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State Route 46

Click here for a key to the symbols used. An explanation of acronyms may be found at the bottom of the page.


Routing Routing

  1. Rte 46 Seg 1From Route 1 near Cambria to Route 101 near Paso Robles.

    Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

    This segment is as defined in 1963.

    Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

    Between the initial state signage of routes in 1934 and the 1964 signed/legislative route alignment, this segment was signed as Route 41, and was a 1933 extension of LRN 33. It ran along Santa Rosa Creek Road until re-aligned sometime around 1970 to the current routing to Cambria. See the map below.

    Status Status

    Templeton Roundabout (05-SLO-46 R17.2/R17.6)

    In October 2017, it was reported that Caltrans is considering replacing the four-way stop and blinking light at Route 46 and Vineyard Dr. in Templeton with a traffic circle. Traffic circles, long popular in Europe, have been employed in more limited numbers in the U.S. For instance, there’s a two-lane roundabout in Morro Bay, at Morro Bay Boulevard and Quintana Road, just west of the Route 1 exit. However, earlier in 2017, Templeton residents rejected a plan to install a roundabout near the Main Street-US 101 interchange that would have cost $10 million to $16.5 million. Concerns about roundabout safety and their suitability for truck traffic helped stall that proposal.
    (Source: San Luis Obispo Tribune, 10/5/2017)

    In January 2018, the CTC made the following SHOPP amendment: 05-SLO-46 R17.2/R17.6 Route 46 Near Paso Robles, at Route 46 West intersection with Vineyard Drive. Construct roundabout. PA&ED: 01/12/2018 R/W: 10/9/2019 RTL: 1/9/2020 BC: 8/19/2020. Total Cost: $9,402,000.
    (Source: CTC Agenda, January 2018, Agenda Item 2.1a(1))

    Naming Naming

    Eric Seastrand Memorial HighwayThis segment is officially named the "Eric Seastrand Memorial Highway" (~ SLO R0.000 to SLO R21.852). Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 22, Chapter 75, in 1993. Eric Seastrand served in the California State Assembly from 1983 to 1985, serving San Luis Obispo County, representing California's 22nd District, home to Vandenberg Air Force Base. He was very active in the establishment of the California Spaceport Authority.
    (Image source: One Voter Project, Join California)

    Scenic Route Scenic Route

    [SHC 263.4] Entire portion.


  2. Rte 46 Seg 2From Route 101 in Paso Robles to Route 99 near Famoso via Cholame Pass.

    Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

    As defined in 1963, this segment ran from "Route 101 in San Luis Obispo County to Route 99 near Bakersfield via Cholame Pass." In 1965, Chapter 1371 changed the terminus to "Route 99 near Famoso via Cholame Pass." In 1992, Chapter 1243 made the origin more specific: "Route 101 in Paso Robles"

    Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

    Rtes 41 - 46 - 466US Highway Shield Between the late 1950s and 1964, this route (from Paso Robles to Shandon) was signed as US 466. It was LRN 33, and was defined in 1915. (Prior to the late 1950s, it appears that US 466 was routed along LRN 125 -- it is unclear if Route 41 was shifted to LRN 125 when US 466 was shifted to LRN 33 between Paso Robles and Shandon). It was cosigned with Route 41 between Shandon and Cholame. The portion between Route 101 and Shandon was unconstructed in 1935. US 466 continued S from Route 99 in Bakersfield to the Nevada State Line, along the routing of what is now Route 58 (LRN 58) to Barstow, and then N on US 91 (now I-15; LRN 31)

    The Route 46 signage was not defined in 1934. It is likely that Route 46 was first signed in 1964 with the decomissioning of US 466, taking over what had been Route 41 to Cambria, and former US 466 from Paso Robles to points East. The route that became Route 46 was adopted into the California Highway System in 1915 and was made part of the California Freeway and Expressway System in 1971 as a Controlled Access Highway. Within the county, this highway crosses terrain that transitions from gently rolling rangeland to level agricultural land and small urban areas. Route 46 has been designated as a State Highway Terminal Access Route for larger trucks under the Federal Surface Transportation Act of 1982. Route 46, from its junction with Route 101 to its junction with I-5, is a State Highway Extra Legal Load (SHELL) Route and is included in the National Highway System. Route 46 is also a High Emphasis Interregional Route. The route is designated for explosives, hazardous materials (including rocket fuel), and trucks up to 105 feet in length. On a year-around basis, Route 46 is a significant interregional route for agricultural products, and truck traffic accounts for 40% of the Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT).
    (H/T: Max R and the crew at AARoads for helping to sort some of this out.)

    Status Status

    Highway 46 Corridor Project

    Rte 46 CorridorIn December 2017, the Caltrans Mile Marker published the following chart to show the progress of the various segments of construction. It may prove useful for the discussion below:

    Segment Length (Mi) Phase Construction Cost (Million)
    (* = Unfunded)
    Union / PPNO 2528 5.0 Completed 2010 $33.3
    Whitley 1 4.0 Completed 2014 $47.0
    Whitley 2A / PPNO 0226G 5.1 Completed 2016 $38.1
    Whitley 2B 4.0 Completed 2019 $45.7
    Cholame / PPNO 0226J 4.4 Design / Right of Way $55.0
    Wye / PPNO 0226K 3.2 Planned $111.0*
    Antelope Grade / PPNO 0226L 3.1 Planned $43.2*
    Segment 2 7.3 Completed $24.3
    Segment 3 12.5 Completed $45.3
    Segment 1 7.7 Completed $24.2
    Segment 4A 3.0 Design / Right of Way $17.5
    Segment 4B 3.0 Planned $50.0*

    Union Road Intersection Improvements

    In June 2015, the CTC allocated $450,000 for the Route 46/Union Road Intersection Improvements. This project is in Paso Robles, at the Route 46/Union Road Intersection (apx. SLO 35.009), and consists of construction of intersection improvements, including new local roads and interchange.

