State Route 140 (SR 140) is a state highway in the U.S. state of California, 102 miles (164 km) in length. It begins in the San Joaquin Valley at Interstate 5 near Gustine, and runs east into Sierra Nevada, terminating in Yosemite National Park.
State Route 140
SR 140 highlighted in red
|Defined by Streets and Highways Code § 440|
|Maintained by Caltrans|
|Length||101.645 mi (163.582 km)|
SR 140 is broken into pieces, and the length does not reflect the overlaps that would be required to make the route continuous.
|SR 140 between Mariposa and El Portal|
|West end||I-5 near Gustine|
|East end||Yosemite National Park|
Heading east from I-5, the highway passes Gustine; it then jogs to cross the San Joaquin River. It roughly marks the southern edge of the farmable land around Livingston. It intersects with State Route 99 in Merced, which it overlaps for a few miles. Travelers coming from most regions of the San Francisco Bay Area or other parts of Northern California to Yosemite Valley and the southern portion of Yosemite would transfer from Highway 99 to Highway 140 at this point. For those coming from San Jose and the rest of the Silicon Valley, the most direct, fastest route is State Route 152 east; then the roads of Road 9, Bliss Road, Sandy Mush Road, and Plainsburg Road to reach Highway 140 in Planada. (Those going to the northern portion of Yosemite would have instead taken either I-580 and I-205 leaving the Bay Area, then State Route 120 east through Manteca, or State Route 132 east through Modesto.)
After exiting Highway 99, Highway 140 continues through Planada, after which the farmland gives way to grazing land. It is quite dry in the summer due to California's Mediterranean climate, and the dry grass gives the landscape a golden color. Western meadowlarks, American kestrels, red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures are frequently glimpsed. A few blue oaks can be seen as the highway leaves the valley and begins to climb through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. They become more and more numerous as the elevation increases. As the highway passes through Catheys Valley the vegetation begins to diversify a little. California live oaks and ponderosa pines intermingle with the blue oaks as it nears Mariposa. In Mariposa, it briefly runs concurrently with State Route 49.
A ponderosa pine forest borders the highway on both sides as it passes through Midpines. As it approaches Briceburg, the roadway follows a steep, winding grade down to the Merced River valley. The highway then runs alongside the Merced River for 20 miles to the park entrance, after passing through El Portal before finally entering Yosemite Valley, where it ends. The upper stretch of the Merced River valley below the park, which the highway follows, is designated as Wild and Scenic River Area. The area separates Sierra National Forest (south) and Stanislaus National Forest (north).
SR 140 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System, and is part of the National Highway System, a network of highways that are considered essential to the country's economy, defense, and mobility by the Federal Highway Administration. SR 140 is eligible to be included in the State Scenic Highway System; however, only the part of the road from Mariposa to El Portal is designated as a scenic highway.
In June 2006, the road between El Portal and Mariposa was closed due to a rock slide. The Ferguson Slide buried about 600 feet (180 m) of SR140 between Cedar Lodge and Briceburg Visitor Center between SR-49 and SR-41.
A small detour opened in August, 2006, with a traffic light system to allow drivers to circumvent the original slide damage area. Plans are underway for construction of a rock shed through the slide area to restore the original alignment.
The road was closed in 2018 due to the Ferguson Fire.
Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured on the road as it was in 1964, based on the alignment that existed at the time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. R reflects a realignment in the route since then, M indicates a second realignment, L refers an overlap due to a correction or change, and T indicates postmiles classified as temporary (for a full list of prefixes, see the list of postmile definitions). Segments that remain unconstructed or have been relinquished to local control may be omitted. The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.
