Interstate 5

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Southbound Interstate 5 in Fresno County

Interstate 5 Highway Guides

Interstate 5 south
After the Rest Area, Interstate 5 leaves Merced County and enters Fresno County. The first exit in Fresno County is Exit 385, Nees Avenue east to Firebaugh and Fresno. Since Fresno County does not participate in the state's signed county route system as much as Merced, Stanislaus, or San Joaquin Counties to the north, there are not many signed county routes in Fresno County. An exception is Fresno County Route J-1, which connects Interstate 5 with California 180 west of Fresno. However, in other counties, a highway such as Nees Avenue would likely be signed with a county pentagon shield. Photo taken 07/06/04.
The next exit along Interstate 5 south is Exit 385, Nees Avenue east to Firebaugh and Fresno. Photo taken 11/27/06.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 385, Nees Avenue east to Firebaugh and Fresno (via Ripperdan/Avenue 7 and California 99 south). Photo taken 07/06/04.
The next exit along southbound is Exit 379, Junction Fresno County Route J-1/Shields Avenue east to Mendota and Fresno. Fresno County Route J-1 is the approximate route of the proposed California 180 extension west to Interstate 5. West of Interstate 5, Fresno County Route J-1 continues via Little Panoche Road and Panoche Road to meet California 25 in Paicines in San Benito County. Photo taken 07/06/04.
Use Fresno County Route J-1/Shields Avenue east to reach Mendota and Fresno and west to Panoche Pass and Paicines. Little Panoche Reservoir is located just west of the freeway along Fresno County Route J-1. Photo taken 07/06/04.
Fresno County Route J-1 is not mentioned on any of the advance guide signs for Exit 379/Shields Avenue. Photo taken 07/06/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 379, Junction Fresno County Route J-1/Shields Avenue east to Mendota and Fresno and west to Little Panoche Road, Panoche Road, and Paicines in San Benito County. Westbound Fresno County Route J-1 passes by Mercy Hot Springs just prior to the San Benito County Line. Photo taken 07/06/04.