    The 2018 STIP, approved at the CTC March 2018 meeting, appears to allocate $800K in Advance Project Development Element (APDE) funding for PS&E in FY19-20 for PPNO 2528 Rt 46/Union Road Intersection improvements.

    The 2020 STIP, approaved at the CTC March 2020 meeting, continues the programmed allocations for PPNO 2528 "Rt 46/Union Road Intersection improvements (APDE)"
    (Source: March 2020 CTC Agenda, Item 4.7, 2020 STIP Adopted 3/25/2020)

    In December 2012, the CTC approved $4,300,000 to replace the Estrella River Bridge near Paso Robles as it was structurally deficient (approx SLO 40.01).

    Whitley 1, 2A and 2B Segments near Shandon (SLO 37.025 to SLO 49.6)

    The SAFETEA-LU act, enacted in August 2005 as the reauthorization of TEA-21, provided the following expenditures on or near this route:

    • High Priority Project #1043: Widen Route 46 between Airport Road (SLO 32.123) and the Shandon Rest Stop (SLO 49.599) in San Luis Obispo County. $33,461,000.

    In October 2015, the CTC approved $55,200K in funding for 05-SLO-46 46/50.2 Route 46 Corridor Improvements (Whitley 2B). Near Shandon, from 0.2 mile east of McMillan Canyon Road (SLO 45.683) to 0.4 mile west of Lucy Brown Road (SLO 50.152). (CEQA - EIR, 5/19/2006.) (NEPA - FONSI, 5/19/2006.) (Future Consideration of Funding approved under Resolution E-06-23; July 2006.)

    In the December 2017 Mile Marker, Caltrans noted: "A five-mile widening of the highway near Shandon is now underway, and the $47 million project is expected to be complete by the end of 2018. Plans call for construction to the Cholame area. The projected $55 million project is expected to begin in late 2019."

    In June 2019, it was reported that Caltrans has completed a widening project on Route 46 East from McMillan Canyon Road to Lucy Brown Road through Shandon (Whitley 2B). Before completing this project, Caltrans had already widened sections of Route 46 and Route 41 near Paso Robles. The widening of Route 46 East from Almond Drive (SLO 40.555) to McMillan Canyon Road (SLO 45.683) was completed in 2016. The widening of Route 46 East from Geneseo Road (SLO 37.025) to east of Almond Drive (SLO 40.555) was done in 2014, and the widening of Route 46 from Airport Road (SLO 32.116) to Geneseo Road (SLO 37.025) finished in 2010. In total, the project cost about $47 million. Now that this widening project is complete Caltrans will work on widening another five-mile segment of Route 46 East from Shandon Rest Area to Cholame (Cholame) in the spring of 2020.
    (Source: KSBY, 6/27/2019)

    Cholame Segment (05-SLO-46, PM 49.7/54.7)

    Cholame Segment (05-SLO-46, PM 49.7/54.7)In June 2018, it was reported that concrete has started to flow for the new Cholame Creek Bridge, west of the Shandon Roadside Rest Area (~ SLO 048.32). Subsuming as part of the bridge’s new permanent structure the ‘lost deck,’ which had been visible to motorists until the weekend, the new form should be ready to be stressed by the end of June. The new infrastructure is expected to last 70 years. The “stressing” will come in the form of cables running through the structure pulled taught underneath, a design allowing for fewer ground supports. It will be an improvement for the creek as there were three supports before. With materials chosen for durability under heavy truck traffic, the concrete slab roadway east leading up to the bridge is mostly ready for connection, but drivers on the stretch are still using the eventual westbound lanes to go both ways until that’s been done.
    (Source: Paso Robles Press, 6/4/18)

    The 2020 STIP, approved at the March 2020 CTC meeting, included PPNO 0226J, Cholame, convert to 4-lane expressway, in the Interregional portion of the STIP with one change in programming: $30,600K in prior year funding (unchanged), and the $72,421K in FY20-21 changed to 93,955K.
    (Source: March 2020 CTC Agenda, Item 4.7, 2020 STIP Adopted 3/25/2020)

    In June 2020, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding 05-SLO-46, PM 49.7/54.7 Route 46 Corridor Improvement Project. Widen the Cholame Section of Route 46 from a two-lane highway to a four-lane divided expressway (PPNO 0226J). The project proposes to construct the Choalame Section of the Route 46 Corridor Improvement Project. As with the previously constructed sections of the Corridor Project, the Choalame Section will continue with the conversion of the existing two-lane highway to a four-lane divided expressway. This project is fully funded and is currently programmed in the 2020 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) for a total of $124,555,000 which includes Construction (capital and support) and Right of Way (capital and support). Construction is estimated to begin in the fall of 2021. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope programmed by the Commission in the 2020 STIP.
    (Source: June 2020 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.2c.(9))

    Wye - Route 41/Route 46 Interchange (SLO 48.32 to approx SLO 55.173)

