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State Route 190

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

Routing Routing

Rte 190From Route 99 near Tipton to Route 127 near Death Valley Junction via the vicinity of Porterville, Camp Nelson, Olancha, and Death Valley.

Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

This route is as defined in 1963. The 47 mi of this route between Quaking Aspen to Haiwee Pass, was adopted in late 1965. This is the segment over the Sierras, from Quaking Aspen Campground to near US 395 near Haiwee Cyn Road. It has never been constructed. The remainder of this route (from Route 99 to Quaking Aspen Campground, and from US 395 near Haiwee Cyn Road to Route 127 near Death Valley Junction is conventional highway. There is some additional discussion on the page for County Sign Route J37. There is a good discussion on the unconstructed segment on the Gribblenation Blog.

Route 190 was originally routed through downtown Porterville from Poplar Avenue on a multiplex of Route 65 on Main Street. Route 190 continued east through Porterville on Orange Avenue, Date Avenue, and Springville Avenue. Route 190 was realigned onto the modern expressway alignment in sections from 1960 to 1964 as part of the Lake Success Project. The Success Dam impounds the Tule River and was built from 1958 to 1961. The primary purpose of the Success Dam was flood control down river in Porterville. The Tule River is one of many watersheds that used to flow into Tulare Lake to the west in San Joaquin Valley. Route 190 used to be routed through the northern half of Lake Success. There was a small community known as Success which was a rail siding of the Southern Pacific Line between Porterville and Springville. Success also had a small rock quarry which is located immediately east of Lake Success. Route 190 originally would have emerged from Lake Success where Holdridge Drive now dips into the waters. Route 190 ran eastward on Avenue 176 and Road 320 on what is now County Sign Route J28 to modern Route 190.
(Source: Gribblenation Blog, California State Route 190; a Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been, 8/17/2018)

Around 1958, the work to relocate the route at Lake Success began. The relocation of Route 190/LRN 127 from Hospital Road to Worth Road was funded in FY59; the new realingment was west of the future Success Reservoir.  The September/October 1958 California Highways & Public Works noted in a District VI report that 7 miles of Route 190/LRN 127 was to be relocated east of Porterville to make way for the Success Reservoir.  The relocation of Route 190/LRN 127 through the Success Reservoir site is stated to be funded by the Federal Government at a cost of $1,700,000 and was anticipated to be completed by Fall 1958. By 1960 the realignment was completed. The Army Corps of Engineers completed the Success Reservoir in 1961, which flooded over much of the original alignment of Route 190/LRN 127 via the waters of Lake Success. 
(Source: Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer), "Former California State Route 190 at the bottom of Lake Success", October 2021)

Note that, in 1964, the actual routing was changed. The old routing from Lone Pine E became Route 136, and a new routing over the Sierras that would end in Olancha was explored (and thus, unconstructed Route 190 was changed to go through Olancha instead of Lone Pine).

Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

In 1934, Route 190 was signed along the route from Jct. US 99 at Tipton to Death Valley Junction via Lone Pine. This route was LRN 127, defined in 1933.

In 1926, however, the LA Times reported that:

...a million-dollar road running to the "Roof of the United States," with a lateral to Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the United States, will be ready for service to motorists [shortly], according to definite plans which have been drafted by State, county and city officials. The new road, which is to run from Lone Pine in the Owens Valley, up into the high Sierras through Carroll Creek and over Mulky Pass, going westward to the heart of the Kern River country, will have three western terminals; Porterville, Visalia and Bakersfield. The road from Lone Pine to Porterville will be 115 miles long. It is to be a dirt road, twelve feet wide. The highest altitude of the main artery will be 11,300 feet at Mulky Pass, 1359 feet higher than Tioga Pass.

The article went on to note that "With the aid of the city of Los Angeles, Inyo county is expected to build the road to the county line at Mulky Pass, starting from Carroll Creek. This unit alone will cost $170,000. Of the total cost to fall on the three counties involved Kern and Tulare are each to pay 45 percent and Inyo county 10 percent. Inyo's percentage is low because it has only about $10,000,000 in taxable property." The article went on to note: "The new Lone Pine-Porterville road will enter the Sequoia National Park only at the southeast corner of the old park boundaries, entering near the rangers' station at Quinn's Horse-camp, and coming out again at the north fork of the Middle Fork River and entering Balch Park. this unit of the road will run to Milo, where the present road goes westward to Exeter and Visalia. The other road, from Balch Park to Porterville, is already in use. the third unit of the western connections will bear off the main road to be built at Deadman's Canyon the Kern River, about at the halfway point, and will follow the north fork to meet the present road at Fairview." Note that Balch Park Road is what is now County Sign Route J37.
(Source: Owens Valley History Website)

