Kearny Villa Road
Kearny Villa Rd. is a two mile unmarked freeway in the northern part of the City of San Diego, located just to the north of the I-15/SR-163 interchange. It is a “freeway” from its intersection with SR-163 to just south of the intersection with Miramar Rd. and has two full-fledged interchanges with no at-grade crossings. It was converted to a freeway as an improvement to US 395, later to be a part of I-15, which then bypassed it in 1982. At this time, the old freeway was relinquished to San Diego County and was made into the extension of Kearny Villa Rd.
What is now Kearny Villa Rd. was first built as part of a major realignment of US 395 in 1949-50. The original road had dated from the 1910s and was deemed too narrow and inadequate by the end of the 1930s. While plans were made to improve US 395 at this time, the advent of World War II postponed design and construction until 1948. The final product was a two and sometimes four lane road that went from approximately the current intersection of SR-163 and Clairemont Mesa Blvd. to the intersection of I-15 and Pomerado Rd. near Lake Hodges. When completed, the California Division of Highways boasted in their in-house publication California Highways and Public Works, “With the completion of this 18.3 mile, $3,476,000 improvement, this route gained the distinction of having 59 miles of freeway or limited access construction.” One remaining legacy of this alignment is the bridge over San Clemente Canyon, originally built in 1949. In later years, the two lane road was widened to a four lane expressway.
In 1968 the US 395 expressway was converted into a full-fledged freeway. It is this improvement that distinguishes this road as currently being an unmarked freeway. There are two bridges remaining and some leftover freeway signs. It was modified again in 1976 as part of improvements to I-15. This is when the “jersey curb” center divider and concrete guardrails on the bridge over San Clemente Canyon were added. In 1982, a new, wide alignment of I-15 was built to the east of the existing freeway between SR-163 and Miramar Rd. I-15 had to be realigned since there was no room to widen the existing freeway due to the presence of the Miramar Naval Air Station (now MCAS Miramar). The result is the almost perfectly preserved freeway that allows a glimpse into the past.
There are two ways of reaching the Kearny Villa Rd. unmarked freeway. From the north it can be accessed by taking Miramar Rd. to the intersection with Kearny Villa Rd. and heading south (this is a right turn heading from I-5 or a left turn heading from I-15.) It can be reached from the south by way of SR-163. Exit at the Kearny Villa Rd. exit (immediately to the west of the I-15/SR-163 split.) The unmarked freeway starts/ends almost immediately at both of these points.
This page was authored by Casey Cooper