    In May 2017, it was reported that concern had arisen again regarding the safety of Route 46, especially its interchange with Route 41. More than a decade of efforts to widen the critical valley-coast link paid off in 2009 when construction started. The widening work has made the road safer, giving drivers a swifter route around slow-moving semi-trucks, toy haulers and RVs. But it hasn’t prevented accidents and deaths in the shrinking section where the traffic still slides past on two side-by-side lanes. Construction crews are working to close that gap and link the finished widening projects in both counties. San Luis Obispo County transportation planners are searching for money to improve the Antelope grade and — just to the west — the infamous “Y” intersection of Route 41 and Route 46. Jim Shivers, a spokesman for Caltrans District 5, wrote in an email that road builders have been fighting for years to widen Route 46 and eliminate the head-on or T-bone collisions that can take such a high toll in lives. But there is only so much money and the design, environmental and construction of the improvements can only move at a certain pace. That’s why Caltrans has installed lighted warning lights at the “Y” intersection between Route 41 and Route 46 and added heavy rumble strips between the two lanes of traffic to quickly remind drivers who drift across lanes to get back on their side of the line, Shivers wrote. But even those efforts can’t stop drivers from making mistakes or risky maneuvers like the one that cost Villegas his life at the intersection of Route 41 and Route 46. [Which is why the ultimate solution is likely an appropriate roundabout, if space permits - DPF] The final solution is to complete the widening work on Route 46 between I-5 and US 101 in Paso Robles. Most of the widening work in Kern County has been completed, taking four lanes of asphalt east more than 27 miles from the San Luis Obispo County line to within striking distance of I-5. The last 6-mile stretch from Brown Material Road to I-5 has yet to be constructed but efforts to fund and design it are underway. Construction on the San Luis Obispo side brings the wider route closer to Kern County every day. Currently, heavy equipment is working near the small community of Shandon. That phase of the project will end just past the Shandon rest stop. According to Shiver, work on the environmental review for the next phase, the 5 miles from the rest stop to Jack’s Ranch Café, is ongoing with funding for the work expected to be available in the 2020-21 fiscal year. After that, the transportation agency will tackle the two final segments. They will include construction of an interchange of some sort between Route 41 and Route 46 — eliminating the traffic conflict that contributed to the death of legendary actor James Dean in 1955 and Villegas earlier this month. The final piece of the puzzle will be widening the road up the Antelope Grade to the Kern County line.
    (Source: Bakersfield.Com, 5/20/2017)

    In March 2018, the CTC awarded $197 million for Route 46 improvements. The state money will allow his county's transportation agency to continue widening Route 46, "including grade separation at the Route 41 Wye intersection, our major connection between the Central Coast and the valley." The Cholame Y area has been dubbed “Blood Alley,” as it’s seen three times the number of motorist fatalities than the state average, according to Caltrans. Plans call for new interchange that would eliminate the need for northbound traffic to cross Route 46 onto Route 41. The stretch of the highway has been a danger zone for decades for motorists, who whiz by in opposite directions without roadway separation.
    (Source: San Luis Obispo Tribune, 3/23/2018)

    The 2018 STIP, approved at the CTC March 2018 meeting, appears to allocate $2.5M in construction funding in FY21-22 for PPNO 0226K Route 46/Route 41 Wye, convert to 4-lane expressway.

    The 2020 STIP, approved at the CTC March 2020 meeting, continues the programmed allocation for PPNO 0226K "Route 46/41 Wye, convert to 4-lane expressway (RIP)". It also included interregional programming for PPNO 0226K: Route 46/41 Wye, convert to 4-lane expressway (IIP), with one change: 25,000K in prior year funding changed to 35,000K, and 108,700K in FY21-22 (unchanged).
    (Source: March 2020 CTC Agenda, Item 4.7, 2020 STIP Adopted 3/25/2020)

    Antelope Grade (PM TBD)

    The 2020 STIP, approved at the March 2020 CTC meeting, included PPNO 0226L, Route 46 Antelope Grade, convert to 4-lane expressway, in the Interregional portion of the STIP with one change in programming: $15,494K in FY21-22 reduced to 10,300K.
    (Source: March 2020 CTC Agenda, Item 4.7, 2020 STIP Adopted 3/25/2020)

    With respect to HPP #3637, the CTC had on its October 2006 agenda a resolution that proposed to approve the project for future consideration of funding. This project in Kern and San Luis Obispo Counties is to construct a 4-lane expressway. This project is fully funded in the 2006 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) for $72,500,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007-2008. A negative EIR was completed in October 2006.

    In his 2006 Strategic Growth Plan, Governor Schwartzenegger proposed widening important east west inter-regional routes in San Luis Obispo County for people and goods movement.

    TCRP Project #113 Route 46 Expressway (KER 0.0 to apx. KER 32.482) (Lost Hills)

    The SAFETEA-LU act, enacted in August 2005 as the reauthorization of TEA-21, provided the following expenditures on or near this route:

    • High Priority Project #3637: Planning design and construction to widen Route 46 in Kern County between SLO county line and I-5. According to the Antelope Valley Press, this project would widen Route 46 from two lanes, creating a four-lane expressway from I-5 near Lost Hills to the Kern-San Luis Obispo county line. $92,000,000.

