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State Route 178

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 178 Seg 1From Bakersfield to Route 14 near Freeman via Walker Pass.

    In 2006, AB 1858 (Chapter 315, September 18, 2006) authorized relinquishment in Bakersfield:

    Upon a determination by the commission that it is in the best interests of the state to do so, the commission may, upon terms and conditions approved by it, relinquish to the City of Bakersfield the portion of Route 178 that is located within the city limits of that city if the city agrees to accept it. The following conditions shall apply upon relinquishment: (1) The relinquishment shall become effective on the date following the county recorder's recordation of the relinquishment resolution containing the commission's approval of the terms and conditions of the relinquishment. (2) On and after the effective date of the relinquishment, the relinquished portion of Route 178 shall cease to be a state highway. (3) The portion of Route 178 relinquished under this subdivision shall be ineligible for future adoption under Section 81. (4) For the portion of Route 178 that is relinquished under this subdivision, the City of Bakersfield shall install and maintain within its jurisdiction signs directing motorists to the continuation of Route 178.

    The portion in Bakersfield was relinquished in June 2011.

    In 2012, AB 2679 (Chapter 769, 9/29/2012) updated the language to reflect the relinquishment:

    (b) Upon a determination by the commission that it is in the best interests of the state to do so, the commission may, upon terms and conditions approved by it, relinquish to the City of Bakersfield the portion of Route 178 that is located within the city limits of that city if the city agrees to accept it. The following conditions shall apply upon relinquishment:

    (1) The relinquishment shall become effective on the date following the county recorder’s recordation of the relinquishment resolution containing the commission’s approval of the terms and conditions of the relinquishment.

    (2) On and after the effective date of the relinquishment, the relinquished portion of Route 178 shall cease to be a state highway.

    (3) The portion of Route 178 relinquished under this subdivision shall be ineligible for future adoption under Section 81.

    (4) (b) For the The relinquished former portion of Route 178 that is relinquished under this subdivision, within the City of Bakersfield is not a state highway and is not eligible for adoption under Section 81. For the relinquished former portion of Route 178, the City of Bakersfield shall install and maintain within its jurisdiction signs directing motorists to the continuation of Route 178. 178 and shall ensure the continuity of traffic flow on the relinquished portion of Route 178, including any traffic signal progression.

    Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

    As defined in 1963, this segment had the route: “(a) Route 99 in Bakersfield to Route 14 near Freeman via Walker Pass.” Later that year, Chapter 1698 relaxed the definition to be “(a) Bakersfield to Route 14 near Freeman via Walker Pass.”

    Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

    In 1934, Route 178 was signed along the route from Jct. US 101 at Santa Margarita to Jct. Route 7 (US 395) at Freeman Junction via Bakersfield. The route originally began at US 101 near Santa Margarita, and continued through Pozo, La Panza and McKittrick. It then ran through Buttonwillow, and Rosedale to Bakersfield. This was LRN 58, defined in 1919, and is present-day Route 58. In the 1964 renumbering, the portion from US 101 to Route 99 was transferred to Route 58.

    Tom Fearer (Max Rockatansky) noted on AARoads:
    (Source: Tom Fearer on AARoads, "Bitterwater Road, Old SSR 178, more LRN 137, and the 1914 Salinas River Bridge", 2/8/2017)

    From 1934 to 1956, Route 178 would have used Pozo Road to cross the La Panza Range to reach Santa Margarita and US 101. A look at even Google Maps shows why Route 178 was realigned, it wasn't a very good route that had a hugely twisty alignment. The modern route is largely something you can hold a decent 45-55 MPH in most curves much like Route 198 over the Diablos. When Route 178 was plotted out in 1934 it went through a town called La Panza (named after the range) and the village of Pozo which is located near Santa Margarita Lake. Pozo still exists as an inhabited place while La Panza is now a ghost town. Splitting off of Route 58 on Pozo Road there was oddly a Calfire Station despite the poor road quality. On the old California state maps, LRN 137 runs from Route 178 just outside of Santa Margarita over the Salinas River up to Creston. In 1956, Route 178/LRN 58 was realigned along what was LRN 137 to the modern southern terminus of Route 229 east along modern Route 58. US 101 was also shifted west to the modern bypass which meant Route 178/LRN 58 was extended through Santa Margarita.