|Merced||||0.00-50.30||Sullivan Road||Continuation beyond I-5|
|||0.00||I-5 (Westside Freeway) – Sacramento, Los Angeles||Interchange; west end of SR 140|
|Gustine||4.35||SR 33 south / Sullivan Road||West end of SR 33 overlap|
|6.06||SR 33 north / First Avenue – Newman, Tracy||East end of SR 33 overlap|
|||16.22||SR 165 (Lander Avenue) – Stevinson, Hilmar, Turlock, Los Banos|
|||23.43||Lincoln Boulevard – Livingston|
|||29.47||Applegate Road – Atwater|
|SR 99 north / SR 59 north (V Street) – Sacramento||Interchange; west end of SR 99 / SR 59 overlap|
|||West end of freeway on SR 99|
|14.69[N 1]||187B||SR 59 south (Martin Luther King Jr. Way) – Downtown Merced, Los Banos||East end of SR 59 overlap|
|14.41[N 1]||187A||G Street||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|||East end of freeway on SR 99|
|SR 99 south / 16th Street (SR 99 Bus. north) – Los Angeles||Interchange; east end of SR 99 overlap|
|Planada||43.70||Plainsburg Road – Le Grand, Madera, Fresno|
|Mariposa||Catheys Valley||9.50||Hornitos Road – Hornitos|
|Mariposa||21.22||SR 49 south – Oakhurst||West end of SR 49 overlap|
|22.00||SR 49 north / Jones Street – Coulterville, Sonora||East end of SR 49 overlap|
|||51.80||East end of state maintenance at Yosemite National Park west boundary|
|||||To SR 120 (Tioga Road) – Manteca|
|||||Northside Drive||Entrance only|
|||||SR 41 south (Wawona Road) – Wawona, Fresno||Eastbound access only|
|||||Southside Drive – Yosemite Valley Destinations||Continuation beyond SR 41; westbound entrance only accessible via Northside Drive|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
Clearing House (formerly, Clearinghouse) is an unincorporated community in Mariposa County, California. It is located on the north bank of the Merced River 5 miles (8 km) west of El Portal, at an elevation of 1555 feet (474 m).The Clearinghouse post office operated from 1913 to 1933. The place name comes from the Clearinghouse Mine, so named as it was an exchange place for gold bullion and certificates during the Panic of 1907. Clearing House has been noted for its unusual place name.Landslide
The term landslide or less frequently, landslip, refers to several forms of mass wasting that include a wide range of ground movements, such as rockfalls, deep-seated slope failures, mudflows, and debris flows. Landslides occur in a variety of environments, characterized by either steep or gentle slope gradients, from mountain ranges to coastal cliffs or even underwater, in which case they are called submarine landslides. Gravity is the primary driving force for a landslide to occur, but there are other factors affecting slope stability that produce specific conditions that make a slope prone to failure. In many cases, the landslide is triggered by a specific event (such as a heavy rainfall, an earthquake, a slope cut to build a road, and many others), although this is not always identifiable.Rock shed
A rock shed is a civil engineering structure used in mountainous areas where rock slides and land slides create highway closure problems. A rock shed is built over a roadway that is in the path of the slide. They are equally used to protect railroads. They are usually designed as a heavy reinforced concrete covering over the road, protecting the surface and vehicles from damage due to the falling rocks with a sloping surface to deflect slip material beyond the road, however an alternative is to include an impact-absorbing layer above the ceiling. A further use of this type of structure may be seen protecting the A4 road; although constructed primarily to alleviate risk from falling rocks from a limestone seam it also serves to protect against objects or persons falling from the Clifton Suspension Bridge where the height differential of approximately 70 metres from the bridge to the bottom of the Avon Gorge would give sufficient kinetic energy to even a relatively small item to cause injury on impact.Yosemite Valley Railroad
The Yosemite Valley Railroad (YVRR) was a short-line railroad operating from 1907 to 1945 in the state of California, mostly following the Merced River from Merced to Yosemite National Park, carrying a mixture of passenger and freight traffic. Contrary to the name of the railroad, rail service did not extend to Yosemite Valley itself, but rather ended at the park boundary as the construction of railroads is prohibited in the National Parks. Passengers would disembark at the park boundary in El Portal, CA and take a stage coach, and starting in 1913 a motor coach, to Yosemite Valley itself. With closure of the Yosemite Sugar Pine Lumber Company in 1942 and the sale of the Yosemite Portland Cement Company to the Henry J. Kaiser Company and subsequent suspension of all operations in 1944 led to a loss of most of the freight track on the railroad. This in addition to the increased competition for passengers from use along the Yosemite All-Year Highway (now designated as California State Route 140), both commercial and private, and the substantial decrease of recreational passenger traffic because of World War II led to the downfall of the railroad. The railroad asked the Interstate Commerce Commission for permission to abandon operations on October 25, 1944. The last regularly scheduled train ran on August 24, 1945.
The railroad was incorporated on December 18, 1902, by John S. Drum, William B. Bosley, Sydney M, Ehrman, Thomas Turner, and Joseph D. Smith in the city of San Francisco. It was a standard-gauge railway that stretched about 30 miles (48 km) from Merced to the mouth of Merced Canyon, connecting the towns of Snelling, Merced Falls, Exchequer and Bagby, and a further 50 miles (80 km) to El Portal, CA. Aside from passengers and mining products, the railroad also carried lumber (from the Yosemite or Sugar Pine lumber companies) to Merced Falls, to be cut at a group of sawmills at a cataract on the Merced River.In 1926, the construction of Exchequer Dam flooded part of the railroad under Lake McClure, but the railway was rerouted around the reservoir afterwards. In the mid-1940s floods and landslides damaged nearly 30 miles (48 km) of the railway in Merced Canyon. Sections of the re-routed railbed were again put under water when Exchequer Dam was expanded in the 1960s. Several tunnels for the railroad still remain under Lake McClure, and are visible when the water level drops during drought periods. A few other tunnels in Merced Canyon are now used for road traffic.
Among many notable passengers, the YVRR carried two presidents: William Howard Taft in October, 1909 and Franklin Roosevelt on July 15, 1938.