California State Route 156

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State Route 156

SR 156 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Caltrans
Length25 mi[1] (40 km)
(includes 9 miles on US 101)
California Scenic State.svg SR 156 between the Castroville city limit and US 101 in Prunedale[2]
Major junctions
West end SR 1 near Castroville
Major intersections
East end SR 152 near Hollister
CountryUnited States
CountiesMonterey, San Benito, Santa Clara
Highway system
SR 155 SR 158

State Route 156 (SR 156) is a west to east state highway in the U.S. state of California, running from State Route 1 in Castroville to State Route 152 near Hollister. It serves as part of the primary route from the Monterey Peninsula to either the San Francisco Bay Area or the California Central Valley.

Route description

State Route 156 west of San Juan Bautista
SR 156 concurrent with US 101 west of San Juan Bautista

The western terminus is at State Route 1 in Castroville. The eastern terminus is at State Route 152 near Hollister. It overlaps U.S. Route 101 for 8 miles (13 km) between Prunedale, and San Juan Bautista. Route 156 passes through Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Clara Counties. Along with US 101, it is the quickest route from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Monterey Peninsula. In addition, SR 156's connection with SR 152 allows direct access to the California Central Valley.

For its westernmost two miles (3 km), Route 156 is a freeway through Castroville, terminating at a Y-interchange with the Route 1 freeway. There is no direct access from Route 156 West to Route 1 North or Route 1 South to Route 156 East. Motorists who want to go from Route 1 South to Route 156 East can do so by using Route 183 South through Castroville. Traffic heading west on Route 156 can access Route 1 North by exiting at the Route 183 interchange and heading north. The route then truncates into a two-lane road between Castroville and Prunedale. Route 156 joins U.S. 101 for the next 8 miles (13 km) before splitting off as an expressway east to San Juan Bautista. Just after the intersection with The Alameda, Route 156 returns to a 2-lane road, then curves north by northeast, with several at-grade signal intersections, including one with State Route 25. Route 156 then crosses into Santa Clara County approximately 1/4 mile (300 meters) before a divided road and terminating at State Route 152 as a partial interchange. However, motorists wishing to use westbound SR 152 must exit at Casa de Fruita as there is no direct interchange between eastbound SR 156 and westbound SR 152.

SR 156 is part of the National Highway System,[3] a network of highways that are considered essential to the country's economy, defense, and mobility by the Federal Highway Administration.[4] The route is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System,[5] and from 1 mile (1.6 km) east of Castroville to US 101 is officially designated as a scenic highway by the California Department of Transportation,[6] meaning that it is a substantial section of highway passing through a "memorable landscape" with no "visual intrusions", where the potential designation has gained popular favor with the community.[7]


The original portion of the route was defined in 1909 and ran from U.S. Route 101 to Hollister. In 1933, the remainder of the route (between Castroville and US 101 and between Hollister and Route 152) was added. It was signed as Route 156 by 1963, but was not part of the original 1934 state signage of routes.

Route 156 was originally routed through Hollister on 4th street and turned left on San Benito Street where it shared a route with Route 25 for 1 mile (as of 2009, SR 25 was rerouted onto a bypass.) before splitting with SR 25, and meeting its current alignment at the current SR 156/ San Benito Road intersection. In 1998, Route 156 was rerouted onto a new bypass of Hollister. A stub of the original route can be seen southeast of this intersection.

Route 156 east originally came to an intersection with US 101. This intersection became dangerous because U.S. 101 traffic didn't stop. This intersection was replaced with an interchange since then. A stub of the intersection can still be seen between the southbound on ramp and the bridge crossing U.S. 101.


Highway 156 experiences heavy truck traffic as it serves as a primary route for moving people and goods between the Monterey Peninsula and the rest of the state. It directly links with Highway 152, one of a small number of passable routes across the Coast Ranges between Monterey Bay and the Central Valley.