    The route then ran along the current routing through Bodfish, Weldon, the Sequoia Forest, and Freeman. The routing ended at Route 7 (now Route 14/US 395). This was LRN 57, defined in 1919.

    Mike Ballard has a great historical exploration of the development and early routings of Route 178.

    Status Status

    General Notes

    Freeway from Downtown Bakersfield to approximately 4 miles out of town. Freeway ends for 1 mile, and then begins again (signed as freeway as a 2 lane road section for 2.2 miles). Also begins again near the town of Lake Isabella. Originally in Bakersfield, Route 178 followed 24th Street, had a short multiplex with southbound US 99/eastbound US 466 on Golden Stave Avenue (present day Route 204/Business Route 99), and a short multiplex with US 466 (Sumner Street) to Baker Street. It then continued north on Baker Street and then east on Niles Street. The traffic circle underneath the current Route 204/Business Route 99 freeway at Chester Avenue was in existence even in 1942, when Route 204/Business Route 99 was US 99/US 466.

    The history of the freeway section of Route 178 is quite interesting. The complete freeway version of the route did not get built because the funding was cut off in 1974 when Governor Jerry Brown ended the freeway building binge. Proposed Freeway 178 is part of the both the County and the City of Bakersfield's 2010 General Plan. The route adoption was made April 27, 1960 by the California Highway Commission. The proposed freeway would follow existing alignment as a far Mesa Marin Raceway. The state already owns this piece, it pretty clearly marked by a fence line on either side of Route 178. Then Freeway 178 breaks north and crosses the Kern River east of the county golf course. It would then follow Rancheria Rd more or less for about 10 miles until it drops south through a tunnel into the existing freeway segment at the top of the canyon.

    Bakersfield Crosstown Freeway

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

    • Projects of National and Regional Significance #1: Bakersfield Beltway System, $140,000,000.
    • National Corridor Infrastructure Improvement Program #4: Centennial Corridor Loop in Bakersfield, $330,000,000.

    This route is not yet formally in the state highway system. The proposed freeway is supposed to start about ¾ mile from where Route 178 comes to an end in Downtown Bakersfield. From there, it will curve south, then west to run along the railroad tracks south of the existing Route 178. The freeway would then begin to curve slightly north, then west as it crosses over Route 99. Then it will run about 5 miles west where it will join up with the future Westside Beltway.

    The Centennial Corridor is an 8 lane freeway that will connect the Westside Parkway west of Route 99 to State Route 178 in the northeast part of Bakersfield. The project study report (PSR), a preliminary planning document, is currently underway for this project. The environmental document and initial engineering/alignment studies for the Centennial Corridor are planned to begin the Summer of 2003 and will take several years to complete. Currently, the initial phase of construction for the Centennial Corridor is planned for 2008 or 2009. The Centennial Corridor will connect to the Westside Parkway and is currently planned to continue east under Route 99 and under Oak Street north of the BN&SF railroad tracks. There is proposed to be a SPUI interchange at Oak Street. In the downtown area, the Centennial Corridor is proposed to go over and have a partial interchange with F Street. Continuing east after F Street, the Centennial Corridor is then planned to swing south over the BN&SF railroad tracks. There would be an off ramp to 14th Street which would allow access to areas north and south of the Centennial Corridor at Chester Avenue, L Street, N Street, and Q Street. At Q Street, there is proposed to be an on ramp for eastbound traffic and an off ramp for westbound traffic.

    More information on the Centennial Corridor will be found with Route 58.

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

    • National Corridor Infrastructure Improvement Program #6: Design, planning, and construction of Route 178 in Bakersfield. $100,000,000.
    • National Corridor Infrastructure Improvement Program #7: Widening of Rosedale Highway between Route 43 and Route 99 in Bakersfield, and widening of Route 178 between Route 99 and D Street in Bakersfield. $60,000,000.

