California 56

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California 56

This view looks west along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway from an open space area located on the south side of the freeway between Salmon River Road and Black Mountain Road. Photo taken 03/26/10.

Routing

California 56 is the Ted Williams Freeway between Interstate 5 in Carmel Valley and Interstate 15 in Rancho Penasquitos/Sabre Springs. As of July 19, 2004, California 56 is a complete freeway, with the most recently completed section connecting the west section between Interstate 5 and Carmel Country Road and the east section between Black Mountain Road and Interstate 15. The middle segment was completed in 2004, and a new freeway-to-freeway interchange at Interstate 15 is currently under construction. However, additional connectors at the Interstate 5 interchange are currently unfunded.

Future Aspirations

Originally, the California 56 freeway was planned to continue east to California 67. However, this did not occur due to local politics. In place of a California 56 freeway, Ted Williams Parkway is an expressway between Interstate 15 and Poway. This expressway is not signed as California 56. Since California 125 is now planned as an expressway north of California 52, is it highly unlikely that the planned freeway-to-freeway interchange between California 56 and California 125 will ever be constructed.

For a time, only a dirt road served the corridor between Carmel Valley and Rancho Penasquitos However, in 2000 a temporary connector was constructed to provide access between the two ends of California 56 and thus bridge the gap, although it is not the most direct route. The new road is an asphalt realignment of Carmel Valley Road. It stays to the north of the actual California 56 corridor. Although it appears like this roadway was built to serve as a temporary California 56, it was really constructed to allow access to all of the new homes planned in that area. Significant tracts of new homes have been erected in formerly open space areas.

Chronology of State Route 56

  • 1959. The first incarnation of California 56 appears in the state legislative highway system. It was planned to run from the current Interstate 5/805 merge east to Interstate 15.
  • 1965. California 56 adopted as planned as a freeway for its entire 17-mile length.
  • 1987. SANDAG proposes the TransNet 1/2-cent sales tax through countywide Proposition A. This measure was initially written to fund the California 56 freeway between Interstate 5 in Carmel Valley/Del Mar and Interstate 15 in Rancho Penasquitos However, an influential activist group (San Diegans for Managed Growth) indicated that they would not support Proposition A unless language about the central segment of California 56 was removed from it. In 1985, San Diegans for Managed Growth (SDMG) spearheaded the effort to require a public vote for development of all areas designated by the city as "Future Urbanizing." The group felt that completion of the center section of California 56 would foster growth in an area that had not yet been designated for growth by the citizens. Both San Diegans for Managed Growth and the Sierra Club opposed State Route 56 for its "growth inducing potential." According to the Union-Tribune, the language supporting California 56 was ultimately deleted from Proposition A, although there is no record of this deletion in SANDAG regular meeting minutes.
  • July 1993. California 56 East freeway opened to traffic between Black Mountain Road and Interstate 15. The Interstate 15 interchange is not constructed "freeway-to-freeway," however.
  • Early 1990s. Select Arterial 680 (SA-680/Camino Del Norte), which was planned to connect to the north end of the now-defunct Poway Freeway (California 125 at Interstate 15), is cancelled due to opposition from local residents, especially in Encinitas. Since California 56 remains incomplete, there are no major east-west highways in North San Diego County between State Route 78 and Mira Mesa Boulevard. Since SA-680 is not going to be constructed, proponents push harder for the California 56 freeway.
  • March 1995. California 56 West freeway completed ($32,000,000) between Interstate 5 and Carmel Creek Road.
  • End of 1995. Phase One of the Interstate 5/Interstate 805/California 56 interchange upgrade ($52,000,000) completed. Due to funding constraints, SANDAG proposes constructing California 56 as a toll road, a plan that is later rejected.