    [TCRP 113]There is currently a push to make a segment of the route a four-lane expressway. Initial plans are for the expressway portion to run from US 101 to I-5, but the expressway may be extended as far as Route 99. TCRP Project #113 will widen this to four lanes for 33 miles from I-5 to the San Luis Obispo County line in Kern County. The overall project is to convert the existing Route 46 from a two-lane conventional highway to a four-lane expressway from Route 5 to the San Luis Obispo County line. The project also includes pavement rehabilitation and improves traffic operations and traffic safety. For delivery and implementation purposes, the project is separated into four segments. The environmental document for the entire corridor was completed in June 2005. The environmental document was delayed due to receiving the Biological Opinion from United States Fish and Wildlife Services in April 2005. Two of the segments are ready to begin right-of-way acquisition. In October 2006, funds were requested from the CTC for this purpose. The project is projected to be completed in FY 2016/2017. In 2007, funding was requested from the Corridor Mobility Improvement Account. The construction of a four-lane expway from Geneseo to Almond (Whitley 1) [$105,000K total cost; $67,742K requested and recommended] was approved, but other corridor improvements (Whitley 2) [$94,000K requested] were not recommended. The CMIA was also recommended to fund widening of Route 46 to four-lanes between Kecks Rd and Route 33 ($49.9 milllion requested, $45 million approved, total cost $94.195 million). The first request for bids (for the segment from Airport Road To Geneseo Road was put out for bid in November 2007, with an estimate of $39M. In July 2010, the second segment (from 0.5 Mile West Of Geneseo Road To 0.6 Mile East Of Almond Drive) was put out for bid with an estimate of $51M. In Spring 2012, the segment from 0.1 Mile east of Almond Drive to 0.8 mile east of Mcmillan Canyon Road was put out for bid. In August 2012, the CTC reduced the original CMIA allocation for construction by $1,912,000, from $40,000,000 to $38,088,000, for the Route 46 Corridor Improvements (Whitley 2A) project (PPNO 0226G) in San Luis Obispo County, reflecting award savings.

    Lost Hills MapIn January 2007, the CTC considered a route adoption of 29.9 miles of Route 46 near the City of Lost Hills in the County of Kern as a Controlled Access Highway. This route adoption extends the limits of the 1971 adoption from PM 28.5 to PM29.9. The purpose of this project is to improve traffic operations, improve traffic safety, and correct any deficiencies in the existing roadway in order to meet all current design standards for a four-lane expressway with a standard 62-feet median in most places. The project improvements extend beyond the limits of the route adoption to 0.9 miles east of I-5. The proposed improvements include new lanes that will shift north and south from the existing alignment in order to avoid a natural creek, a canal, orchards and development along Route 46. The design speed within the expressway limits would be upgraded to 80 miles per hour and the existing roadbed would be rehabilitated to meet all current design standards. Within the community of Lost Hills (PM 29.9 to 30.8), a four-lane conventional highway is proposed with an 18-foot median. The median will act as a two way left turn lane. At I-5 and the business district, the 30-foot median will consist of a left turn lane in each direction separated by a curbed island. Several local roads and Route 33 will be realigned to provide a 90-degree approach to Route 46. This will improve the safety and the operations of these intersections. Route 33 will be constructed with exclusive right and left turn lanes, and storage for left turning movements. In addition, existing intersections within the project limits will be upgraded to accommodate Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 trucks, which are roughly 69 feet long. Within the limits of the route adoption, one bridge will be replaced-the Bitter Water Creek Bridge (#50-437). Beyond the area of the route adoption, new structures include the California Aqueduct Bridge (#50-197), the Route 46/5 separation Bridge (#50-316), the Main Flood Canal Bridge (#50- 30), and the West Side Canal Bridge (#50-29).

    The CTC considered a funding adjustment to the Route 46 Expressway — Segment 3 Project (PPNO 3386A) in June 2008. This project converts the existing two-lane highway on Route 46 to a four-lane expressway from post mile (PM) 6.8 to PM 19.8. This project will also correct any deficiencies in the existing roadway in order to meet current design standards. This project is a vital segment in converting the Route 46 corridor to four lanes between I-5 in Kern County and Route 101 in San Luis Obispo County.

    In March 2009, the CTC was noticed that in April there would be a STIP amendment regarding the expressway. The overall project is to convert Route 46 from a two-lane conventional highway to a four-lane expressway from the San Luis Obispo/Kern County line to Route 5. The Route 46 corridor in Kern County comprises the following four segments, which together compose Traffic Congestion Relief Program (TCRP) Project 113:

    1. Segment 1 (PPNO 3386), from Route 33 to east of Brown Material Road. Design (PS&E) of this segment is complete. Construction is programmed with regional shares (RIP), interregional shares (IIP), federal demonstration (Demo) and proposed TCRP funding.
    2. Segment 2 (PPNO 3380A), from the San Luis Obispo County line to Kecks Road. PS&E of this segment is complete. Construction is programmed with RIP, IIP, Demo and proposed TCRP funding.
    3. Segment 3 (PPNO 3386A), from Kecks Road to Route 33. PS&E is ongoing, but due to be finished March 2010. Construction is programmed with Corridor Mobility Improvement Account (CMIA), RIP, Demo and proposed TCRP funding, all in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009-10. This is a Tier 1 TCRP project.
    4. Segment 4 (PPNO 3386B), from east of Brown Material Road to Route 5. PS&E is programmed with RIP and Demo funding. Right of Way (R/W) and construction are not programmed. The future need is $110,160,000.

    The proposed STIP amendment will fully fund construction of Segments 1 and 2 without the use of TCRP funding, which will allow the remaining TCRP funding ($22,430,000) to be programmed to Segment 4 in the future. It will also account for cost estimate changes on several Segment 1 and 2 components, as well as for the difference between the federal apportionment and the obligation authority for Demo funding on Segments 1 and 2.

    In September 2010, the CTC received notice of a proposal to amend the 2010 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) to revise the funding plan for the Route 46 Expressway — Segment 4 project (PPNO 3386B) [in Wasco, from E of Browns Materials Road to I-5, conversion to a 4-lane expressway], reduce the programming for KCOG’s Planning, Programming and Monitoring (PPNO 6L03), and program two new projects, the 7th Standard Road 8-Lane project (PPNO 6267) [in Bakersfield, from Route 204 to 0.6 mi N of 7th Standard Road, which would widen the freeway from 6 to 8 lanes] and the Taft Highway 8-Lane project (PPNO 6268) [in Bakersfield from Route 119 to Wilson Road, widening the freeway from 6 to 8 lanes].

