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State Route 140

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 140 Seg 1From Route 5 near Gustine to Route 99 near Merced.

    Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

    As defined in 1963, this segment was "(a) Route 5 near Gustine to Route 99 near Merced." This definition has remained unchanged.

    Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

    This segment was not part of the original routing of Route 140, but was signed by 1963. It was LRN 122. The portion between Route 33 and Route 99 was defined in 1933. It was moved off of River Road in 1937. The remainder was defined in 1959.

    Status Status

    The 2020 SHOPP, approved in May 2020, included the following New Mobility item of interest: 10-Merced-140 PM 16.0/16.5 PPNO 3438 Proj ID 1017000175 EA 1H020. Route 140 near Hilmar, at the intersection of Route 140 (PM 16.0/16.5) and Route 165 (PM 26.6/27.1). Install a signal with dedicated left-turn lanes or construct roundabout. Programmed in FY23-24, with construction scheduled to start at the end of December 2024. Total project cost is $9,871K, with $5,200K being capital (const and right of way) and $4,671K being support (engineering, environmental, etc.).
    (Source: 2020 Approved SHOPP a/o May 2020)


  2. Rte 140 Seg 2From Route 99 near Merced to Yosemite National Park near El Portal via Mariposa.

    Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

    As defined in 1963, this segment ran from "(b) Merced to Yosemite National Park near El Portal via Mariposa."

    In 1976, Chapter 1354 changed the origin to "(b) Route 99 near Merced to …"

    Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

    In 1934, Route 140 was signed along the route from Merced to Jct. Route 120 through Yosemite National Park via Mariposa. It was part of LRN 18. The segment from Merced to Mariposa was defined in 1909. From Mariposa to Yosemite National Park was defined in 1916. The portion from the old boundary of Yosemite National Park near Crane Flat to Route 120 was originally part of the route, defined in 1915, but was removed in 1943. There are points where this road has been rebuilt, and the old roadbed is still visible.

    Currently, Route 120 enters Yosemite National Park in Tuolumne County via the modern Big Oak Flat Road. Originally Route 120 entered Yosemite National Park via the Old Tioga Pass Road and Route 140 entered via the Old Big Oak Flat Road. The Big Oak Flat Road is the second oldest highway into Yosemite just behind the Old Coulterville Road. Much of the alignment of Route 120 follows the path set out by the Big Oak Flat Road. Details on the history of the entrance into Yosemite and the changes in routing may be found in the Gribblenation Blog "Old California State Route 140 and California State Route 120 entrances to Yosemite National Park".
    (Source: Gribblenation Blog "Old California State Route 140 and California State Route 120 entrances to Yosemite National Park")

    Tom Fearer (Max Rockatansky) on AAroads notes that the alignment of Tioga Pass Road used to be very different in the early days of the state highway system. Route 120 took a turn on what is now Evergreen Road to Aspen Valley Road which used to be the original routing of Tioga Pass Road. Route 140 from Evergreen Road used the modern alignment of Route 120 to Yosemite National Park. The alignments can be seen very easily on the 1935 Tuolumne County Map. Tioga Pass Road originally traversed Aspen Valley way north of the modern road where it met up with the modern alignment of the road via White Wolf Road. Sometime between 1942 and 1944, Tioga Pass Road was moved to the modern realignment which resulted to changes to Route 120 and Route 140. Route 140 was cut back to the El Portal Entrance of Yosemite on the Merced River while Route 120 was rerouted off of Evergreen Road onto Big Oak Flat Road where Route 120 enters Yosemite today. The changes are reflected on the 1954 and 1955 state highway maps.
    (Source: Tom Fearer (Max Rockatansky) on AARoads, 7/8/2017)

    Route 140 east of Merced was one of the very first state highways to be commissioned (it was LRN 18) as an "all-weather" route into Yosemite. But like all roads built next to rivers to take advantage of the relatively low elevation, the trade-off is perennial flood damage.
    (Source: Scott Parker (SParker) at AAroads, 7/26/2016)

    Status Status

    In January 2008, the CTC relinquished right of way in the city of Merced, at Glen Avenue (~ MER 35.886), consisting of a reconstructed and relocated city street.