  • Summer 1996. City of San Diego announces intention to fund interim expressway along California 56 corridor since no money is available to build California 56 freeway. Ultimately, this plan is rejected as funding is found to complete California 56 as a freeway.
  • Mid-1998. Phase Two of the Interstate 5/Interstate 805/California 56 interchange upgrade completed. This creates freeway-to-freeway connection between these three highways, and it sets the stage for the planned "dual freeway" that will enhance traffic flow.
  • July 1998. The San Diego City Council decides upon a northern alignment for State Route 56 that has a conspicuous hump. This new alignment replaces an alignment once viewed as favorable by Caltrans due to environmental concerns. Some landowners whose homes were made closer to the freeway's path sued the city to return the freeway to the alignment originally proposed by Caltrans.
  • November 1998. Propositions K and M are approved by the San Diego electorate; included in propositions is funding to pay for full freeway upgrade to SR-56. The City of San Diego hopes to have the road completed by 2002 at a cost of $90 million. Preliminary work on the new alignment commences.
  • June 1999. Costs projected for the construction of California 56 increase from $90 million to $111.5 million.
  • October 1999. Then-City of San Diego Councilmember Barbara Warden of District 5 announces her intention to have the Route 56 corridor completed by March 2002. This also marks the groundbreaking ceremony for the new highway.
  • December 1999. Due to environmental challenges and lawsuits placed on behalf of property owners along the California 56 corridor, the project is significantly delayed, pushing back the expected date of completion for the missing link to 2003. More specifically, the project has encountered the following issues:
    1. A homeowners (San Diegans for Responsible Planning) lawsuit, which was rejected in August 1999, caused the project to be delayed several months. The group asked Caltrans and the City of San Diego to lower the freeway to lower noise impacts.
    2. Caltrans has not been able to acquire nearly 200 acres from dozens of property owners who own land in the freeway's path, which may require court action to complete.
    3. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and California Coastal Commission have requested additional justification for the environmental mitigation proposed for the new highway, which has delayed the permitting process.
  • Late 1999/Early 2000. The City of Poway makes a request to add Scripps Poway Parkway, an unsigned county route, to the state highway system. If added, this would likely be signed as part of California 56, as that route is proposed to be extended from its current eastern terminus at Interstate 15 to meet California 67 near Poway. Ted Williams Parkway, an expressway connecting California 56 to Poway, may also be included within this extension.
  • January 2000. Draft versions of the new five-year plan for highway improvements, issued by SANDAG, confirm that the missing link in the California 56 freeway will not be completed until 2003 (which is later pushed again to 2004). This is mostly due to the environmental mitigation concerns stemming from a court decision regarding a grove of eucalyptus trees in Orange County.
  • November 2000. The City of San Diego opens a new road (Carmel Valley/Black Mountain Road) that connects the two temporary ends of California 56, allowing motorists a paved alternative across the future urbanizing area. Traffic fills up on this new alignment as travelers discover and use the short-cut between Interstates 5 and 15.
  • September 2002.Construction on the California 56 Freeway continues, with planned completion in 2004 at an estimated cost of $202 million (including bikeways, interchanges, and grading for an expansion to six lanes). A new section just east of Black Mountain Road is scheduled to be the first new portion of the middle segment to open.
  • April 5, 2003. Walk on the Freeway between Black Mountain Road and Camino del Sur (formerly Camino Ruiz). This segment of freeway will open to traffic on Friday, April 11, 2003. The remainder of the freeway is under construction with an anticipated opening date in July 2004.
  • July 19, 2004. California 56 fully opens to traffic.