Tom Fearer, in his Gribblenation blog entry, has a detailed analysis of later proposals to cross the Sierras. Refer there for maps and full details; this is a summary. There have been three proposed routes of Route 190 through the Sierras, all involving traversing the Kern Canyon Fault. The first proposed routing through the Sierras was from Quaking Aspen northeast to Lone Point and is the one that came the closest to actually being built. This first appears on the 1934 State Highway Map, at the time the road east out of Camp Nelson was not state maintained as was Tuttle Creek Road west out of Lone Pine through the Alabama Hills. That changed by 1935. At the same time the Division of Highways assumed maintenance of Tuttle Creek Road west out of Lone Pine to Carroll Creek. By 1938, the state map shows Route 190 on Tuttle Creek Road heading southwest out of Lone Pine. and by 1940, it was extended from Tuttle Creek Road westward up what is now the first bend in Horseshoe Meadows Road into the Sierras. On the eastern side of the Sierras, Route 190 used Horseshoe Meadows Road, Tuttle Creek Road, and Whitney Portal Road to reach US 395 in Lone Pine. Today part of Tuttle Creek Road is abandoned and has been replaced by extended Horseshoe Meadows Road. Horseshoe Meadows Road is explored in great detail in the blog "Horseshoe Meadows Road; former California State Route 190 and the legacy of the Lone Pine-Porterville High Sierra Road". Tom's blog has maps showing all of this. By 1960 the Horseshoe Meadows Road and Tuttle Creek alignment of Route 190 was relinquished and a new proposed routing over Olancha Pass appears on the State Highway Map. By 1966 the third and final proposed routing of Route 190 over Haiwee Pass appears on the State Highway Map. The old routing of Route 190 to Lone Pine is shown as LRN 136. Again, consult the linked blog for more details.
(Source: Gribblenation California State Route 190; a Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been, 8/17/2018)

Status Status

Unconstructed Portion

Unconstructed Unconstructed from Quaking Aspen to Route 395 on a route adopted 10/20/1965. Portions of the route were adopted as a conventional highway on 4/15/1964. Rescinding the route was recommended on 6/25/1982, but nothing ever happened. District 9 recommends deletion of the route.

The 2013 Traversable Highways report notes:

One 1953 map shows the routing between Wonoga Peak and Lone Pine as what is now Horseshoe Meadows Road, Tuttle Creek Road, and Whitney Portal Road. The map implies that the Route 136 routing was used, but doesn't make it explicit. According to the Traversable Highways report, there are no local roads that adequately fit the description of a traversable highway. This is mountainous terrain. There are no plans to construct this.

In June 2017, the CTC approved the following SHOPP allocation: Tulare 06-Tul-190 0.0/8.0 $16,900,000 Route 190: Tulare County, from west of Route 99/Route 190 Separation to west of Road 184. Outcome/Output: Rehabilitate deteriorating pavement and realign new traveled way and shoulders to meet current standards. The project is necessary to improve safety and ride quality. Future consideration of funding approved under Resolution E-13-61; August 2013.

In October 2021, the CTC authorized relinquishment of right-of-way, consisting of collateral facilities (5 segments), in the county of Tulare along Route 190 at Road 120 and Road 152 (06-Tul-190-PM 0.39/4.45).  The City, by Resolution No. 2021-0604 dated July 27, 2021, agreed to waive the 90-day notice requirement and accept title upon relinquishment by the State.
(Source: October 2021 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.3c)

Route 190/Road 152 Roundabout E of Tipton (~ TUL 4.465)

SR 190 RoundaboutCaltrans is exploring creating a roundabout on this route at the intersection of Route 190/Road 152 (Bliss Lane) east of Tipton. Other potential/planned roundabout locations in the San Joaquin Valley include Route 145/Jensen near Kerman, Route 168/Auberry Road in Prather, Route 43/Route 137 in Corcoran, Route 216/Route 245 in Woodlake, Route 190/Road 284 east of Porterville, and Route 155/Browning Road in Delano. A 2007 study of 55 roundabouts in the U.S. found a 35% reduction in accidents and a 90% reduction in fatal accidents when intersections with stop signs or signals were converted to roundabouts. It costs about the same to build a roundabout as to put up traffic signals, and they need significantly less maintenance than traffic signal intersections -- about 60% to 90% less, depending on how much landscaping work is required.