    Bradley Overhead (~ MER 36.483 to MER 37.396)

    In October 2006, the CTC had on its agenda a resolution for approval for future consideration of funding a project on Route 140 in Merced County for which a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) has been completed. The project is partially funded in the 2006 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) for Project Approval and Environmental Document (PA&ED) and Plans, Specifications and Estimate (PS&E) for $2,712,000 in the Regional Improvement Program (RIP). The total estimated project cost is $41,500,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year (FY) 2008-2009. The project is referred to as the "Bradley Overhead and Replacement Project", and is just E of Merced (~ MER 037.07).

    In August 2012, the CTC approved an additional $1,763,000 in funding in the city of Merced, from Marthella Avenue to Santa Fe Avenue at the Bradley Overhead (~ MER 36.483 to MER 37.396). The goal is to widen from 2 to 4 lanes with 2-way left turn lane and sidewalks. The funding should add 2.2 lane miles.

    In January 2017, the CTC relinquished right of way in the city of Merced along Route 140 on Baker Drive (10-Mer-140 PM 36.8/37.2, between Parsons and E Santa Fe), consisting of collateral facilities. The City, by relinquishment agreement dated March 20, 2008 agreed to waive the 90-day notice requirement and accept title upon relinquishment by the State. At the same time, the CTC also authorized relinquishment of right of way in the county of Merced along Route 140 on Baker Drive and Santa Fe Avenue (10-Mer-140 PM 37.1/37.4), consisting of collateral facilities. The County, by relinquishment agreement dated July 31, 2007 agreed to waive the 90-day notice requirement and accept title upon relinquishment by the State.

    SR-140 Slope Repair Project (MPA 32.2)

    Briceberg RepairIn March 2016, it was reported that Caltrans was holding public meetings regarding a project to repair a failed slope beneath an 84-inch reinforced concrete pipe culvert adjacent to the eastbound lane of Route 140 at PM MPA 32.2 in Mariposa County. Construction of a rockfilled gabion basket wall with stone base support/buttress is the proposed repair method to repair the failed slope and stop erosion from the culvert at this site. The purpose of the project, also known as the SR-140 Slope Repair Project, is to prevent further erosion of the slope and protect the highway and the associated culvert. Caltrans is the lead agency for the preparation of the environmental document for the project pursuant to both the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. The location is S of Briceberg, between the two Bear Creek Bridges.
    (Source: Sierra Sun Times, 3/23/2016)

    140 FergusonOn April 29, 2006, there was a huge landslide that covered about 300 feet of highway between Mariposa and Yosemite National Park. It is unclear if the original alignment can be repaired. On July 20, CalTrans started building a limited bypass around the slide area, and this was finished on July 31, 2006. Yosemite tourists are urged to enter the park via Route 120 from Oakdale or Route 41 from Fresno. More information, including hours of usage for the Route 140 bypass, can be found on a blog at http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?f=1&i=1032&t=1032.

    In May 2014, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding a project in Mariposa County that will construct repairs or a permanent bypass on a portion of Route 140 that was blocked and damaged by the Ferguson rockslide. The project is programmed in the 2014 State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The total estimated cost is $132,550,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2015-16.

    In June 2015, an update was provided on the Ferguson Project. The $133 million project will restore highway access to a section of Route 140 that was damaged by the Ferguson rock slide in 2006. The two phase project will result in a two-lane 750-foot rock shed along the existing route. Caltrans started the project in March 2015, when crews removed about 63,000 tons of rock and debris. Subsequent visual inspection of the exposed slope led Caltrans to reconsider the lateral design strategy for the rock shed. The approach transitioned to a wall structure that would require Caltrans to leave the remaining rock to help facilitate geotechnical bores and ultimately construct the rock shed. As of June 2015, the structure was designed to include two 12-foot-wide lanes, two 8-foot-wide outside shoulders and a 4-foot-wide emergency walkway on the river side. Motorists are currently constrained by one-way traffic control, using a temporary bypass route. Construction of the rock shed is anticipated to begin in 2016. The two lanes on the original alignment will be reopened once the project is complete. Other alternatives considers, but ultimately not selected, included Alternative T-3, which would have constructed a tunnel on a new alignment, tunneling into the west canyon wall, under the rockslide, and realigning with the existing highway, and the no-build alternative.
    (Source: Merced Sun-Star, May 25, 2015, CaltransInformation Page)

    In March 2016, it was reported that work will resume in summer 2016 on a $133 million effort to build a 750-foot rock shed and restore Route 140 from Mariposa to El Portal. It will include two 12-foot-wide lanes, two 8-foot-wide shoulders and a 4-foot-wide emergency walkway on the Merced River side. Work will last at least four more years.
    (Source: SJ Mercury News, 3/18/2016)