    In June 2011, the CTC authorized relinquishment of right of way in the city of Bakersfield on Route 178 from Route 99 to M Street (~ KER 0.142 to KER 0.162), under terms and conditions as stated in the relinquishment agreement dated May 2, 2011, determined to be in the best interest of the State. Authorized by Chapter 315, Statutes of 2006, which amended Section 478 of the Streets and Highways Code.

    In May 2014, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding a project in Kern County that will correct the seismic deficiencies of four bridges on Route 99 and Route 178 in Kern County, including the Airport Drive Overcrossing (Bridge Number 50- 0266) and the Golden State Avenue Separation (Bridge Numbers 50-0326 Right, 50-0326 Left, and 50-0326 Center., 178 KER R001.95). The project is programmed in the 2014 State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The total estimated cost is $10,139,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2016-17.

    [178 Fairfax I/C]Caltrans has plans to construct an interchange at Route 178 and Fairfax Road (~ KER R6.782). The construction will include soundwalls and the widening of Route 178 from a two-lane expressway to a four- lane freeway, east of Oswell Street overcrossing to west of Morning Drive. Construction should start in September 2007, and be completed by September 2009.

    In April 2017, an update was provided on Route 178 improvements in Bakersfield. These improvements widen the highway from two to six lanes from just east of Morning Drive to Masterson Street and from two to four lanes from Masterson to Miramonte Drive (~ KER R7.741 to KER 10.195). Masterson, Alfred Harrell Highway, Miramonte and Route 184 will be realigned and/or widened where they intersect with Route 178. The improvements are 85 percent complete, with completion expected in May 2017. The old Route 178/Route 184 intersection is closed so the contractor can complete work in this area. This closure is expected last until mid-May 2017. The contractor completed the final lift of paving on Route 178 and Route 184 in March. The contractor plans to pave the section of Route 178 between Masterson Street and Alfred Harrell Highway with rubberized asphalt, which is generally used to reduce road noise, in April.
    (Source: Bakersfield.Com, 4/20/2017)

    According to Caltrans, there is an unconstructed adopted route from W of Route 184 to W of Miracle Hot Springs that is parallel to the existing route. (~ KER T9.639)

    Canyon Section of Route 178

    The canyon segment of Route 178 scores a unheard of 257 on the state's safety index; this means that the canyon portion of Route 178 gets 257% more accidents then would be expected on a mythical state highway with similar average daily traffic. Current thought is that having the highway in the canyon next to the Kern River (a) poses a significant threat to the riparian ecosystem in the Kern Canyon, (b) a risk to the water quality of ground the water recharge supply in the southern San Joaquin valley, (c) a risk to the drinking water supply of metropolitan Bakersfield, and (d) a risk to the irrigation water supply to the farms in the southern San Joaquin Valley. [Information on the history of Route 178 comes from a post by Karl Davisson]

    The risk of the canyon section of Route 178 was highlighted again in 2013. In 2012, CHP said it handled 48 accidents in the canyon. As of April 2013, there have been 18 accidents in the area. According to officials these accidents are not only costing lives, but also taxpayer money. A recent rescue on the route cost at least $34,000. Currently there are guardrails installed sporadically along Route 178 in the canyon. When Caltrans was asked whether additional guardrails could be installed, the response was that many locations in the canyon only have one or two feet of shoulder, and Caltrans needs more than that to properly and safely install guardrailing. The posts supporting the rails need to have sufficient rigidity and integrity to withstand an out of control vehicle. Concrete walls in steep canyon areas are not feasible, but due to cost and environmental impacts.
    (Source: ABC23, 4/23/13)

    Naming Naming

    Kern Canyon Road to Route 155; Walker Pass Road to Route 14. Kern River was named by Frémont in 1845, for his topographer and artist, Edward M. Kern of Philadelphia. The county was named in 1866.