This mileage sign (after Exit 379) provides the distance to Exit 337, Junction California 33 south/California 145 north; the city of Bakersfield via California 58; and Los Angeles. Omitted from this sign is the distance to the next exit, Exit 372. To the southwest, look for Panoche Mountain, elevation 2,091 feet. Photo taken 07/06/04.
The next exit along southbound is Exit 372, Russell Avenue, one mile. Photos taken 11/27/06 and 07/06/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 372, Russell Avenue, which heads north toward Fresno County Route J-1/Shields Avenue and ultimately Dos Palos/Junction California 33 in Merced County. Looking south, Russell Avenue heads south into the Panoche Hills as an unimproved road. Photos taken 11/27/06 and 07/06/04.
The next exit along southbound is Exit 368, Panoche Road, one mile. Photo taken 07/06/04.
As Interstate 5 leaves the more civilized parts of California, on-highway services for motorists become scarcer. For example, there are no gas stations along Interstate 5 again for another 35 miles after Exit 368, so be sure to fill up if the tank is low! Photo taken 07/06/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 368, Panoche Road at Apricot Tree. Use Panoche Road east to reach Cheney Ranch and Mendota, where it meets California 180 east of California 33. Use Panoche Road west to follow Jackass Grade over the Panoche Hills before meeting New Idria Road at Douglas Ranch in San Benito County. Photo taken 07/06/04.
The next exit along Interstate 5 south is Exit 365, Manning Avenue (one mile). Photo taken 11/27/06.
Southbound Interstate 5 next reaches Exit 365, Manning Avenue east to San Joaquin, Raisin City, and Fowler (Junction California 99 south of Fresno). Photo taken 07/06/04.
This mileage sign, located after Exit 365, provides the distance to Exit 337, Junction California 33/145; the city of Bakersfield in Kern County; and Los Angeles. Photo taken 07/06/04.
The next exit along southbound is Exit 357, Kamm Avenue, one mile. Photo taken 07/06/04.
As a reminder, it is still another 24 miles before reaching the next gas station! Photo taken 07/06/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 357, Kamm Avenue, which heads east to meet California 33 near the California Aqueduct. Photo taken 07/06/04.
This mileage sign, located after Exit 357, provides the distance to Exit 337, Junction California 33/145; the city of Bakersfield in Kern County; and Los Angeles. Photo taken 07/06/04.
The next exit along southbound Interstate 5 is Exit 349, Junction California 33 north/Derrick Avenue, one mile. Photo taken 07/06/04.
California 33 travels north from this interchange to Mendota and Los Banos. Photo taken 11/27/06.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 349, Junction California 33 north/Derrick Avenue. To avoid confusion with Exit 337, Exit 349/California 33 north is only signed on one of the three advance signs. Photo taken 07/06/04.
From here, Interstate 5 and California 33 combine for 12 miles until Exit 337. Photo taken 07/06/04.
This mileage sign, located after Exit 349, provides the distance to Exit 337, Junction California 33/145; the city of Bakersfield in Kern County; and Los Angeles. Photo taken 07/06/04.
The great Central Valley spreads out in front of Interstate 5 as the terrain gets even drier and the irrigated lands shrink from view. By the time the freeway reaches Kern County, much of the land shifts to a native terrain that will no longer feature these yellowing grasses ... it will instead largely consist of desert sagebrush! Photo taken 07/06/04.
The next exit along southbound is Exit 337, Junction California 33/145. Notably, California 145 north is omitted from this advance sign. When California 33 splits off to the south, it passes through Coalinga, and then separates permanently from Interstate 5, following former U.S. 399 south to Ventura (Junction U.S. 101) on the coast. Although California 33 looks fairly straight on a map, it is very windy with sharp curves and grades between Ventucopa in Santa Barbara County and Ojai in Ventura County. The final four or so miles of California 33 is a freeway. Photos taken 11/27/06 and 07/06/04.
California 145 follows Fresno-Coalinga Road northeast to Five Points, then continues north along Lassen Avenue to Kerman and Madera Avenue north to Ripperdan and Madera. At Madera, California 145 turns northeast to join California 41 near Little Table Mountain north of Fresno and south of Millers Corner. Photo taken 11/27/06.
This section of California 33 was never designated as U.S. 399, however. U.S. 399 began in Bakersfield, then followed California 119 southwest from the city to meet California 33 in Taft. From Taft, U.S. 399 took over California 33 south toward Ventura. Photos taken 11/27/06 and 07/06/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 337, Junction California 33 south and California 145 north. There are no services at this interchange. Photo taken 07/06/04.
Now free of California 33, Interstate 5 south approaches its next exit (Exit 334/Junction California 198) and a Rest Area (Exit 320). The mileage to the rest area (17 miles) is accurate, since it matches the difference between Exit 337 and Exit 320. Photo taken 07/06/04.
This Interstate 5 reassurance shield is located after the California 33 interchange (Exit 337). Photo taken 07/06/04.