    The 2020 SHOPP, approved in May 2020, included the following NEW Long Lead Bridge Preservation item of interest: 10-Mariposa-140 PM 37.0/43.3 PPNO 3299 Proj ID 1013000010 EA 0X760. Route 140 near Midpines, at Slate Gulch Bridge No. 40-0006, Sweetwater Creek Bridge No. 40-0007, and South Fork Merced River Bridge No. 40-0008. Replace bridges. Note: The duration of environmental requirement for a Wild and Scenic River report will take over 40 months to complete. Programmed in FY25-26, with construction scheduled to start in September 2026. Total project cost is $41,060K, with $23,030K being capital (const and right of way) and $18,030K being support (engineering, environmental, etc.). Only the PA&ED programming of $4,520K is authorized.
    (Source: 2020 Approved SHOPP a/o May 2020)

    Second Rock Shed (10-Mariposa-140 PM 42.0/42.7)

    The 2020 SHOPP, approved in May 2020, included the following Major Damage Restoration item of interest (carried over from the 2018 SHOPP): 10-Mariposa-140 PM 42.0/42.7 PPNO 0280 Proj ID 1014000148 EA 0P921. Route 140 near El Portal and Yosemite National Park, at 0.5 miles west of South Fork Merced River. Construct rock shed. This is a Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC) project. Programmed in FY20-21, with construction scheduled to start in April 2022. Total project cost is $203,100K, with $176,500K being capital (const and right of way) and $26,600K being support (engineering, environmental, etc.). Note that the Const ($175,000K) and Const Sup ($21,000K) phases are not authorized in the 2020 SHOPP.
    (Source: 2020 Approved SHOPP a/o May 2020)

    The 2020 SHOPP, approved in May 2020, included the following Major Damage Restoration item of interest (carried over from the 2018 SHOPP): 10-Mariposa-140 PM 42.0/42.7 PPNO 0280B Proj ID 1020000099 EA 0P923. Route 140 near El Portal and Yosemite National Park, 0.5 miles west of South Fork Merced River. Early Work Package No. 1 for Ferguson Slide Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC) parent project EA 0P921. Remove rock talus. Programmed in FY20-21, with construction scheduled to start in September 2020. Total project cost is $35,000K, with $27,000K being capital (const and right of way) and $8,000K being support (engineering, environmental, etc.).
    (Source: 2020 Approved SHOPP a/o May 2020)

    Portions of what appears to be this route within the National Park are maintained by the Federal Government. They have some interesting highway signs, illustrated at http://wwtl.info/ca-140.html.

    Naming Naming

    Special Agent Richard (Rick) K. Oules Memorial HighwayThe portion of Route 140 from Arboleda Drive to Plainsburg Road in the County of Merced (~ MER 40.788 to MER 43.71) is named the "Special Agent Richard “Rick” K. Oules Memorial Highway". It was named in memory of Special Agent Richard “Rick” K. Oules, who was born in 1956 in Merced, California. Special Agent Oules received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in management from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California. Special Agent Oules began his law enforcement career in 1977, with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department, where he served as a Patrol Deputy, Narcotics Detective, and Patrol Sergeant. In 1987, he joined the Department of Justice as a Special Agent and was assigned to the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, where he worked on and supervised a clandestine lab enforcement team resulting in the investigation and dismantling of approximately 300 methamphetamine laboratories. In 2005, he was appointed as the Director of the Department of Justice’s Division of Law Enforcement, where he oversaw one of the largest state investigative law enforcement agencies in the United States. Special Agent Oules retired from the department in 2008 and, after a short break, joined the United States Attorney’s Office in Sacramento, as a Law Enforcement Coordinator, where he served until his death. Special Agent Oules was recognized for his many achievements by being awarded the California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations’ Top Manager Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement Leadership. Special Agent Oules was the past President of the California Narcotic Officers’ Association (CNOA), served on the CNOA Executive Board of Directors and the Executive Board of Directors of the California Peace Officers’ Association, and was appointed to the California Council on Criminal Justice. On April 4, 2011, Special Agent Oules died at 55 years of age after a courageous battle with lung cancer, which was determined to be a result of his frequent long-term exposure to the large number of chemicals and solvents found in methamphetamine laboratories. Named by Senate Concurrent Resolution 77, Res. Chapter 75, on June 26, 2014.
    (Image source: Merced Sun-Star; Dignity Memorial)

    Between the Merced county line near Planada and Yosemite National Park (~ MER 50.301/MPA 0.000 to MPA 50.32), this segment is named the Central Yosemite Highway. It was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 27, Chapter 69, in 1989.