    In September 2012, Caltrans held a groundbreaking ceremony today for the third phase of the $45 million Route 46 widening project, which will widen five miles of the highway from one to two lanes in each direction. Proposition 1B, the transportation bond approved by voters in 2006, is fully-funding this project. Phase one between Airport Road and Geneseo Road was completed in 2011 while work is currently underway on phase two of widening Route 46 from Geneseo Road to east of Almond Drive. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2013. Phase three will widen the highway from Almond Drive to McMillan Canyon Road.

    In January 2013, the Kern County COG reported that two of three segments along Route 46 from the Kern County line to just west of I-5 that began widening construction in 2009-10 were complete and open to the public. The two-lane highway west of I-5 in Kern County will be a four-lane divided highway once Segment 3 is completed. Segment 1 (7.7 miles in length) and segment 2 (7.3 miles) were opened in late 2011. Segment 3 is 12 miles long and scheduled for completion by September 2014 but could be delivered up to one year early, which would allow the traveling public to traverse the new 27-mile 4-lane highway as soon as the summer of 2013. Construction bids for all segments have totaled nearly $100 million in federal, state and local funds.
    (Source: Kern COG Winter 2012 Newsletter)

    In June 2017, the TCRP #113 Route 46 Widening project received an infusion of the $26,372,000 in TCRP funds from program savings (on routes such as Route 132, Route 10, and Route 65, as well as projects off the state highway system). The overall project is being delivered in four segments: Segment 1 (PPNO 3386), Segment 2 (PPNO 3380A), Segment 3 (PPNO 3386A) and Segment 4A (PPNO 3386C). Segment 4 split into 4A and 4B. Segments 1, 2, and 3 are complete and open to traffic. Segment 4B is currently unfunded. Although design of Segment 4A is completed and a request for concurrent allocation for construction and Right of Way (R/W) on this month’s Commission agenda. The Route 46 Corridor in Kern County was originally authorized for $30,000,000 in TCRP funds, but a total of $22,430,000 in TCRP funds were removed from the project programming due to unavailability of funds. TCRP funding is now available due to the passage of SB 1 and Commission’s close-out policy of the TCRP program. The $26,372K transfer allows the project to address the project cost increases and matching funds requirement. The construction cost increase was primarily due to excavation, and increased imported borrow quantities and item cost increases. In addition $17,003,000 of federal Demonstration Program funds are being moved to the final segment, Segment 4B, of the corridor. The programming changes increase $25,310,000 for construction and $1,062,000 for R/W in TCRP funding, for a total TCRP programming of $28,001,000.

    In October 2017, the CTC received a TCRP amendment that noted: The corridor is being delivered in segments, prior allocations on other segments total $5,941,000. Segment 4A (PPNO 3386C) was ready for allocation in June 2017, and received $26,372,000 in donated TCRP funding savings for a total TCRP programming and allocation of $28,001,000. The June 2017 actions along with prior allocations resulted in a total allocation for the Route 46 Corridor of $33,942,000. At this time, the TCRP programming and allocation must be reduced by $3,942,000 as it exceeds to authorized maximum available. This action restores TCRP Project 113 to its authorized maximum of $30,000,000.

    In October 2017, the CTC made the following financial allocation: 06-Ker-46 30.5/ 33.5 Route 46 Widening - Segment 4A. In and near Lost Hills, from Lost Hills Road to 0.9 mile east of I-5. Widen from 2 to 4 lanes. $3,942,000

    In December 2017, the Caltrans Mile Marker noted: "Meanwhile, Caltrans District 6, which oversees the state highway system in Kern County, has been improving Route 46 from the Central Valley side. Three project segments totaling 27.5 miles west to the Kern-SLO county line have been completed; travelers now enjoy a four-lane expressway with a wide median. The next phase of work in Kern County is scheduled to begin in early 2018, with a reconstruction of the Route 46 / I-5 interchange, and the widening of Route 46 to a four-lane highway with a raised median along a two-mile commercial zone. About $100 million was spent to complete the three Kern project segments. The upcoming construction is budgeted at about $18 million.

    The December 2017 Mile Marker also noted: "The final 46 project in Kern proposes to close the 4.5-mile gap between finished sections through the community of Lost Hills and connect with I-5. The design phase of that project is expected to begin [in Summer 2018].

    The 2018 STIP, approved at the CTC March 2018 meeting, appears to provide funding for Phase 4 PPNO 3386D, to the tune of $2,400K.

    In December 2018, Congressman Kevin McCarthy announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s intended to award a $17.5 million grant to the Kern Council of Governments for Kern County California State Route 46 Widening Segment 4B project. The grant award is from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grant program. This project will widen a 5.3 mile segment of through Lost Hills from a 2-lane highway to a 4-lane highway.
    (Source: Kern COG, 12/4/2018)