    CHP Officer David W. Manning Memorial FreewayThe portion of Route 178 between M Street and Fairfax Road in the City of Bakersfield (~ KER 0.18 to KER R6.792) in Kern County is named the "CHP Officer David W. Manning Memorial Freeway." It was named in honor of California Highway Patrol Officer David W. Manning, who passed away on February 15, 1996, from injuries he received on January 26, 1996 as a result of a traffic accident. Officer Manning had been one of the first officers assigned to the new Bakersfield area motor squad when it was reactivated after a 25-year absence. He liked to carry candy canes with him while on duty to hand out to children he encountered. At the scene of his fatal collision, Officer Manning's motorcycle was on its side surrounded by candy canes. He was a member of the California Highway Patrol for eight years and served in East Los Angeles and Bakersfield. Named by Senate Concurrent Resolution 50, July 16, 2004, Chapter 117.
    (Image Source: AARoads; California Assn of Highway Patrolmen)

    Kern County Deputy Sheriff William (Joe) Hudnall, Jr., Memorial HighwayThe portion of Route 178 from PM KER 13.7 at the mouth of Kern Canyon eastbound to its intersection with Kernville Road (Route 155) (~ KER 13.7 to KER R42.948) in Kern County is named the "Kern County Deputy Sheriff William "Joe" Hudnall, Jr., Memorial Highway". This segment was named in memory of Deputy Sheriff William "Joe" Hudnall Jr., who was hired by the Kern County Sheriff's Department on September 27, 1997, after putting himself through the P.O.S.T. Academy at his own expense. Deputy Sheriff Hudnall was killed in the line of duty on November 14, 2006, while transporting a prisoner from his duty assignment in Kernville, California, to Bakersfield, California. His patrol unit was struck head-on, on Route 178 in Kern Canyon, by a vehicle operated by a person who was under the influence of a controlled substance. Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 90, Resolution Chapter 71, on 7/3/2008.
    (Image source: Facebook; Find a Grave)

    Freeway Freeway

    [SHC 253.7] Entire portion. Added to the Freeway and Expressway system in 1959.


  2. Rte 178 Seg 2From Route 14 near Freeman to Route 127.

    Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

    This segment remains as defined in 1963: “(b) Route 14 near Freeman to Route 127.”

    Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

    This was not part of the original 1934 signage of Route 178. This was LRN 212, defined in 1947. It was not signed until after 1964.

    Status Status

    In January 2020, the CTC allocated $416,000 for a SHOPP project at 09-Ker-178 PM 92.5/92.6. Route 178 in Kern County, near Inyokern at Brown Road. Outcome/Output: Widen shoulders and provide pedestrian access on both sides of the roadway. EA 37790. ProjID 0918000053.
    (Source: January 2020 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5a)

    Trona Earthquake Damage

    In October 2019, the CTC amended the following into the 2018 SHOPP: 08-SBd-178 5.5/R12.0. PPNO 3015V. Proj ID 0820000004. EA 1L260. Route 178 Near Ridgecrest, from 2.4 miles west of Trona Road to 1.1 miles east of Salt Wells Canyon. Repair earthquake damaged roadway. Total Cost: $4,380K. This was to repair damage from the Trona Earthquakes in July 2019: a 6.4 magnitude punch on the Fourth of July, then a giant 7.1 magnitude a week later, with many large aftershocks in between. The CTC also approved the following emergency allocation: 08-SBd-178 5.5/R12.0. PPNO 3015V Proj ID 0820000004 EA 1L260. On Route 178 Near Ridgecrest, from 2.4 miles west of Trona Road to 1.1 miles east of Salt Wells Canyon. On July 4 and 5, 2019, two earthquakes 6.4 and 7.1 respectively, caused damaged to Route 178 at various locations near Ridgecrest and Trona. The earthquakes caused cracking, deformation, buckling of pavement, and slope failure. This project will provide temporary traffic control, excavate and backfill failed roadway, stabilize slopes, and remove and repair damaged pavement. $3,850,000
    (Source: October 2019 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.2a.(1); Agenda Item 2.5f.(1) #22)

    Unconstructed This segment is unconstructed from 15 miles east of Ridgecrest to 15 miles west of Route 127 (10 miles from the eastern boundary of the Death Valley National Monument). The "traversable" route is a winding dirt road through mountain passes in a desolate area. It passes through the gunnery range of the China Lake Naval Weapons Center and through the Wingate Wash area (a National Park Service designated wilderness area). The area is not suitable for a state highway, and District 9 recommends it be deleted from the state highway system.