In December 2014, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding a project that will construct a roundabout at the intersection of Route 190 (Avenue 144) and Road 152 (Bliss Lane, Tulare County Sign Route J15). The project is programmed in the 2014 State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The total estimated cost is $6,333,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2016-17. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope programmed by the Commission in the 2014 State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

In August 2016, the CTC approved $3,290,000 in funding for Route 190 near Tipton, from 0.4 mile west of Road 152 to 0.7 mile west of Road 160. Outcome/Output: Construct roundabout, sidewalk, curb and gutter and reconstruct 1.0 mile of Route 190 and 0.5 mile of Road 152 to increase safety and reduce the number and severity of collisions.

In May 2017, it was reported that work was expected to begin this month on the second roundabout on Route 190. That roundabout will be constructed at Route 190 and Road 152 and work on that $2.2 million project will take about four to six months and preclude improvements to the highway all the way to Route 99. It was at that busy rural intersection which three people died in a horrific crash on Aug. 2, 2011. Two of those killed were teenagers in a Tulare County probation van, while the third was the driver of a large pickup which apparently ran the stop sign and drove into the path of the van which was eastbound on Route 190.
(Source: Recorder Online, 5/8/2017)

Rockford Road Roundabout (06-Tulare-190 PM 11.3/11.5)

In March 2020, the CTC amended the following project into the 2018 SHOPP: 06-Tul-190 11.3/11.5 PPNO 7033 ProjID 0619000232 EA 1A310 Route 190 near Porterville from 0.1 mi W to 0.1 mi E of Rockford Road. Construct roundabout. Total cost: $10,100K. BC 3/30/2024. Construction and R/W acquisition not yet programmed. The CTC also approved the following financial allocation: 06-Tul-190 PM 11.3/11.5. PPNO 7033. ProjID 0619000232. EA 1A310. Route 190 near Porterville, from 0.1 mile west to 0.1 mile east of Rockford Road. Construct roundabout. (Concurrent Amendment under SHOPP Amendment 18H-015; March 2020.) Financial allocation: PA&ED $1,400,000
(Source: March 2020 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.1a.(1a) #24, 2.5b.(2a) #19)

The 2020 SHOPP, approved in May 2020, included the following Collision Reduction item of interest (carried over from the 2018 SHOPP): 06-Tulare-190 PM 11.3/11.5 PPNO 7033 Proj ID 0619000232 EA 1A310. Route 190 near Porterville, from 0.1 mile west to 0.1 mile east of Rockford Road. Construct roundabout. Programmed in FY23-24, with construction scheduled to start at the end of March 2024. Total project cost is $10,100K, with $4,950K being capital (const and right of way) and $5,150K being support (engineering, environmental, etc.).
(Source: 2020 Approved SHOPP a/o May 2020)

In March 2022, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding 06-Tul-190, PM 11.31/11.51. PPNO 7033. Rockford Road Roundabout. Construct a roundabout at the intersection of Route 190 at Rockford Road in Tulare County.The project is located on Route 190 from postmile 11.31 to 11.51, in Tulare County. The proposed project would construction a single-lane roundabout at the intersection of Rockford Road and Route 190 in Porterville.  This project is currently programmed in the 2020 SHOPP for a total of $8,700,000 which includes Plans, Specifications and Estimate, Right of Way (capital and support), and Construction (capital and support).  Construction is estimated to begin in 2023-24. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope as programmed by the Commission in the 2020 SHOPP.
(Source: March 2022 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.2c.(1))

Also in March 2022, the CTC approved the following pre-construction financial allocation: 06-Tul-190 11.3/11.5. PPNO 06-7033; ProjID 0619000232; EA 1A310. Route 190 Near Porterville, from 0.1 mile west to 0.1 mile east of Rockford Road. Construct roundabout. (Concurrent consideration of funding under Resolution E-22-15; March 2022.) Allocation: PS&E $1,550,000; R/W Sup $850,000.
(Source: March 2022 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5b.(2a) #11)

Prospect Street to Porterville Improvements (~ TUL R14.956 to TUL 19.063)

Rte 190 PortervilleIn October 2016, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding a project in Tulare County that will construct median barriers on Route 190 in the city of Porterville (between South Prospect Street and the Eastern Porterville City Limits). The project is programmed in the 2016 State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The total programmed amount is $7,023,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2017-18. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope programmed by the Commission in the 2016 State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

In May 2017, it was reported that the Prospect-Porterville was about to start. This project will complete the improvements made from Porterville to just past Poplar. Those improvements include the installation of turn lanes, shoulder widening and new pavement. That project is scheduled to begin in August or September 2017 and is expected to take more than a year and cost around $21 million.
(Source: Recorder Online, 5/8/2017)

In July 2018, it was reported that the median construction project was continuing, with a series of detours near Porterville College, The construction project to replace a mile-long section of oleanders in the highway’s median with concrete barriers and other upgrades has been going on since May 2018. The project, which includes installation ofconcrete barriers in the median of Route 190 and upgraded crash cushions on the Route 65 and Route 190 cloverleaf, is expected to finish in October.
(Source: �� Recorder Online, 7/3/2018)

Route 190/Road 284 Roundabout (~ TUL 21.09)

In May 2012, it was reported that Caltrans was holding meetings on the intersection of Route 190 and Road 284. Two build alternatives and a no-build alternative are under consideration. The alternatives include a single-lane rural roundabout or a traffic signal with a protected left turn.