    Alas, in October 2019, it was reported that inclusion in the STIP isn't enough if the project isn't ready. In a 2020 Draft Report, Caltrans announced plans to delete three projects: (1) a project to expand Route 99 from four to six lanes — three on each side — between Prosperity Avenue and Avenue 200, near the International Agri-Center; (2) a project to widen Route 99 to six lanes S of Madera, and a project to widen Route 46 E of the Cholame Y along the Antelope Grade (Segment 1). Money for the project comes from the state's Interregional Transportation Improvement Program, which includes a $2.6 billion fund to improve transportation and goods movement across the state. The fund is in part derived from Senate Bill 1, the state's controversial gas tax passed in 2017 and upheld in a failed ballot measure last year. The deletion of the funds naturally has local politicians upset beliving it to be a "bait and switch" regarding SB1. However, that isn't the case. SB1 specifically allocates portions of the revenue from the new transportation improvement fee to the State Transit Assistance Program and to the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program. Specifically, it allocates two hundred seventy-five million dollars ($275,000,000) for the interregional share of the State Transportation Improvement Program. Recall, that this widening was in the 2018 STIP. One of the projects funded through the STIP is the Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP), which has the purpose to improve interregional mobility for people and goods across the State of California on highway and passenger rail corridors of strategic importance. At least 60 percent of that program must be programmed to projects outside urbanized areas on the Interregional Road System (IRRS) and for intercity passenger rail. Of this amount, at least 15 percent (9 percent of the ITIP) must be programmed for intercity passenger rail projects. But STIP capacity over the 2020 five-year FE period has decreased compared to the capacity in the 2018 five-year FE period, going from $3.3 billion in the 2018 FE to $2.6 billion in the 2020 FE. The decrease is primarily attributable to a high level of pre-existing STIP project commitments for allocated and programmed projects. The 2020 Fund Estimate provides $52,414,000 in new, additional ITIP funding, but $52,250,000 of that is immediately eaten up by previous projects that cost more than expected (in San Luis Obispo and Humboldt counties). That leaves $164,000 to hand out, which required deletion (or, more specifically, delay) of $32,494,00 in highway projects to make money available. Removing these three projects from the 2020 ITIP and saving money on another Route 99 project moves about $61 million to the column of “uncommitted 2020 ITIP programming capacity.” Those uncommitted funds, according to the draft plan, will be held in reserve “for priority rail projects and other priorities aligned with Executive Order N-19-19.” Note that this does not mean the project was deleted. State Transportation Secretary David Kim says the projects weren’t ready to proceed, and the funds can be reapplied for in two years. Additionally, other projects on those roads – for example, work on the Cholame "Y" at the Route 46 / Route 41 intersection, and widening of Route 99 at Tagus – are still being funded through the ITIP.
    (Sources: Visalia Times Delta, 10/9/2019; Streetsblog, 10/31/2019; ABC 30, 10/9/2019; LATimes 10/14/2019; Streetsblog, 10/11/2019; SLOTribune 10/8/2019; New Times, 10/10/2019)

    In December 2019, it was reported that, whew, the project wasn't deleted from the STIP after all. Specifically, Caltrans released its final 2020 Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP) on Dec. 15 issuing a complete reversal of its draft report in October that deprogrammed $32 million in highway projects including Route 99 in Tulare and Madera counties and Route 46 in Kern County. Valley lawmakers, local leaders, and transportation entities strongly opposed the plan from the beginning. The opposition from the Valley was so great, it forced the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to hold a third public hearing, one more than is required, in Fresno. In addition to comments received at three hearings in Modesto, Santa Ana and Fresno, Caltrans said almost all of the comments it received on the ITIP were focused on the deprogramming of projects to widen Route 99 from four to six lanes from Prosperity Avenue south to Avenue 200 through the city of Tulare and another Highway 99 improvement project in Madera and to improve safety along Route 46 in Kern County. The CTC will hold two hearings, one in Northern California on Jan. 30 in Sacramento and another in Southern California on Feb. 6 in Santa Ana, before making a final determination on the ITIP.
    (Source: Sun Gazette, 12/25/2019)

    In March 2020, the CTC approved the March 2020 STIP, which continued existing programmed funding and included new funding for components of this project (they are closing out the interregional portion of PPNO 3386C):
    (Source: March 2020 CTC Agenda, Item 4.7, 2020 STIP Adopted 3/25/2020)

    PPNO Project Prior 20-21 21-22 22-23 23-24 24-25
    3386C Interregional Widen to 4 lanes, Seg. 4A, Lost Hill Rd to E of I-5 (IIP) Close 400K 0 0 0 0 0
    3386D Widen to 4 lanes, Seg 4B, Browns Material-e/o Lost Hills Rd 0 2,400K 0 0 0
    3386D Widen to 4 lanes, Seg 4B, Browns Material-e/o Lost Hills Rd 0 -2,400K 0 0 0 0
    3386D Widen to 4 lanes, Pavilion-e/o Lost Hills Rd, Seg 4B 0 5,400K 0 0 0 0
    3386E Widen 4 lns, Browns Material-Farnsworth, Seg 4C (SB1) 0 700K 0 26,300K 0 0

    In August 2020, the CTC approved the following financial allocation: $4,700,000. 06-Ker-46 29.7/31.9. PPNO 06-3386D ProjID 0612000176 EA 44255. Route 46 Expressway Segment 4B. In and near Lost Hills, from 0.2 mile west California Aqueduct Bridge to 1.4 miles east of Lost Hills Road. Convert from 2-lane conventional highway to 4-lane expressway. Con Eng: $700,000; Const $4,000,000.
    (August 2020 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5c.(1) #2)

    In January 2017, the CTC approved/amended $25,465,000 for a project on Route 46 Near Wasco (06-Ker-46 57.3/57.8), at Route 46/Route 99 Separation Bridge No. 50-0184E from 0.5 mile west of Route 46/Route 99 Separation to 0.1 mile east of Route 46/Route 99 Separation; also on Route 99 from PM R43.9 to 44.6. Outcome/Output: Replace bridge and realign southbound ramps to address structural deficiency and improve functionality and traffic operations. This project has been identified as the first of two pilot projects to include a Tier 4 off road diesel equipment emissions additive bid item.

    Double Fine Zones Double Fine Zones

    Between Route 101 and Route 41. Authorized by Senate Bill 155, Chapter 169, on July 23, 1999.

    Naming Naming

    The segment from US 101 to I-5 is named the "Paso Robles Highway" (~ SLO 29.841 to KER 31.442). It was named by location.