    Braden VarneyThe five-mile portion of Route 140 north of its intersection with Route 49 (MPA 18.511 to MPA 23.511) is named the CAL FIRE Firefighter Braden Varney Memorial Highway. Name in memory of Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney, who passed away in the line of duty on July 14, 2018, at 36 years of age, while battling the Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County, California. Braden Varney was born in Mariposa County in May 1982, and was raised there. Varney was a 10-year veteran of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, having followed in the footsteps of his late father, Gordie Varney, another department heavy fire equipment operator who also perished in the line of duty. Throughout Braden’s life, he generously donated thousands of dollars worth of time and equipment to build and maintain the road to the Barrier-Sweetwater Youth Camp in Mariposa County. Braden and his father simply loved Sam Hensley’s vision and wanted to support “getting the kids to camp”. On July 14, 2018, Braden was operating his bulldozer on the Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County and, during the early morning hours, his bulldozer experienced a rollover that resulted in Braden’s passing. It was named by ACR 47, Res. Chapter 108, Statutes of 2019, on 07/08/19.
    (Image source: Sierra News Online)

    This segment is also named the "All Year Highway". This is a historic name.

    Named Structures Named Structures

    Agua Fria Historical PlaqueThere is a historical monument and plaque dedicated to the community of Agua Fria placed within the right-of-way of Route 140, in Mariposa County, at a site that is located near the junction of State Highway Route 140 and Agua Fria Road (~ MPA 16.592). Agua Fria was the first county seat of Mariposa County. The monument and plaque was placed by the Matuca Chapter of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus. Authorized by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 140, Chapter 96, July 12, 2000. The plaque reads: "Agua Fria. Discovered by Sonoran miners in the early summer of 1849. It was located about a quarter mile above the two springs of cold water from which the town derived its name. Agua Fria was the first county seat from Feb. 18, 1850 to Nov. 10, 1851. During this time the town consisted of about a dozen stores, three card monte, faro tables, a billiard room, hotel and bowling alley. The town of Agua Fria soon declined, when in 1852 the town of Mariposa became the seat of government. On June 22, 1866 a fire broke out which destroyed the entire town and it was never rebuilt. Dedicated by Matuca Chapter 1849, E Clampus Vitus, April 1, 2000 (6005), Credo Quia Absurdum"
    (Image source: Noehill.Com)

    Scenic Route Scenic Route

    [SHC 263.7] From Route 49 at Mariposa to Yosemite National Park near El Portal.


Freeway Freeway

[SHC 253.1] Entire route. Added to the Freeway and Expressway system in 1959.

Blue Star Memorial Highway Blue Star Memorial Highway

This route was designated as a "Blue Star Memorial Highway" by Senate Concurrent Resolution 39, Ch. 23 in 1984.

Interregional Route Interregional Route

[SHC 164.17] Between the east urban limits of Merced and Yosemite National Park.

Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

Statistics Statistics

Overall statistics for Route 140:

Pre-1964 Legislative Route Pre-1964 Legislative Route

In 1933, Chapter 767 added the routes from "Taft to [LRN 4] near Greenfield" and "[LRN 4] S of Bakersfield to [LRN 58] via Arvin" to the highway system. In 1935, this was captured in the definition of LRN 140 in the highway code, which was:

  1. Taft to [LRN 4] near Greenfield
  2. [LRN 4] south of Bakersfield to [LRN 58] via Arvin

In 1959, Chapter 1062 changed (b) to eliminate the specific routing (i.e., "…to [LRN 58] via Arvin").

It was signed as follows:

  1. From Taft to Route 99 near Greenfield.

    This segment as originally signed as US 399; it is present-day Route 119.

  2. From Route 99 south of Bakersfield to Route 58.

    This segment appears to have been unsigned before 1963. It is present-day Route 223.


Acronyms and Explanations:


Back Arrow Route 139 Forward Arrow Route 141

© 1996-2020 Daniel P. Faigin.
Maintained by: Daniel P. Faigin <webmaster@cahighways.org>.