In April 2017, there was an update on the Route 190/Road 284 roundabout. The intersection is located in unincorporated Tulare County, just east of the city of Porterville and the unincorporated community of East Porterville. Route 190 is a two-lane road. Before the roundabout was installed the intersection had been controlled by stop signs on Road 284; traffic on Route 190 did not stop. About twelve miles east of the intersection, along Road 284, is the Eagle Mountain Casino. The roundabout intersection is where casino patrons (some of whom may be inebriated or otherwise impaired) make a left turn from a small road onto the bigger road to get to Porterville, the nearby good-sized city (population 55,000). Before the roundabout was installed, drivers turning from Road 284 onto Route 190 stopped, then turned left to enter uncontrolled highway traffic moving at high speeds. According to Caltran’s environmental studies for the roundabout, the intersection was indeed deadly. From 2007 to 2010 there were eleven collisions reported: “six broadside-type collisions, two head-on, one hit object, one rear-end, and one overturn.” Caltrans found that crashes, happening at a rate that was “higher than the statewide average for similarly designed intersections,” were caused by “drivers either failing to slow down or not stopping at the . . . intersection.” Caltrans studied two alternatives: a roundabout, for an estimated $1.7 million, and a signalized intersection that would cost about $2.1 million. The roundabout was the preferred alternative due to “greatest project benefits in regard to safety.” Caltrans District 6 Information Officer Christian Lukens reported that the actual roundabout ended up costing more than the initial estimate because aesthetic features were added, as was an extended truck apron in the central island to accommodate oversize loads. During the planning phase, in response to community input, Caltrans adjusted the design, especially working with the locals to ensure the facility would handle the occasional oversized truck. The new facility opened to the driving public on February 21, 2017.
(Source: Streetsblog, 4/20/2017)

In January 2012, the CTC approved $5.75 million for an asphalt-overlay project on Route 190 in Tulare County near Lake Success. The upgrade from Road 284 to the Tule River Bridge will improve pavement quality and increase service life.

Olancha Bypass (approx 395 INY 34.215) (approx 190 INY 9.925)

Olancha WideningIn 2007, the CTC did not recommend funding construction of the Olancha and Cartago Expressway ($107,600K total cost; $59,000K requested) from the Corridor Mobility Improvement Account (CMIA). However, the minutes from the 11/08 meeting of the Inyo County Local Transportation Commission discussed the five options for US 395's realignment (either expansion or a movement west). The main problem is the proximity of the LA Aqueduct.

In February 2016, it was reported that discussions of the Olancha Bypass continue. The Caltrans preferred alternative is a bypass of the community that has Olancha residents in an uproar. Although the bypass alternative seems to be the much safer option, Olancha residents don't want to lose the business highway traffic brings into the already struggling town. Olancha residents claim the bypass alternative is unfair because the other towns on the US 395 corridor in Inyo country (Bishop, Big Pine, Independence, Lone Pine) got to keep the highway running through town. If the bypass alternative is chosen the current alignment will be turned into a combination of a local road and an extension of Route 190, a major state route taking year round visitors to Death Valley National Park. The bypass routing would be to the west, close to the base of the Sierras, which would give travelers a beautiful view. The extension of Route 190 would be to the south, through Olancha, terminating at an intersection with the newly aligned US 395.
(Source: Inyomono395 @ AAroad, February 2016)

In August 2017, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding 09-Iny-395 PM 29.2/41.8 Olancha/Cartago Four-Lane Project: This project in Inyo County will construct two new lanes (one new lane in each direction) on a portion US 395 near the town of Olancha. The project will increase safety and the Level of Service. The project is not fully funded. The project will be funded from State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds and is currently programmed in the 2016 STIP for an estimated $16.6 million Right of Way (capital and support). Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2020-21. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope programmed by the Commission in the 2016 STIP. A copy of the FEIR has been provided to Commission staff. Resources that may be impacted by the project include community impacts, noise, water quality, air quality, cultural resources, paleontological resources, hazardous waste, aesthetics, and biological resources. Potential impacts associated with the project can all be mitigated to below significance. As a result, an FEIR was prepared for the project. Note that this appears to be distinct from the once-proposed Olancha Bypass.

