Historic US 395 in San Diego County

395_old_shield_med

Inland Route

Introduction

US 395 came to Southern California in 1935.  Prior to the route being signed as US 395, it was State Highway 71. Through San Diego County, US 395 followed a few different alignments. The first version of the highway passed through Fallbrook, Bonsall, and Vista before heading to Escondido. In 1947, the highway was realigned to follow the current I-15 route. In 1949, 395 was realigned again south of Escondido. The period following the major realignments, the 1950’s to 1972, saw mostly improvements to the existing highway. US 395 was upgraded to freeway and expressway south of Escondido with the portion north of Escondido to Riverside County remaining a two-lane roadway.

In 1972, US 395 was redesignated as I-15 and I-215 south of Phelan, where US 395 still ends today. With the new Interstate designation, more upgrades would be constructed, this time as a full freeway. These would be slow in coming, however, as the last sections of freeway along the I-15 corridor wouldn’t be completed until the early 1980’s.

Today, what remains of former US 395 is still traversable and quite a fun road to travel. North of the Escondido area, the roadway is known as “Old Highway 395” and retains most of its original pre-freeway features. This website will focus on the remaining roadway and some of its historic alignments before the major realignments in the late 1940’s in San Diego County.


Alignments and Maps

Future

lake-hodges-395
Map of the US 395 alignments in the Lake Hodges Area.

Photographs

Northbound on the Cabrillo Freeway approaching the Robinson Ave bridge.
Northbound on the Cabrillo Freeway approaching the Robinson Ave bridge.
Washington Street Overcrossing viewed from Robinson Avenue.
Washington Street Overcrossing viewed from Robinson Avenue.
Former alignment of the US 395 expressway/freeway between Miramesa Blvd and Mercy Road.
Former alignment of the US 395 expressway/freeway between Miramesa Blvd and Mercy Road.
1928 bridge on Old Pomerado Road in Poway.
1928 bridge on Old Pomerado Road in Poway.
Section of alignment along the north shore of Lake Hodges.
Section of alignment along the north shore of Lake Hodges.
US 395 expressway in Escondido crossing Escondido Creek. Note the 395 postmile marker on the right side.
US 395 expressway in Escondido crossing Escondido Creek. Note the 395 postmile marker on the right side at the bridge.
Mileage and direction sign at the old junction of US 395 and SR-78 in Escondido. Sign dates from 1962.
Mileage and direction sign at the old junction of US 395 and SR-78 in Escondido. Sign dates from 1962.
Mileage along Centre City Parkway in Escondido.
Mileage along Centre City Parkway in Escondido.
Route 395 Milepost just north of Escondido.
Route 395 Milepost just north of Escondido.

 

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4 thoughts on “Historic US 395 in San Diego County”

  1. I really enjoyed the history on this page. Is there anyone who could tell me, or are there any old maps showing, the whole Old Highway 395 route(s) from the Mexican border to Victorville?
    I would love to see that route in detail, even if it was a few different routes over time.

    I am mostly interested in visible maps.

    Thank you!
    Michael Haywood

    1. Here’s a link for a 1940s Auto Club map showing the alignment of 395 about six years after it was created out of the previous CA 71. Runs through San Marcos, Vista, Bonsall and Fallbrook before heading out to Rainbow and the alignment that eventually became I-15. North to Elsinore where 395 and 71 split with 395 heading east to Perris and the eventual alignment of I-215. The original route of 395 in San Diego was considerably different from the one we all remember through Balboa Park. http://www.garbell.com/US395-old/highwayman/SDCoACSCmap101-395-0-3.jpg

      1. These maps alone were a treasure to see, not just for Hwy 395 but for the cool perspective it gave on old Hwy 101! Remarkable how separated cities were and how they had designations for having Hotels, Gas and Food… exactly what you’d expect from Auto Club if the era!

  2. This was exciting to read about . I pass by it every 3 weeks from Riverside to San Diego . Always wondered what ” old highway 395 ” was/ is .. neat !!!

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