    CHP Officer Brett J. OswaldThe interchange at Route 101 and Route 46 East (~ SLO 29.841), and any subsequent interchange constructed to replace that interchange, in the City of Paso Robles is named the "California Highway Patrol Officer Brett J. Oswald Memorial Interchange". It was named in memory of Officer Brett James Oswald, who was born in 1962, to his parents Richard and Linda Oswald, in San Rafael, California. Officer Oswald graduated from Sam Barlow High School in Gresham, Oregon in 1980, received his associates degree from Central Texas College in Killeen, Texas in 1991, and furthered his education by completing courses at Rio Hondo Community College in Whittier, California, and Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, California. Prior to joining the California Highway Patrol, Officer Oswald held several jobs, including film development, fabricating counter tops, custodial work for a local junior high school, military, and even assisting with his family's business. Officer Oswald, badge number 13164, graduated from the California Highway Patrol Academy in 1990 as a flight officer, and was assigned to the Santa Fe Springs Area Office. Officer Oswald subsequently served as a traffic officer in the King City Area Office, a flight officer in the Paso Robles Coastal Division Air Operations Office, and a traffic officer in the Templeton Area Office. Officer Oswald proudly served a total of 20 years and one month as a California Highway Patrol Officer. Officer Oswald was killed in the line of duty on June 27, 2010, in Paso Robles, California, when he was struck by a vehicle while waiting for a tow truck on the side of the road. He responded to a report that a vehicle had hit a tree on South River Road in Paso Robles. After investigating, Officer Oswald determined that no accident had occurred and that the vehicle was abandoned. He called for a tow truck and was waiting next to his patrol car, when a passing vehicle crossed the double yellow lines and struck the patrol car. The force of the impact pushed the patrol car into him. Officer Oswald was transported to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries. In his spare time, Officer Oswald enjoyed reading, photography, making people laugh, working on his property, and a good cigar from time to time. Above all else, Officer Oswald enjoyed spending time with his family. Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 117, Resolution Chapter 63, June 29, 2012.
    (Image source: CHP 11-99 Foundation)

    Jack O'ConnellThe portion of Route 46 from US 101 (~ SLO 29.841 to SLO 54.945) to Route 41 near Cholame is named the "Jack O'Connell Highway". Jack O'Connell was a state senator authored the resolution that made that segment of Route 46 a double-fine zone as part of an overall safety enforcement effort on the route. Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O’Connell, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from CSU, Fullerton and earned his secondary teaching credential from CSU, Long Beach in 1975. He returned to his high school alma mater to teach for several years and later, served on the Santa Barbara County School Board. Mr. O’Connell was elected to the 35th State Assembly District in 1982 and was re-elected by wide margins thereafter. In 1994, Mr. O’Connell was elected to the 18th State Senate District on California’s Central Coast and easily won re-election in 1998. He was elected to serve as California’s 26th State Superintendent on November 5, 2002, earning more votes than any other contested candidate in the country. With respect to the highway naming, in 1995, Route 41 and Route 46 from the intersection with US 101 to the intersection with I-5 saw a significant increase in the number of vehicle accidents involving serious and fatal injuries. Local citizens along this highway segment expressed concern and outrage over the increasing number of fatal accidents. A State Senator at the time, Jack O'Connell initiated action and offered solutions to the highway accidents in a letter to California Highway Patrol Commissioner Dwight Helmick dated November 28, 1995. As a result of Senator O'Connell's letter and subsequent contacts, along with other local constituent actions through the "Fix 46 Committee," grant funding was requested by the California Highway Patrol for a special corridor project. Because of the local concern and the grant request of the California Highway Patrol, the Office of Traffic Safety provided $100,000 to fund a Route 41 and Route 46 Corridor Task Force, and provide educational material and enforcement efforts. As part of the safety and enforcement improvements along this dangerous highway segment, Senator Jack O'Connell authored, in 1996, SB 1367 (Chapter 488 of the Statutes of 1996), which designated Route 46, between the intersection with US 101 and the junction with Route 41, a Safety Enhancement-Double Fine Zone. Due to the implementation of the Route 41 and Route 46 Corridor Task Force's recommendations, there have been no fatal collisions on this stretch of highway since overall completion of the project on July 16, 1996 (as of 1997, when the resolution was authored). Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 78, Chapter 135, in 1997.
    (Image source: Impact Teen Drivers)

    James Dean Memorial JunctionThe Route 41/Route 46 junction near Cholame (~ 46 SLO 54.945) is named the "James Dean Memorial Junction". James Byron Dean was one of the most admired movie stars of all time and an icon of American culture. He was born on February 8, 1931, in Marion, Indiana; and later moved to California and attended Santa Monica City College and the University of California at Los Angeles. He is best known for his roles in "East of Eden," "Rebel Without a Cause," and "Giant," and also appeared on television shows and in a Broadway play. As a successful actor, he attained cult status in little more than a year's time, personifying the restless American youth of the mid-1950s. He was tragically killed on September 30, 1955, in an automobile crash on Route 46 in San Luis Obispo County while traveling in his automobile on the way to a racing event. Just two hours before the fatal crash, Dean was pulled over for speeding on Route 99 outside of Bakersfield. Retired officer Otie Hunter clocked Dean's car at 70 miles an hour. Dean told the officer he had bought the car just a few days before and was headed to the Monterey area to compete in a car race. He was given a warning. Around 9:00 PM, it was reported that James Dean had been killed in a car wreck. This interchange, which is near where he was killed, is still regularly visited by his fans. Dean's family, friends, and lawmakers lobbied for the designation, and on September 30, 2005 (50 years to the day he died), the state of California posted signs renaming the intersection where he crashed his silver Porsche, the James Dean Memorial Junction. Dean's close cousin, Marcus Winslow, accepted an official resolution and placed a rose at the accident scene. "On September 30,1955, at approximately 5:45 p.m. only a few feet from where we're standing here, Jimmy's life came to an abrupt and sorrowful end," said Winslow. Private donations paid for the two $400 signs, with the hope that the signs will serve as a safety reminder to drivers. Named by Senate Concurrent Resolution 52, Chapter 107, on August 15, 2002.
    (Image sources: Reddit, History Channel)

    The segment from I-5 to Route 99 is named the "Famosa Highway" (~ KER 32.754 to KER 57.688). It was named by location.