395 Olancha BypassIn January 2018, the CTC approved a request from the California Department of Transportation’s (Department) to adopt US 395 in Inyo County from INY 29.9 to INY 41.9 as a controlled access highway, redesignate a segment of superseded US 395 as Route 190 and, upon construction completion of the new controlled access highway, relinquish the remaining portion of the superseded US 395 to Inyo County. The Department proposes to adopt this 12.14 mile section of US 395 to construct a new expressway within the adoption limits, which will improve safety for the traveling public, raise the level of service, and provide a continuous four-lane facility in Inyo County. A final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA) prepared pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act was approved by the Department on March 7, 2017 and by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on May 26, 2017. The Department approved a project report on June 27, 2017 recommending construction of the new US 395 expressway on a new alignment and redesignation of a portion of the superseded segment as Route 190. The remaining portion of the superseded highway will be relinquished to Inyo County after project construction completion.

Within the proposed adoption limits, U.S. Highway 395 is currently a two-lane undivided conventional highway. It traverses gently sloping terrain at elevations between 3,600 and 3,900 feet as it passes through the communities of Olancha and Cartago. Olancha is sparsely developed with a few businesses, a post office, and one service station. Cartago is located about three miles north of Olancha and is primarily a residential community. There are a few businesses and residences adjacent to the highway, but in general, the highway corridor is rural in nature. This project will connect the four-lane divided expressway segments at both ends of the adoption limits.

The existing highway generally consists of two 12-foot lanes and 8-foot paved shoulders within 100 feet of right of way. There are no shoulder improvements such as curb, gutter or sidewalk throughout this section of the highway. There is no median and approximately 50 percent of the highway is barrier striped to prevent passing. There are undivided passing lanes for both northbound and southbound traffic north of Cartago. The posted speed limits vary from 65 mph outside of the communities to 55 mph within the communities. In addition to the intersection with Route 190, there are six other public road connections and numerous other private roads and access points to the existing highway within the project limits.

Due to the numerous access points and limited sight distances along US 395, passing zones are limited. There is also a mixture of slower recreational and commercial vehicles, local residential and business traffic, and faster through traffic. The limited passing opportunities and mixed traffic has led to queuing within the communities, driver frustration, and frequent unsafe passing maneuvers. In 2006, shoulders were widened and the posted speed limit reduced within the communities, but the fatal accident rate remained at 1.29 times the statewide average. This section of highway is currently operating at Level of Service (LOS) D and is projected to fall to LOS E within the 20-year planning period.

The proposed route adoption will allow the Department to construct the expressway on a new alignment. It will eliminate traffic congestion and significantly increase safety for the traveling public by separating opposing traffic, removing passing restrictions, and controlling access points. Finally, the new expressway will provide route continuity on US 395 and will complete the construction of four-lanes throughout the US 395 corridor in Inyo County.

A draft project report was approved in September 2010 to evaluate five alternatives. Their environmental impacts were evaluated in an Initial Study/Environmental Assessment circulated end of 2010. Focused studies performed for the preferred alternative determined that mitigation of cultural impacts to insignificant levels may not be possible. As a result, the environmental document was elevated to a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA) which allowed the Department to discuss the potential cultural impacts and evaluate the preferred alternative. The Draft EIR/EA was circulated from August to October 2015, after which the preferred alternative was selected.

The portion of the existing highway between the intersection with Route 190 and the southern intersection with the new expressway is proposed to be redesignated as Route 190. A concurrent Commission’s action to approve the redesignation of this portion of US 395 as Route 190 is on the January 2018 Commission agenda. This action will reestablish the terminus of Route 190 at US 395. The remaining portion of the superseded highway between the intersection with Route 190 and north of the community of Cartago will be relinquished to Inyo County after project completion. The superseded highway will continue to provide a local route that preserves the existing uses and access along the existing corridor. The project will also construct or reconstruct a couple other county roads, all of which will be relinquished to Inyo County.

This project has been jointly funded by the Inyo County Local Transportation Commission, Mono County Local Transportation Commission, Kern Council of Governments, and the Interregional Improvement Program. Due to shortfalls in the programming available for the 2016 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), the Construction Capital and Construction Support components were deprogrammed. Funding for the Construction Capital and Construction Support components have been restored in the proposed 2018 STIP. The estimated total cost of the project, including construction and right of way costs escalated to the year of construction, is $138,819,000. The project is scheduled to start construction in September 2020.The Department and Inyo County have agreed with the public road openings proposed for the new expressway and intend to execute a Controlled Access Highway Agreement following the Commission’s approval of this route adoption. Currently, the Department and Inyo County are negotiating the terms of the relinquishment agreement. Inyo County has agreed in principle to accept the relinquishment of the facilities.
(Source: CTC Agenda, January 2018, Agenda Item 2.3a(1))The 2018STIP, approved at the CTC March 2018 meeting, appears to restore funding from this, moving the total from $11,420K to $41,487K, including an additional $23,495K in FY21-22, presumably for construction. The project is near Olancha and Cartago, south of the Los Angeles Aqueduct Bridge to south of the Ash Creek Bridge. Widen 2 lane conventional highway to 4 lane expressway. There also appears to be additional funding for this from the Kern and Mono County shares.