Once again, Interstate 5 passes under the Path 15 Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) power lines. These power lines transmit power up and down the spine of the Golden State. They have paralleled Interstate 5 since the Interstate 580 merge, and they continue to follow the freeway all the way to the northern edge of Los Angeles. At this point, the power lines leave the Big Blue Hills, cross Interstate 5, and head southeast a bit to avoid Coalinga to the southwest. Two of the three 500kV lines are cross Interstate 5; the third 500kV line will cross near Jayne Avenue east of Coalinga. Photo taken 07/06/04.
The next exit along Interstate 5 south is Exit 334/Junction California 198, two miles. Photo taken 07/06/04.
Use California 198 east along Dorris Avenue to reach Lemoore, Hanford, Visalia, and Sequoia National Park. While parts of the highway are two-lane road, there are several freeway sections near Lemoore-Hanford and Visalia. Photo taken 07/06/04.
Use California 198 west to reach California 33 south into Coalinga and then west along Warthan Canyon Road to reach Priest Valle, Mustang Ridge Summit, and San Lucas (Junction U.S. 101) in Monterey County. Most of this route to the west is two-lane, undivided highway. Photo taken 07/06/04.
Visalia is east of Lemoore-Hanford, but Huron is located just east of this interchange by taking California 198 east to California 269/Lassen Avenue south. Photo taken 07/06/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 334, Junction California 198. Motorist services are available at this interchange. Use California 198 east to reach Harris Ranch, a large hotel, restaurant, and butcher shop. For fresh meat right off the ranch, Harris Ranch is one of the best places to stop. Photo taken 07/06/04.
The next exit along southbound Interstate 5 is Exit 325, Jayne Avenue, one mile. Photo taken 07/06/04.
The Compass map of Coalinga and Fresno County show Jayne Avenue signed as Business Loop I-5 into Coalinga, but no such signs have been found anywhere along the route. Behind this second exit-number advance sign is a tall pole carrying the third set of 500kV Path 15 power lines. Photo taken 11/27/06.
Energized in late 2004, the third set of 500kV Path 15 power lines cross over Interstate 5 prior to the Jayne Avenue interchange. A substation connecting this line to the other Path 15 wires is located east of the freeway and is visible in the distance (second photo). This particular line was not built by Pacific Gas and Electric and thus does not have the standard look of that company's 500kV system. However, the line provides relief to the busy north-south power corridor that continues to follow Interstate 5 south. Photos taken 11/27/06.
As a result of the 2000-2001 power crisis in California, one of the identified bottlenecks in the power grid is the section of Path 15 power lines approximately between California 152 and the Gates substation to the southeast of here. To alleviate that, a new set of power lines is being installed to carry additional electricity between the north and the south. This pole, sitting in a farmer's field at the time this photo was taken, will help carry those additional power lines in addition to those power lines shown above. Within a few months of when this picture was taken, this power pole was erected, and wires were attached. Photo taken 07/07/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 325, Jayne Avenue, which heads west into Coalinga (with connections to California 33 south and California 198 west) and east into Kings County, where it becomes Nevada Avenue. Nevada Avenue ultimately meets California 41 southwest of Stratford. Photo taken 07/07/04.
After the Jayne Avenue interchange, another 500kV power line crosses Interstate 5. This particular pole uses a typical Pacific Gas and Electric design unlike the monopole design seen previously. It travels southwest to connect the Path 15 corridor with power generated by Diablo Canyon Nuclear Generating Station. It is one of three 500kV power line emanating from the nuclear power plant located on the Central California Coast near San Luis Obispo. Heading northeast from this point, this power line feeds into Path 15 at the Gates substation, which is visible from the freeway. A 230kV power line accompanies the 500kV power line along the same alignment. Photos taken 11/27/06 and 07/07/04.
The next exit along southbound Interstate 5 is Exit 320, Rest Area (one mile). Photo taken 07/07/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 320, Rest Area. The next rest area is 69 miles ahead, at Exit 259. Photo taken 07/07/04.
The next exit along southbound Interstate 5 is Exit 319, Junction California 269/Lassen Avenue north to Huron and Five Points and California 269/Skyline Drive south to Avenal and Junction California 33. Photos taken 11/27/06 and 07/07/04.
The next motorist services, including gas, is 11 miles ahead. Photo taken 07/07/04.
There are no services at Exit 319, Junction California 269, but there are several motorist amenities available in Avenal, six miles to the southwest over the Kettleman Hills. Photos taken 11/27/06 and 07/07/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 319, Junction California 269/Lassen Avenue north to Huron and Five Points and California 269/Skyline Drive south to Avenal and Junction California 33. Part of Avenal's economy thrives on the presence of a large correctional facility (prison) as well as ranching. Photos taken 11/27/06 and 07/07/04.
Prior to passing through the California 269 interchange, Interstate 5 south departs Fresno County and enters Kings County and the city of Avenal. Photo taken 07/06/04.

Continue south to Kettleman City Back to Interstate 5 Index Return to the California Gateway

Page Updated September 6, 2008.