    SSgt Larry Stanley PierceThe portion of Route 46 within the city limits of the City of Wasco (~KER 46.046 to KER 51.561) is named the "Medal of Honor Recipient Larry Stanley Pierce Memorial Highway". It is named in memory of Larry Stanley Pierce, born on July 6, 1941, in Wewoka, Oklahoma. In 1958, Larry Stanley Pierce enlisted in the United States Army, where he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and served in the 1st Battalion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Larry Stanley Pierce served his country in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War and was assigned as a squad leader in charge of a reconnaissance platoon. On September 20, 1965, Larry Stanley Pierce and his platoon were ambushed by hostile forces with machine gun fire. Pierce and his platoon routed the ambushing force and gave chase in order to further suppress the attacking enemy. Pierce discovered an antipersonnel mine that could have destroyed his entire squad. He used his own body to absorb the blast from the mine, saving the lives of 29 of his soldiers. Larry Stanley Pierce was laid to rest at the Wasco Memorial Park in the City of Wasco, California, and President Lyndon B. Johnson posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to Larry Stanley Pierce's wife, Verlin, his daughter, Teresa, and his sons, Kelley and Gregory, on February 14, 1966. Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 60, Resolution Chapter 68, on 7/16/2009.
    (Image source: Find a Grave)

    Named Structures Named Structures

    This route also has the following Safety Roadside Rest Areas:

    • Jesse L Acebedo Memorial Rest AreaJesse L. Acebedo Memorial Rest Area, in Shandon in San Luis Obispo County, 0.9 mi E of Route 41 (SLO 49.599). It was named in memory of Jesse LaMadrid Acebedo, born in November 1948, in Delano and raised in McFarland, in the County of Kern, where he attended schools and graduated from high school in 1967. In 1970, Jesse began his law enforcement career with the Wasco Police Department, but shortly afterwards, he joined the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, and the western area of the County of Kern continued to be his beat until his retirement in 2004. Some of his career highlights included travel to Mexico to bring back three homicide eyewitnesses, as well as participating in America’s Most Wanted in Washington, D.C. involving a kidnapping in the County of Kern. Jesse’s life was one of public service, not just through his work, but also through all of his causes, which included coaching Little League, Babe Ruth League, and soccer, or being the announcer for the Wasco Union High School football games. For several years, Jesse was also a recruiter of underprivileged boys who attended the R.M. Pyles Boys Camp and in 2010, Jesse started the Kern County Student Leadership program at Wasco Union High School, which is still going strong. Jesse was very involved with St. John’s Catholic School, where he served twice as their school board president, was first elected to the Wasco Union High School Board in the early ‘90s, went on to serve on the Kern County Board of Education, and in 2006, he was again elected to the Wasco Union High School Board, where he served two more terms. Jesse was a past member of the Wasco Festival of Roses board for several years, where he served as president more than once and also served on the Wasco Housing Authority. Jesse at 68 years of age was driving west on Route 46 just after 2 p.m. on March 31, 2017, when a semitruck hit him head-on, just after he had passed the Shandon rest area. During his lifetime, Jesse touched many lives from all walks of life. Whether people agreed with him or not, they knew where they stood with Jesse because he was always a straight shooter. Jesse didn’t focus on people’s position, money, status, or titles, just the person, a testament to which is all the people who attended his celebration of life at the historic Wasco Union High School Auditorium, which seats 1,182 and was almost full. The City of Bakersfield was Jesse’s residence at the time of his passing, but the Wasco community was home and where his legacy of giving back remains. Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 201, Res. Chapter 188, 9/5/2018.
      (Image sources: Bakersfield.com)

    Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

    Scenic Route Scenic Route

    [SHC 263.4] From Route 101 near Paso Robles to Route 41 near Cholame.

    Freeway Freeway

    [SHC 253.4] Entire portion. Added to the Freeway and Expressway system in 1959.

    Interregional Route Interregional Route

    [SHC 164.12] Between Route 1 and Route 5.


Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

Statistics Statistics

Overall statistics for Route 46:

Pre-1964 Legislative Route Pre-1964 Legislative Route

The route that would become LRN 46 was first defined in the 1919 Third Bond Issue as running from Klamath River Bridge [LRN 3] to [LRN 1] near Klamath River. This was captured in the 1935 highway code as:

The Klamath River Bridge on [LRN 3] to [LRN 1]

In 1949, Chapter 909 change the origin to be "a point on [LRN 3] near the Klamath River Bridge". In 1959, Chapter 435 added the following words permitting the route to be non-continuous:

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 81 of this code, the department may maintain a traversable highway located in portions of this area between the termini of and approximately on this route even though the highway is not continuous.

This is present-day (partially unconstructed, route not determined) Route 169 between US 101 (LRN 1) near Klamath and Weitchpec. It is Route 96 between Weitchpec and the vicinty of Hawkinsville. Present-day I-5 bypasses the old US 99 route (LRN 3), which is now signed as Route 263.


Acronyms and Explanations:


Back Arrow Route 45 Forward Arrow Route 47

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Maintained by: Daniel P. Faigin <webmaster@cahighways.org>.