In March 2020, the CTC approved the 2020 STIP, which appears to continue the programmed funding for PPNO 0170 "Olancha-Cartago 4-lane expressway (RIP 25%)" in both Inyo and Kern counties. This funding includes $17,992K in prior year funding, and 23,495K in FY21-22 for Inyo and $4,498K in prior year funding and 9,295K in FY21-22 for Kern. It also included PPNO 0170 Olancha-Cartago 4-lane expressway (IIP 40%), in the Interregional portion of the STIP with no change in programming: $17,992K in prior year funding. and $49,615K in FY21-22.
(Source: March 2020 CTC Agenda, Item 4.7, 2020 STIP Adopted 3/25/2020)

In April 2020, it was reported that Caltrans was in the final stages of design and right-of-way acquisition for the Olancha-Cartago 4-Lane project. The project will upgrade 12.6 miles of the current two-lane highway to a four-lane access-controlled expressway. The new alignment will begin four miles south of Olancha to four miles north of Cartago and will close the gap between the existing four-lane sections to the north and the south. Preconstruction activities include utility verification and relocation, vegetation removal and/or relocation, staking the new alignment, installing desert tortoise exclusion fence, and other various preliminary items. This $83 million-dollar project is jointly funded by Inyo and Mono Counties’ Local Transportation Commissions, Kern Council of Governments, and Caltrans with State Transportation Improvement Program funds. Project completion is tentatively scheduled for late 2023.
(Source: Sierra Wave Media)

In October 2020, the CTC was given notice of a proposed amendment to the US 395 – Olancha and Cartago 4-lane Expressway project in Inyo county (PPNO 0170) (EA 21340/21341) (INY 29.200/41.800), to separate out a portion of the mitigation work ( $2,920,000 $3,058,000) into a new project, identified as the Olancha and Cartago Expressway Desert Tortoise Exclusion Fence project (PPNO 0170B). This project had extensive and complex environmental challenges, which culminated in successfully achieving environmental clearance in June 2017, after efforts for over 10 years, with an Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment.  During the design phase, the archaeological pre-mitigation work needed to be completed.  A separate archaeological pre-mitigation project for $5,000,000 was programmed for this project, which was allocated by the Commission in May 2018. In addition, avoidance and mitigation measures are required to protect the Desert Tortoise.  The avoidance and mitigation fencing are required to be completed prior to pre-construction activities such as geo-tech investigations, geo-tech boring, geo-archeology coring, archeological data recovery and utility relocation.  In addition, the fence must be in place prior to commencing construction activities such clearing and grubbing vegetation, culvert installation, roadway construction and bridge construction. The funding for the fencing was identified and budgeted in the Right of Way (R/W) component. R/W funding for the project was programmed in 2014 and was done as a lump sum allocation per STIP Guidelines.  It had been the standard practice to execute the construction of the fencing through a service contract with R/W funds. However, in December 2018, there was a policy change that no longer allows R/W capital funds to be used in that manner, and a contract is necessary to construct the fencing requiring the work to be split and delivered separate from the main project construction. The Desert Tortoise Exclusion Fence project cost is $2,920,000 $3,058,000.  The proposal is to separate the cost and scope of the fence from the construction capital of the main project. This separate project would be able to begin ahead of the major construction contract. With a separate project to address the fencing, it reduces the risk of delays to the main project. The current estimated construction capital cost of the main project remains on budget.  The right of way cost estimate for the main project is currently under budget with potential cost savings to be reported at time of construction allocation. By having the fencing in place, allows the construction to proceed without delays. This change to separate out the fencing cost, from the construction capital, allows the project to proceed, mitigates the risk of delays since the original process of implementing as a service is no longer feasible.  It should be noted that the new alignment can be cleared at any time after the fence is constructed, and the Desert Tortoise fencing would not be the critical path for the prime contractor. In December 2020, the amendment (with a corrected amount for the fencing) was voted upon.
(Source: October 2020 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.1b.(1); December 2020 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.1a.(2))