    Naming Naming

    "Inyokern" Road; "Trona" Road

    Freeway Freeway

    [SHC 253.7] From Route 14 near Freeman to the vicinity of the San Bernardino county line. Added to the Freeway and Expressway system in 1959.

    Scenic Route Scenic Route

    [SHC 263.7] From the east boundary of Death Valley National Monument to Route 127 near Shoshone.


  3. Rte 178 Seg 3From Route 127 to the Nevada state line in Pahrump Valley.

    Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

    This segment remains as defined in 1963: “(c) Route 127 to the Nevada state line in Pahrump Valley.”

    Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

    This was not part of the original 1934 signage of Route 178. This was LRN 212, defined in 1947. It was not signed until after 1964.

    Naming Naming

    Charles Brown HighwayThis segment is named the "Charles Brown Highway". It was named by Senate Concurrent Resolution 13, Chapter 244, in 1961. California State Senator Charles Brown served the people of Inyo and Mono Counties from 1939 to 1962. Charles Brown commenced his career of public service as a Deputy Sheriff in Inyo County, and then as a member of the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, an office he held for 14 years before his first election to the Legislature in 1938. As representative for almost a quarter of a century of the 28th Senatorial District comprised of Alpine, Inyo, and Mono Counties, he was a familiar sight in the State Capitol -- a tall erect stern featured but kind man well liked by both colleagues and constituents. During his 24 year term in the State Legislature, Charles Brown served with distinction on many Senate committees including the Committees on Fish and Game, Natural Resources, Governmental Efficiency, and Finance; he was also a member for 20 years of the Senate Rules Committee. 
    (Image source: Mapio.Net; Fourth Thirds Photo Forum: "The Famous Crowbar Cafe and Saloon")

    Interregional Route Interregional Route

    [SHC 164.18] Between Route 168 near Lake Sabrina and Route 395.


Classified Landcaped Freeway Classified Landcaped Freeway

The following segments are designated as Classified Landscaped Freeway:

County Route Starting PM Ending PM
Kern 178 1.68 R6.65

Exit Information Exit Information

Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

Statistics Statistics

Overall statistics for Route 178:

Pre-1964 Legislative Route Pre-1964 Legislative Route

In 1933, the route was defined to run from "Cerritos Avenue to [LRN 43] near Olive via Anaheim" was added to the state highway system. Cerritos Blvd appears to have been later renamed Lakewood Blvd, and the community of Olive is where Lincoln meets Route 55. So this routing was from Lakewood along Lincoln to Santiago/Santa Ana Canyon Road (LRN 43, now Route 55). In 1935, the route was added to the highway code as LRN 178 with that routing.

In 1953, Chapter 1836 rewrote the definition to be "Lakewood Boulevard to Manchester Avenue via Carson-Lincoln". This truncated the route to the eventual US 101 routing, relinquishing Lincoln Ave from US 101 to Route 55.

In 1957, Chapter 36 clarified the definition to be "[LRN 168] near Lakewood Boulevard to [LRN 174] near Anaheim Manchester Avenue via Carson-Lincoln"

This is the route from Route 19 near Lakewood to US 101 near Anaheim. This route was US 91, and was also signed as Route 18 (at least before 1953). Post-1964, it was unsigned Route 214, and was deleted in 1981. It is not currently in the state highway system.


Acronyms and Explanations:


Back Arrow Route 177 Forward Arrow Route 179

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