Monterey County

The westernmost segment from Highway 1 to Highway 101 in Prunedale is a heavily traveled 2-lane section that has experienced numerous fatal crashes in recent years. Environmental studies are underway to upgrade this 5-mile (8 km) section to either a 4-lane highway or fully controlled access expressway. The Transportation Agency for Monterey County and Caltrans have narrowed the list of upgrade alternatives to one freeway and one expressway option. Alternative 11 — the expressway option — will add a second carriageway to the existing road. Interchanges will be constructed at Castroville Boulevard and Cathedral Oaks Road, while Oak Hills Drive will be an at-grade intersection. Alternative 12 — the freeway option — will build a new freeway to the south of the existing roadway with an interchange at Castroville Boulevard. Under this alternative, there will be no interchange with Cathedral Oaks Road or Oak Hills Drive. The existing Route 156 would be converted to a frontage road providing access to Cathedral Oaks Road and Oak Hills Drive. The environmental studies were expected to be complete in 2009, with the project originally slated for completion in 2015.[8] As of December 2020, only the interchange at Castroville Boulevard has been funded.[9]

San Benito County

San Benito County and Caltrans are conducting environmental studies for widening Highway 156 from two to four lanes between Highway 101 near San Juan Bautista and the Santa Clara County line. Interchanges are proposed with Highway 25 northwest of Hollister, Business Route 156 both north and southwest of Hollister, and Highway 101. The entire segment may be upgraded to freeway status to eliminate delays caused by numerous traffic lights currently present in the Hollister area.

Major intersections

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 to an overlap due to a correction or change, and T indicates postmiles classified as temporary (for a full list of prefixes, see California postmile § Official postmile definitions).[10] 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.

MON R0.17-101.32[N 1]
SR 1 south – Monterey Peninsula
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; west end of SR 156; SR 1 north exit 414B

SR 183 to SR 1 north – Castroville, Salinas
East end of freeway
PrunedalePrunedale RoadInterchange westbound; at-grade intersection eastbound
95.44[N 1]

US 101 south / Vierra Canyon Road – Los Angeles
Interchange; west end of US 101 overlap; US 101 north exit 336
96.14[N 1]337San Miguel Canyon Road (CR G12)Interchange
98.37[N 1]339Crazy Horse Canyon Road, Echo Valley RoadInterchange
100.39[N 1]Dunbarton Road to San Juan Road (CR G11) – Aromas, WatsonvilleClosed
San Benito
SBT 0.00[N 1]-R18.43
0.00[N 1]342San Juan Road (CR G11) – Aromas, WatsonvilleInterchange
West end of freeway on US 101
East end of freeway on US 101
3.00[N 1]

US 101 north – San Jose, San Francisco
Interchange; east end of US 101 overlap; US 101 south exit 345
San Juan Bautista3.02 CR G1 (The Alameda)Former US 101
HollisterSan Juan Road (SR 156 Bus. east) – HollisterFormer SR 156 east
R11.37 SR 25 (Bolsa Road) – Gilroy, Hollister
R13.22San Felipe Road (SR 156 Bus. west) – HollisterFormer SR 156 west
Santa Clara
SCL 0.00-R0.60
SR 152 east – Los Banos
Interchange; eastbound exit and westbound entrance; east end of SR 156; access to SR 152 west is via Casa de Fruta Parkway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Indicates that the postmile represents the distance along US 101 rather than SR 156.

Business loop

Business plate California.svg

State Route 156 Business


State Route 156 Business is a business loop that runs along SR 156's former alignment through Hollister. It splits from SR 156 as San Juan Road to run east to Downtown Hollister, then heads north as San Felipe Road to rejoin the parent route.


  1. ^ a b California Department of Transportation (July 2007). "Log of Bridges on State Highways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation.
  2. ^ California Department of Transportation (August 2019). "Officially Designated State Scenic Highways and Historic Parkways" (XLSX). Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  3. ^ Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: California (South) (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  4. ^ Natzke, Stefan; Neathery, Mike & Adderly, Kevin (June 20, 2012). "What is the National Highway System?". National Highway System. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  5. ^ "Article 2.5 of Chapter 2 of Division 1". California Streets & Highways Code. Sacramento: California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  6. ^ California Department of Transportation (August 2019). "Officially Designated State Scenic Highways and Historic Parkways" (XLSX). Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  7. ^ California Department of Transportation (2012). Scenic Highway Guidelines (PDF). Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. p. 5. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  8. ^ "TAMC Highway 156 Upgrades". Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-03-25.
  9. ^ "Highway 156 Castroville Boulevard interchange project gets $20 million from state". Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  10. ^ a b California Department of Transportation. "State Truck Route List". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (XLS file) on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  11. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
  12. ^ California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, U.S. Route 101 Freeway Interchanges, Retrieved on 2009-02-14.

External links