California State Route 149

State Route 149 marker

State Route 149
Route information
Defined by S&HC § 449
Maintained by Caltrans
Length: 4.623 mi[1] (7.440 km)
History: State highway in 1933; numbered in 1964
Major junctions
South end: SR 70 near Oroville
North end: SR 99 near Chico
Highway system

State highways in California(list • pre-1964)
History • Unconstructed • Deleted • Freeway • Scenic

SR 147 SR 150

State Route 149 (SR 149) is a short state highway that helps to connect Oroville and Chico through rural Butte County. Connecting State Route 70 at Wicks Corner with State Route 99 east of Durham, it forms part of the primary north–south highway through the eastern Sacramento Valley, a Focus Route of the Interregional Road System.[2] The route is also part of the California Freeway and Expressway System, and a project to widen the two-lane road to a four-lane expressway was completed in late 2008, removing the bottleneck from the Oroville-Chico highway.[3]


Route description

State Route 149 begins at Wicks Corner, a junction with SR 70 several miles north of Oroville. This is the north end of the State Route 70 freeway, which passes through a gap between the Campbell Hills and South Table Mountain on its way from Oroville. SR 149 heads northwest across gently rolling terrain before descending into the valley of the Dry Creek. As it begins to climb out of the valley, SR 149 ends at State Route 99. The latter highway continues the corridor northwest to Chico, quickly dropping back into the Butte Creek valley.[4]


By the late 1910s, a "natural prairie road" linked Oroville to State Highway Route 3 southeast of Chico, following the present Table Mountain Boulevard, Openshaw Road, and Oroville-Chico Highway to Midway (Route 3). The primary route between these two cities was the all-state highway route, following Route 21 (now SR 162) west from Oroville to Route 3 near Richvale.[5][6] Butte County dedicated a newly-improved Oroville-Chico Highway on July 4, 1926;[7] it became part of the state highway system in 1933 as the northern portion of the Woodland-Chico Route 87.[8][9] (The rest of Route 87 became part of Sign Route 24, which turned east at Oroville along present State Route 70, in 1934.[10])

In the 1950s and 1960s, about three-quarters of the Oroville-Chico Highway was absorbed by other routes.[11] A new two-lane alignment of U.S. Route 99E (Legislative Route 3, now SR 99) between east of Richvale and Chico opened in the mid-1950s, using part of the Oroville-Chico Highway south of Durham Dayton Highway and bypassing the remainder to the junction south of Chico.[12][13] In the early 1960s, U.S. Route 40 Alternate (Legislative Route 21, now SR 70) was relocated due to the damming of Lake Oroville across its old alignment. The bridge over the West Branch Feather River northwest of the dam opened in August 1962, resulting in US 40 Alt. using the Oroville-Chico Highway (which was relocated to a new four-lane freeway alignment) south of Wicks Corner.[14][15] The remainder, which was never part of a sign route,[16] became Route 149 in the 1964 renumbering.[17]

SR 149 was relocated onto a new two-lane alignment in the mid-1970s, leaving behind Openshaw Road.[12] Caltrans began studies for interchanges at each end in September 1992. The California Transportation Commission approved funding for four-laning SR 149 in April 1994 and the two interchanges in May 1996, with construction to begin in 1998 and cost $47 million. Due to state budget problems and the need to study environmental impacts, the project was repeatedly pushed back; these impacts and inflation had more than doubled the cost to $120 million in 2004. In particular, an endangered species of meadowfoam was discovered on the south embankent, forcing a redesign. Construction began in September 2005 on a new freshwater marsh near the State Route 70 intersection to replace beaver ponds in the path of the highway, and it was completed in March 2006.[18]

Ground was broken for the highway project in April 2006, with major construction beginning in May.[18] Caltrans estimated completion in late 2009 for the completion of the four-lane expressway, including a new directional interchange at each end, at which State Route 70 and State Route 99 will exit and enter to the right of the main Oroville-Chico movement. Most access will be closed, with Shippee Road providing the sole at-grade crossing of the expressway, and an overcrossing near State Route 70 giving access to local property. Shippee Road will be relocated to the southeast, allowing for the future construction of an interchange; a traffic signal will be added if the Mechoopda Maidu Native American casino is approved. In addition, State Route 70 will be relocated to the west between SR 149 and State Route 191, and local access on State Route 99 between SR 149 and the Durham Dayton Highway interchange will be replaced by frontage roads.[3][19] The entire project was completed in November 2008.[20]

Major intersections

Note: Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured in 1964, based on the alignment as it existed at that time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage.

The entire route is in Butte County.

Location Postmile
Destinations Notes
Wicks Corner 0.00 SR 70 to SR 191 – Paradise, Quincy, Oroville, Marysville Interchange
R3.11 Shippee Road, Openshaw Road
R4.62 SR 99 – Yuba City, Chico Interchange
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b California Department of Transportation, State Truck Route List (XLS file). Retrieved February 2008.
  2. ^ California Department of Transportation, Focus Routes, January 2005
  3. ^ a b California Department of Transportation, Butte 70/149/99 Highway Improvement Project. Retrieved February 2008.
  4. ^ Google Maps street maps and USGS topographic maps, accessed February 2008 via ACME Mapper
  5. ^ Automobile Club of Southern California, Automobile Road Map of California, 1917
  6. ^ Official Automobile Blue Book, Volume Eight, 1919, pp. 222-223
  7. ^ Oakland Tribune, Near-Beer Will Christen New Road, June 18, 1926
  8. ^ "An act...relating to...the addition of certain highways to the State system.", 1933 chapter 767, p. 2035: "State Highway Route 3 near Chico to State Highway Route 21 near Oroville."
  9. ^ "An act to establish a Streets and Highways Code...", 1935 chapter 29, p. 282: "Route 87 is from: (a) Route 7 near Woodland to State Highway near Yuba City. (b) Route 15 near Marysville to Route 21 near Oroville. (c) Route 21 near Oroville to Route 3 near Chico."
  10. ^ California Highways and Public Works, State Routes will be Numbered and Marked with Distinctive Bear Signs, August 1934
  11. ^ United States Geological Survey, Oroville (1944) and Chico (1949) (scale 1:62500): these maps show the road before it was absorbed
  12. ^ a b c California Department of Transportation, Log of Bridges on State Highways, July 2007
  13. ^ California Department of Transportation, Index to California Highways and Public Works, 1937-1967, June 1997, p. 75
  14. ^ Oakland Tribune, Bridge Dedicated, August 15, 1962
  15. ^ Oakland Tribune, Man, Machines Change Face of Earth in Gigantic Dam Project at Oroville, June 8, 1964
  16. ^ H.M. Gousha Company, California, 1963
  17. ^ "An act...relating to routes on the state highway system.", 1963 chapter 385, p. 1183: "Route 149 is from Route 70 near Wicks Corner to Route 99 near Chico."
  18. ^ a b Chico Enterprise-Record, Project has taken a long time to get to this point, July 21, 2006
  19. ^ Chico Enterprise-Record, Closing the gap: The Highway 149 project (map). Retrieved February 2008.
  20. ^ Carlson, Britt (2008-11-19). "Highway 149 Completion Celebration". KHSL-TV. Retrieved 2009-03-02. [dead link]
  21. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006

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