|US 101 Photo Gallery
City of San Diego (1940 - 1958)
US 101 was modified considerably during and after World War II. During the war, San Diego was an important location due to the naval presence and the concentration of war manufacturing. Even after the war was over, San Diego continued its incredible growth. Fortunately it was realized that an extensive road network was required and during the late 1940s and 1950s portions of US 101 became some of the first sections of highway to be brought up to full freeway standards in the county. Two major upgrades, occurring in 1942 and 1958, demonstrate the evolution of the road.
|By 1942, Pacific Highway between Barnett Ave and Rosecrans Ave had been
upgraded to partial freeway standards. While this was a much needed improvement, it was
not until 1958 that the limited access portion was extended south of Barnett Ave.
The extension was short, however. It only went for about a mile south, with the major improvement being
the grade separation over Washington St. This portion saw service as US 101 for seven
years until it was superseded by I-5 in 1965. Unlike many other abandoned freeways in
California, this one still has the bulk of its original signage and offers an interesting
look at what signs looked like at the time
The picture below accompanied an article in the November/December 1943 volume of California Highways and Public Works titled "Modern Design Features Mark New Highway Construction in San Diego."
The pictures below show the evolution of the US 101 / US 80 interchange, which was built in 1942 as part of the wartime project. By this point, the US was completely involved with World War II and wartime activities had first priority for the allocation of resources. This interchange, originally called the "Mission Valley Interchange," reflects the scarce resources allocated to highway construction in many ways, including the design. For example, one of the cloverleaf where one of the circle ramps was smaller so that the ramp carrying traffic heading from north 101 to the east highway could join with the mainline bridge over the railroad. At the time there was actually a lot of value in the materials saved by not building the extra bridge solely for the exit ramp. In 1961 the interchange was essentially unchanged since its construction in 1942. As the picture above on the right shows, this was entirely removed in 1968-69 to accommodate the newer I-5 / I-8 interchange. The picture to the right is especially interesting since it shows the old interchange in relation to the more recent one. By the time this interchange was under construction, I-5 was already completely eight lanes between National City and San Clemente; this was the last portion of old highway. This is visible in the picture with the completed eight lane I-5 visible at the bottom of the picture and again just beyond the San Diego River crossing.
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|The Mission Bay Freeway was a short four lane full freeway bypass built in 1954 to help alleviate traffic at the crowded interchange with Balboa Ave / Garnet Ave. It also afforded a savings in travel time by continuing in a straight line rather than swinging out as the older (1930s) alignment had. In 1969 the original pavement was removed and the freeway was realigned to accommodate the new eight lane freeway. However, all of the original bridges still exist, though they were widened. In fact, the one over Rose Canyon Creek still has the original curbing in the middle, complete with the reflectorized divots. (Fun fact: In 1999 Caltrans rehabilitated the deck of the Rose Creek bridge, where as a fop to the previous design, they built the new center divide with the same divots in the curb.)|
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