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Author Topic: "MTN" Milemarkers  (Read 2016 times)

coatimundi

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"MTN" Milemarkers
« on: June 28, 2016, 12:25:59 AM »

I went to Mineral King, in Sequoia NP, for the first time last week to do some hiking (absolutely gorgeous, but I'm not sure I'll do a daytrip again because of that horrible road), and that was the first time I can recall encountering an "MTN" milemarker. They exist on the entire ~20 mile Mineral King Road.

Is there a comprehensive list of the roads that use this? Or, at the least, some examples outside of Tulare County?
Hard to Google because it thinks it's smarter than me and adds "mountain" for "mtn".
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sparker

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Re: "MTN" Milemarkers
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2016, 05:11:13 AM »

Interestingly, back in the '70's, when the Disney corporation was planning to place a large resort complex at Mineral King, the road was slated to become CA 276 when fully developed.  Of course, that never occurred; in '84, when the company changed ownership, the new management under Mike Eisner went in a different direction and abandoned those plans.  I haven't checked recently, but I think 276 is still an active future designation -- although the likelihood of that road seeing any upgrades beyond its current state is slim & none.

That being said, Tulare County has long had separate classifications for its county route; avenues (N-S) and roads (E-W); east of the valley floor, the roads were classified as "M-......" to distinguish them from the grid-pattern of the lowlands.  Sounds like the "MTN" signage is an outgrowth of that classification.
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coatimundi

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Re: "MTN" Milemarkers
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2016, 06:45:22 AM »

Well, it's a whole system of roadways in the Sierras. They cross county lines and use Caltrans style postmile markers. For instance, Mineral King Road is MTN 375, and the Great Western Divide Road, that heads south through Sequoia National Monument, is MTN 107, while MTN 99 gets into Kern County all the way to CA 178. You can see some of them on Google Maps as road names.
Searching, I found a USFS map that references a few of them, though it uses a state highway marker for MTN 107: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sequoia/recreation/?cid=fsbdev3_059482

I had read about the Disney ski resort that almost happened, but didn't realize CalTrans had set aside a number for the road improvement. I would have thought they would take it down into the canyon to get it up there since the current track is so narrow and curvy. But I don't know what the terrain is like on the bottom along the Kaweah. It could be too many bridges to be worth it.
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Re: "MTN" Milemarkers
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2016, 08:54:58 AM »

Hard to Google because it thinks it's smarter than me and adds "mountain" for "mtn".

Maybe an advanced Google search? (Yes, advanced searches exist.)
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coatimundi

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Re: "MTN" Milemarkers
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2016, 02:05:38 AM »

I emailed Caltrans District 6, and got a really lame reply. Basically, "if it's inside a national park, it's probably maintained by NPS." My question more revolved around the "Mountain Road" system, and I was more curious about the numbers than anything. What I'm finding is that almost every little road in the Sierras falls into this system and has a number, even when they lack milemarkers. You can sometimes find the numbers on, of all places, Zillow. The MLS entry will often list the Mountain Road number on some of the more random roads.
I can't find much on this, so I'm just putting it out there again. I'm mainly curious about two points:
- Why does a numbered road system, separate from county, state and forest road systems exist?
- Why does this numbered system feature state highway style milemarkers if the roads are maintained by the counties?

I mean, I'm going to go back to Caltrans, but I'm sort of putting out there in hopes that someone with more background has an easy explanation.
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cahwyguy

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Re: "MTN" Milemarkers
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2016, 10:28:41 AM »

- Why does a numbered road system, separate from county, state and forest road systems exist?
- Why does this numbered system feature state highway style milemarkers if the roads are maintained by the counties?

Why do you keep thinking Caltrans knows about this? Most likely, it is at the county level, perhaps coordinated across the counties through California Association of Counties. Check with the county public works department before you go to Caltrans. As for why the milemarker style -- perhaps it is just a recommended style for highway marking. If the size and format is somewhat standardized, it makes them less expensive to manufacture. For example, look at the county highway number marker. The style of it is actually standardized across the country, even if the numbering systems aren't.
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coatimundi

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Re: "MTN" Milemarkers
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2016, 07:20:22 PM »

You may be right: it's just a standardized milemarker. But it's weird that the route numbers continue across county lines, and are separate from existing numbered county and forest roads. For instance, Tulare County J37 is Mountain Road 239. If the maintenance is handled by the county, then why doesn't the milemarker say "J37" or "37"? That's what's weird to me.
I would be really curious to see if the numbered BIA roads in the Tulare River res have these as well, since J42 is Mountain Road 284 west of the boundary.

I mean, I'm just putting this out there in case someone knows.
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andy3175

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Re: "MTN" Milemarkers
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2016, 11:58:48 PM »

You may be right: it's just a standardized milemarker. But it's weird that the route numbers continue across county lines, and are separate from existing numbered county and forest roads. For instance, Tulare County J37 is Mountain Road 239. If the maintenance is handled by the county, then why doesn't the milemarker say "J37" or "37"? That's what's weird to me.
I would be really curious to see if the numbered BIA roads in the Tulare River res have these as well, since J42 is Mountain Road 284 west of the boundary.

I mean, I'm just putting this out there in case someone knows.

It seems like most of the signed pentagon county routes in Tulare County are poorly signed or unsigned. I have seen a shield or two leading from a state  highway, but county-maintained signage for pentagon county routes that appear on multiple maps (and are in Daniel's signed county route list) is not present in the field.
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cahwyguy

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Re: "MTN" Milemarkers
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2016, 12:40:04 AM »

Andy: Given that the list is from a printout from the late 1970s, I wouldn't be surprised if the signs were never maintained.
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andy3175

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Re: "MTN" Milemarkers
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2016, 12:24:55 AM »

Andy: Given that the list is from a printout from the late 1970s, I wouldn't be surprised if the signs were never maintained.

Yes I agree Daniel. I recall there being an older, button copy overhead sign on eastbound SR 198 visible from the northbound lanes of SR 99 near Visalia that clearly had a space for a county route marker and a shadow for where it used to be, so I believe a conscious effort was made to remove those Tulare County route markers at some point.
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sparker

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Re: "MTN" Milemarkers
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2016, 02:25:02 AM »

That would have been county road J19, which extended from 198 just east of the 99 interchange north and east to Orange Cove, where it terminated at CA 63.  It was a well-used "back road" from 99 to Kings Canyon Park if one wanted to avoid the major towns in the region, many of which were considered speed traps.  IIRC, there was also a trailblazer sign assembly reading "J19/NEXT RIGHT" on north 99 ahead of the eastbound 198 ramp; it vanished sometime in the early to mid-'90's -- which may mark the timeframe that Tulare County shed their pentagonal county shields.
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