In December 2020, the CTC approved an allocation of $3,058,000 for the State-Administered STIP Olancha and Cartago Expressway Desert Tortoise Exclusion Fence project (PPNO 0170B ProjID 0914000036 EA 21341) (395 INY 29.200/41.800), on the State Highway System, in Inyo County, programmed in 2021-22. These funds are for installation of Desert Tortoise Exclusion Fencing.
(Source: December 2020 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5c.(5))

In May 2021, the CTC approved an allocation of $92,966,000 for the State-Administered STIP Olancha and Cartago Expressway project (PPNO 0170), on the State Highway System, in Inyo County, programmed in 2021-22. The allocation is divided as follows: $83,116,000 from the Budget Act of 2020, Budget Act Items  2660-301-0042 and 2660-301-0890 for construction and $9,850,000 for construction engineering. Allocation time extensions for other projects programmed within the current, fiscal year have allowed for sufficient capacity to become available to fund this advanced project allocation. Details: 09-Iny-395 29.2/41.8. PPNO 09-0170; ProjID 0900000030; EA 21340. Olancha and Cartago Expressway. US 395 near Olancha and Cartago, south of the Los Angeles Aqueduct Bridge to south of the Ash Creek Bridge.  Widen 2 lane conventional highway to 4 lane expressway. (Future consideration of funding approved under Resolution E-17-53; August 2017.)
(Source: May 2021 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5c.(5))

In July 2022, it was reported that ground was broken on the Olancha-Cartago 4-Lane Project. The Olancha-Cartago 4-Lane Expressway project will pass west of the town of Olancha and the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Once the alignment crosses Olancha Creek, the project will cross the Los Angeles Aqueduct and continue north through Cartago along the existing highway to meet up with the four-lane section of US 395 to the north of Cartago. The northbound and southbound lanes will be separated by a 100-foot unpaved median. As of July 2022, crews were placing rebar on the footing for the bridge abutments and wingwalls on the south side of the Los Angeles aqueduct; excavation for the bridge abutments on the south side of the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed in June 2022 and excavation begun for the abutments on the north side. Drainage system installation continues throughout the project.
(Source: District 9 Project Page, July 2022)

In April 2012, the CTC authorized SHOPP funding on Route 190, in Inyo County, 09-INY-190 R65.9/R66.5 Near Panamint Springs, from 8.0 miles east of Panamint Valley Road to 10 miles west of Wildrose Road. $1,018,000 to realign roadway to allow the construction of a shoulder catchment area for falling rocks and minimize the potential of traffic collisions.

Panamint Springs / Towne Pass Curves Project (09-Iny-190, PM 69.2/69.8)

Panamint RealingmentIn June 2017, the CTC authorized for future consideration of funding a project that realigns approximately 0.6 mile of Route 190 (09-Iny-190, PM 69.2/69.8) within Death Valley National Park near Towne Pass near the town of Panamint Springs in Inyo County. The project will be funded from State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) funds and is programmed in the 2016 SHOPP for an estimated $6.7 million construction (capital and support) and Right of Way (capital and support). Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in Fiscal Year 2018-19. The scope, as described for the preferred alternative, is consistent with the project scope programmed by the Commission in the 2016 SHOPP. A copy of the MND has been provided to Commission staff. The project will result in less than significant impacts to the environment after mitigation. The following resource areas may be impacted by the project: cultural resources and visual/aesthetics. Avoidance and minimization measures will reduce any potential effects on the environment. These measures include, but are not limited to, disturbed areas will be recontoured and revegetated, and a historic context shall be developed for future use in evaluation of the Eichbaum Toll Road. As a result, an MND was completed for this project.

In August 2018, the CTC approved a $4.2 million project on Route 190 in Death Valley near Panamint Springs that will realign curves and widen shoulders to reduce the number and severity of collisions.
(Source: Mojave Desert News, 8/21/2018)

