 154 crosses the Santa Ynez River.






As noted above construction of the Bradbury Dam pushed the alignment of CA 150 uphill south of the Santa Ynez River which is still used by modern CA 154.  CA 154 east on San Marcos Pass Road is an example of a "two-lane" expressway design (at least by California standards).  Expressways in California are simply defined by whether or not businesses and/or homes are allowed to directly access the highway or have some sort of separation which requires use of a connecting road.  CA 154 has been part of the California Freeway and Expressway System since 1959.







At Post Mile SB 13.57 CA 154 east meets accesses a Vista Point for Bradbury Dam and Lake Cachuma.



The Vista has numerous statistics about Bradbury Dam and Lake Cuchuma.






At Post Mile SB 14.705 CA 154 east meets the access point for the Lake Cuchuma Recreation Area.



CA 154 east traverses the terrain of the Santa Ynez Mountains south of the Lake Cuchuma and intersects part of the original alignment of CA 150 on Stagecoach Road at Post Mile SB 20.673.











At approximately Post Mile SB 20.855 CA 154 east enters Los Padres National Forest.


At Post Mile SB 21.598 CA 154 east meets Paradise Road which is signed as access to the Santa Ynez Recreation Area.



At Post Mile SB 22.53 CA 154 east has access to the Santa Ynez Valley Vista which was unfortunately closed.


CA 154 east crosses the Cold Springs Canyon Arch Bridge beginning at approximately Post Mile SB 23.000.  The suicide barrier present was recently installed in 2012, apparently there has been over 50 suicides on the Cold Springs Canyon Arch Bridge since it opened in 1964.




CA 154 east crosses San Marcos Pass which is located at 2,225 feet above sea level.  At Post Mile SB 23.376 CA 154 east intersects the opposite side of the original alignment of CA 150 on Stagecoach Road.


The Cold Springs Canyon Arch Bridge can easily be seen from old CA 150 on Stagecoach Road.  The Cold Springs Canyon Arch Bridge is 1,217 feet in length but has 400 foot clearance over the namesake Cold Springs Canyon.  The Cold Springs Canyon Arch Bridge is painted in a somewhat unique hue of green which makes it pop out amid the terrain.


Old CA 150 on Stagecoach Road is mostly used to access Cold Springs Tavern.  Cold Springs Tavern has the old ACSC San Marcos Pass sign which displays "elevation 2,225 feet" on display.







From Old CA 150 on Stagecoach Road the bottom of Cold Springs Canyon Arch Bridge can be seen.  The deck clearance of 400 feet is particularly striking from the original alignment of CA 150.







CA 154 east of Stagecoach Road approaches the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains and is advised Post Mile SB 24.46 that a 7% downhill grade is ahead.  It should be noted that CA 154 near San Marcos Pass has scenic placards.





CA 154 east continues to snake towards Santa Barbara and opens up onto a vista at Post Mile SB 26.50.







At San Marcos Road at Post Mile SB 26.696 an unobstructed vista of Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz Island of Channels Island National Park can be found.  Note; San Marcos Road south and Cathedral Oaks Road east is the original alignment of CA 150.  The current Super Two alignment of CA 154 to CA 192 appears to have been part of the upgrades associated with the Cold Springs Canyon Arch Bridge.




CA 154 east begins to descend down into Santa Barbara and exits Los Padres National Forest.  At Post Mile SB R31.198 CA 154 east meets CA 192 which is where CA 150 would have originally swung eastward towards the Ventura County Line.



















CA 154 east meets US 101 in Santa Barbara and terminates at Post Mile SB 32.285.








Part 4; CA 192 east from CA 154 to CA 150

The present route of CA 192 begins at CA 154 in Santa Barbara.  CA 192 follows the foothills of Santa Ynez Mountains east to CA 150 in Ventura County.  CA 192 is currently 21 miles in length according to CAhighways.org.  CA 192 became somewhat infamous due to the heavy damage caused to it during the 2018 Montecito Mudslides.


CA 192 is a strange State Highway in that it essentially exists on what has become a series of residential streets which have long since lost their utility as a through route.  From CA 154 the route of CA 192 east begins on Foothill Drive before turning onto Mountain Drive at Post Mile SB 3.876.  At Post Mile 4.27 CA 192 east turns on Mission Ridge Road and onto Stanwood Drive at Post Mile SB 4.544.

At approximately Post Mile SB 5.981 CA 192 east crosses the one-lane stone arch Sycamore Creek Bridge approaching CA 144 and Sycamore Canyon Road.   The Sycamore Creek Bridge was opened to traffic in 1921 and one of the few examples of a segment one-lane State Highway.  Further, I cannot think off the top of my head another example of a stone arch bridge being maintained a Caltrans owned roadway.  CA 192 east turns onto Sycamore Canyon Road at the junction with CA 144.



CA 192 east follows Sycamore Canyon Road into Montecito before turning left onto Valley Road at Post Mile SB 7.937.











CA 192 follows Valley Road through central Montecito at San Ysidro Road at Post Mile SB 8.816.








CA 192 east continues through the outskirts of Montecito where it has signed access to Toro Canyon Park at Post Mile SB 12.562.
















At Post Mile SB 13.102 CA 192 east turns onto Foothill Road.




CA 192 east follows Foothill Road through the community of Toro Canyon.  At Post Mile SB 14.57 CA 192 east comes within less than a quarter mile of US 101.





















CA 192 east continues on Foothill Road into Carpineria.  At Post Mile SB 18.000 CA 192 east joins Casitas Pass Road.




CA 192 east follows Casitas Pass Road to CA 150 at Post Mile SB 21.086 just short of the Ventura County Line.
















Part 5; CA 150 east from CA 192 to CA 33

The last part of my drive on the CA 150 family of highways was the namesake highway from CA 192 east to CA 33.  Present CA 150 begins at US 101 near Carpinteria and traverses easterly 36 miles to CA 126 in Santa Paula according to CAhighways.org.


CA 150 east follows Casitas Pass Road to Rincon Creek where it crosses the Ventura County Line at Post Mile SB 2.190.









Ojai is signed as 18 miles to the east on CA 150 from the Ventura County Line whereas Santa Paula is shown as 33 miles away.


CA 150 east follows Casitas Pass Road over the namesake Pass to an overlook of Lake Casitas at approximately Post Mile VEN 6.750.




















CA 150 east begins a clockwise descent around Lake Casitas and enters the Lake Casitas Recreation Area.








CA 150 east passes by Casitas Station of Los Padres National Forest.  CA 150 continues on Casitas Pass Road north of Lake Casitas and picks up it's original alignment at Santa Ana Road at Post Mile VEN 11.27.











From Santa Ana Road CA 150 east is signed on Baldwin Road all the way to CA 33 (former US 399) in Mira Monte at approximately Post Mile VEN R14.408.









CA 150 east multiplexes CA 33 north 2 miles into Ojai on Ventura Avenue and Ojai Avenue.  CA 150 east splits from CA 33 north in Ojai and continues onward towards Santa Paula at Post Mile VEN 16.578.  I turned north on CA 33 on Maricopa Highway and towards Cuyama Valley.






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