Highway Guide

California 56/Ted Williams Freeway east
After transitioning from Interstate 5/Local Bypass north onto eastbound California 56, the first exit along eastbound is Carmel Creek Road (Exit 1A). Photo taken 12/30/08.
Upon turning east, California 56 splits into a collector-distributor lane arrangement. The right lane joins the c/d lane, while the left two lanes continue east on California 56. Traffic merges onto California 56 from El Camino Real. The next exit (Exit 1) serves Carmel Creek Road, which connects to the community of Carmel Valley. Photo taken 06/23/08.
The freeway is split into express and local lanes. The June 2008 photo shows the collector-distributor lanes, where eastbound California 56 approaches Exit 1, Carmel Creek Road. The December 2008 photo shows the express lanes, which have no access to Exit 1. At this point on the c/d lanes, traffic enters the freeway from El Camino Real. Photos taken 06/23/08 and 12/30/08.
An exit number roadside sign was posted around 2006 for Exit 1, Carmel Creek Road. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Eastbound California 56 reaches Exit 1, Carmel Creek Road. The next exit along eastbound is Exit 2, Carmel Country Road. Photos taken 06/23/08 and 12/30/08.
California 56 is known as the Ted Williams Freeway, named after the baseball legend. Photo taken 06/23/08.
This mileage sign provides the distance to the next three exits along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway east: Exit 2, Carmel Country Road; Exit 3, Carmel Valley Road; and Exit 6, Camino del Sur. Photo taken 06/23/08.
After the onramp from Carmel Creek Road, the right lane of eastbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway becomes exit only for Exit 2, Carmel Country Road. Until 2004, the freeway ended after Exit 2 (and all traffic had to use Carmel Valley Road). As of 2004, the gap in the freeway was completed, and today California 56 is a freeway between Interstate 5 and Interstate 15. Photo taken 06/23/08.
A roadside sign along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway east for Exit 2, Carmel Country Road is posted shortly thereafter. Like Carmel Creek Road, Carmel Country Road serves the community of Carmel Valley. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Eastbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway reaches Exit 2, Carmel Country Road. The next exit is Exit 3, Carmel Valley Road. Photo taken 06/23/08.
This mileage sign provides the distance to the next three exits along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway east: Exit 3, Carmel Valley Road; Exit 6, Camino del Sur; and Exit 7, Black Mountain Road. In 2002, there was no mileage sign, and an "END FREEWAY" temporary sign was posted prior to the Carmel Country Road overpass. Photos taken 06/23/08 and 06/22/02.
Traffic from Carmel Country Road merges onto eastbound California 56. In 2002, more signs announced the temporary end of the freeway. Prior to July 2004, traffic was forced to exit onto Old Carmel Valley Road, which used to connect with the freeway and continue as a two to four-lane surface street across Pacific Highlands Ranch and Torrey Highlands into Rancho Penasquitos via Black Mountain Road. Carmel Valley Road was realigned in 2004 to its present alignment, and there is now no connection to Old Carmel Valley Road from California 56. In the 2002 photo, note how the freeway stub continued to go straight, even though traffic was forced to exit. Photos taken 06/23/08 and 06/22/02.
Exit 3 serves Carmel Valley Road. If a connecting road is extended south toward Del Mar Mesa, this interchange would also serve that community located to the south of the freeway. Preliminarily this road is to be called Camino Santa Fe (presumably an extension of the road of the same name in Mira Mesa), but it is doubtful this road segment would cross Los Penasquitos Canyon, and it may end up with a new name. Photo taken 06/23/08.
This view shows the former connection to Old Carmel Valley Road as it looks in 2008 and how it was used in 2002. Photos taken 06/23/08 and 06/22/02.
Eastbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway reaches Exit 3, Carmel Valley Road (and future Camino Santa Fe). The next exit is Exit 6, Camino del Sur. Ahead is the longest stretch of California 56 without an exit. Photo taken 06/23/08.
At the top of the ramp, turn left to follow Carmel Valley Road east to Pacific Highlands Ranch. Local access is provided by turning right here. Photo taken 12/30/08.
This mileage sign provides the distance to the next three exits along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway east: Exit 6, Camino del Sur; Exit 7, Black Mountain Road; and Exit 8, Rancho Penasquitos Boulevard. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Following scenic Los Penasquitos Canyon and McGonigle Canyon, California 56 passes through some undeveloped areas. While plans call for residential and commercial construction on the north side of the freeway, some of the canyons on the south side of the freeway are planned to remain as open space. In the distance, Black Mountain comes into view. Photo taken 06/23/08.
A California 56 east reassurance shield is posted shortly after the onramp from Carmel Valley Road. Photo taken 06/23/08.
This guide sign provides the distance to Exit 9, Junction Interstate 15/Escondido Freeway (5.50 miles). Photo taken 06/23/08.
A bicycle lane parallels California 56 on the south side of the freeway. It is separated from the freeway lanes by a chain link fence. This landscaped bikeway provides a scenic yet direct route for bicyclists between Carmel Valley and Rancho Penasquitos Photo taken 06/23/08.
California 56 passes under Rancho Santa Fe Farms Road; there is no access to this road from the freeway. After this overpass, California 56 will leave the community of Pacific Highlands Ranch and enter Torrey Highlands. Photo taken 06/23/08.
A San Diego Gas and Electric 230kV power line crosses over California 56. Photo taken 06/23/08.
The next exit along eastbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway is Exit 6, Camino del Sur. An auxiliary lane allows for a dual lane exit from the freeway. This section of freeway (from Old Carmel Valley Road to Exit 6) opened to traffic on July 19, 2004. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Eastbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway reaches Exit 6, Camino del Sur. Use this exit to the community of Torrey Highlands and Black Mountain Ranch. Westview High School is located north of the freeway along Camino del Sur. To the south, future plans call for the extension of Camino del Sur toward Park Village, but the presence of vernal pools may prevent development of the area for years to come. As such, the timing of the roadway extension is in doubt. Photo taken 06/23/08.