Naming Naming

Sheriff’s Officers Deputy Sheriff Scott Ballantyne and Sheriff’s Pilot James Chavez Memorial HighwayThe four-mile portion of Route 190 between its intersection with Pleasant Oak Drive and just south of HQ Drive, in the County of Tulare between postmile TUL 22.53 and postmile TUL 26.53, is named the "Sheriff’s Officers Deputy Sheriff Scott Ballantyne and Sheriff’s Pilot James Chavez Memorial Highway". It was named in memory of Scott Ballantyne and James Chavez. Scott Ballantyne, Deputy II with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, was born at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in September 1963. As a young boy, Scott Ballantyne moved to Visalia, California, with his parents in 1968; he graduated from Redwood High School in Visalia in 1982 and attended College of the Sequoias and Fresno State College. In 1989, Scott Ballantyne enrolled in and completed the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Academy in Visalia, California. Officer Ballantyne began employment with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy in 1989 and held several positions while in the Sheriff’s Office, including that of patrol deputy, evidence technician, and courtroom bailiff for the late Judge Paul Vortmann. In 2014, Officer Ballantyne applied for and was selected to serve in the Sheriff’s aerial surveillance program and greatly enjoyed participating in aerial surveillance, forming a close friendship with his pilot, Officer James Chavez. James Chavez was born in December 1970, to Patricia Chavez and Jacinto Chavez in Stockton, California, where he was raised with his brothers Charles (Carlos), Felipe, and Victor Chavez. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School of Stockton in 1988, and after graduation voluntarily attended Pacific Crest Outward Bound School. He went on to Fresno State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography in 1995. James Chavez became a Navy Officer in 1993, and served one overseas deployment aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in 1998, serving as a Maintenance Officer. In 2005 James Chavez transferred to the Army National Guard and was able to go to flight school to learn to fly the Blackhawk helicopter at Fort Rucker, Alabama, in May of 2006. While on a year-long deployment to Iraq in 2010 to 2011, he served as Company Commander, for Company B, in the 640th Aviation Support Battalion and flew many Blackhawk missions earning a Bronze Star Medal and a Combat Action Badge. He had a total of over 900 hours flying the Blackhawk and received his 20-year letter from the military confirming his eligibility for retirement benefits in 2013, but continued to serve actively with the United States Army Reserves, reaching the rank of Major, and working on courses toward the next rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After being a volunteer pilot for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Aero Squadron for 13 years and then a volunteer Sheriff’s pilot for several months, James Chavez was hired and sworn in as the Sheriff One pilot on January 12, 2015, a position he loved passionately, while continuing to serve his Army Reserve weekends at the 1st Brigade Pacific Division 75th Training Command in Garden Grove, California. Deputy Sheriff Ballantyne and Sheriff’s Pilot Chavez died in a tragic plane accident in Springville, California, on February 10, 2016, while engaged in aerial surveillance for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 169, Res. Chapter 146, 8/17/2018.
(Image source: Facebook; Facebook)

Scenic Route Scenic Route

[SHC 263.7] From Route 65 near Porterville to Route 127 near Death Valley Junction.

Freeway Freeway

[SHC 253.7] From Route 136 near Keeler to Route 127 near Death Valley Junction (never upgraded). Added to the Freeway and Expressway system in 1959.

Interregional Route Interregional Route

[SHC 164.18] Between Route 65 and Route 127.

Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

Statistics Statistics

Overall statistics for Route 190:

Pre-1964 Legislative Route Pre-1964 Legislative Route

1944 MapIn 1933, Chapter 767 added the routes from "[LRN 9] near San Dimas to [LRN 26] near Redlands via Highland Avenue" and "[LRN 26] near Redlands to [LRN 43] near Big Bear Lake via Barton Flats" to the highway system. In 1935, these were added to the highway code as LRN 190, with the route:

  1. [LRN 9] near San Dimas to [LRN 26] near Redlands via Highland Avenue
  2. [LRN 26] near Redlands to [LRN 43] near Big Bear Lake via Barton Flats

The map to the right shows LRN 190 (Route 30) to its junction with LRN 207. This is where the route turned into Route 38.

In 1957, Chapter 1911 deleted the specific routing via Highland Avenue from segment (a).

This route was signed as follows:

  1. LRN 9 (US 66; I-210) near San Dimas to LRN 26 (US 70/US 99; present-day I-10) near Redlands.

    This was Route 30 between Route 57 and I-10; it is present day Route 210. It originally ran along Highland Avenue

  2. LRN 26 near Redlands to LRN 43 near Big Bear Lake, via Barton Flats.

    This is present-day Route 38.

LRN 190 included Orange Ave. in Redlands; the main line turned left on Lugonia along what became Route 38; the several blocks south from there on Orange was a LRN 190 spur connecting to, originally the Redlands Blvd. alignment of US 70/US 99 and later cut back a couple of blocks to I-10. The route was always legislatively defined as going to Big Bear, but that extension didn't come about until 1962, when the highway, essentially the "back way" up to Big Bear, was finally completed and signed as Route 38, including the short section into central Redlands. The original Lugonia segment was state-maintained up to a few miles west of Forest Falls; the newer construction turned north and east from there to ascend the mountain. So about 30 years passed between the designations of Route 30 and Route 38.
(Source: Scott Parker (SParker) at AAroads, 7/1/2016)

Acronyms and Explanations:

Back Arrow Route 189 Forward Arrow Route 191

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Maintained by: Daniel P. Faigin <>.