The planted median (consisting mostly of oleander) has grown substantially since it was first planted in 2004. This view shows the freeway looking east from the Camino del Sur interchange. Photo taken 06/23/08.
The next three exits along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway east are Exit 7, Black Mountain Road; Exit 8, Rancho Penasquitos Boulevard; and Exit 9, Junction Interstate 15/Escondido Freeway. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Another roadside exit number sign is posted for the Black Mountain Road interchange (Exit 7). Photo taken 06/23/08.
Black Mountain Road travels south to Mira Mesa and north to Rancho Penasquitos, ending at Carmel Valley Road. A back route to 4S Ranch and Rancho Bernardo can be taken via Black Mountain Road north to Carmel Valley Road east. Carmel Valley Road changes into Bernardo Center Drive upon entering 4S Ranch in unincorporated San Diego County, and that name remains upon reentering the city of San Diego at the community of Rancho Bernardo. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Eastbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway reaches Exit 7, Black Mountain Road. Photo taken 06/23/08.
This suite of pictures shows the California 56 eastbound freeway as it approaches the Black Mountain Road interchange (Future Exit 7). The new freeway is all concrete, and it features sound walls to separate it from the nearby houses. Even the Black Mountain Road overpass was only recently completed. The last picture shows a date stamp that shows the concrete was poured on February 1, 2002. This segment of freeway (between Exits 6 and 7) opened on April 11, 2003. Photos taken 06/22/02.
The next exit along California 56 east is Exit 8, Rancho Penasquitos Boulevard. As the name implies, this exit serves the Rancho Penasquitos community. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Eastbound California 56 approaches Exit 8, Rancho Penasquitos Boulevard. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Continuing eastbound, another California 56 east reassurance shield is posted. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Eastbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway reaches Exit 8, Rancho Penasquitos Boulevard. To the east, Rancho Penasquitos Boulevard connects to Poway Road (San Diego County Route S-4) en route to the city of Poway. Photo taken 06/23/08.
The next exit along California 56 east is Exit 9, Junction Interstate 15. This is the final interchange along California 56 east. Photo taken 06/23/08.
The interchange between California 56 and Interstate 15 is not a freeway-to-freeway interchange. The interchange has two traffic signals, with the first ramp (right) connecting to Interstate 15 south and the second ramp (right) connecting to Interstate 15 north. The left two lanes will continue east onto Ted Williams Parkway. Photo taken 06/23/08.
An END FREEWAY sign is posted on California 56 east prior to Exit 9, Junction Interstate 15/Escondido Freeway. Photo taken 06/23/08.
A signal ahead sign is posted soon thereafter. All traffic should prepare to stop. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Only the right lane will connect to Interstate 15 south and north. Both movements require passing through traffic signals, so neither connection is freeway-to-freeway. Note the pull through sign of Ted Williams Parkway, which has the California 56 east shield covered by a green overlay. Photo taken 06/23/08.
A third sign advises that traffic to Interstate 15 south and north must use the right lane, and the left two lanes will continue east onto Ted Williams Parkway toward the city of Poway. Photo taken 06/23/08.
This sign is identical to the previous sign. It might be helpful to add a flashing beacon and the words "SIGNAL AHEAD" on a yellow background above these signs so that drivers at freeway speeds would slow down. Photo taken 06/23/08.
A lone bicyclist uses the California 56 bike lane. There is room southwest of the Interstate 15 and California 56 interchange to eventually create a freeway to freeway connector, but that does not exist currently. Photo taken 06/23/08.
The freeway ends. The next right turn connects to Interstate 15 south. Continue straight ahead for Ted Williams Parkway and Interstate 15 north. Photo taken 06/23/08.
At this traffic signal, eastbound California 56 connects to Interstate 15 south. Traffic merges onto California 56 from Interstate 15 south at this traffic signal as well. Photo taken 06/23/08.
An eight-lane bridge carries Ted Williams Parkway over Interstate 15. The bridge was expanded as part of the Interstate 15 Managed Lanes project in 2007. Photo taken 06/23/08.
At the second traffic signal is the loop ramp to Interstate 15 north. Ted Williams Parkway continues east toward Poway from this point, and California 56 comes to an end. There is no END shield present. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Ted Williams Parkway east
After the second traffic signal is an offramp to Sabre Springs Parkway and Rancho Carmel Drive. This interchange is maintained by the City of San Diego and provides access to the communities of Sabre Springs to the south and Carmel Mountain Ranch to the north. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Eastbound Ted Williams Parkway meets the offramp to Sabre Springs Parkway and Rancho Carmel Drive. Continue east on Ted Williams Parkway toward the city of Poway. Photo taken 06/23/08.
At the end of the offramp, turn left to Rancho Carmel Drive north to Carmel Mountain Ranch and turn right to Sabre Springs Parkway south to Sabre Springs. Photo taken 06/23/08.
Ted Williams Parkway west
We begin our westbound journey along Ted Williams Parkway after the Shoal Creek Road traffic signal. Although this section is not officially state highway, it carries three westbound lanes and has a 55 mile per hour speed limit. Due to the traffic signals at the Interstate 15 interchange, this section of highway is an expressway, not a freeway. Photo taken 05/29/08.
A blooming jacaranda tree serves as the backdrop for the advance sign prior to the offramp to Exit 9C, Rancho Carmel Drive north to the Carmel Mountain Ranch community of San Diego and Sabre Springs Parkway south to the Sabre Springs community of San Diego. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Reaching the offramp for Rancho Carmel Drive and Sabre Springs Parkway, the landscaped median comes to an end, and the right lane ends. The city of San Diego section of parkway ends after this interchange. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Crossing over Rancho Carmel Drive and Sabre Springs Parkway, the Interstate 15 and Ted Williams Parkway interchange comes into view. The westbound side reduces to two through lanes. Merge into the right lane for the connection to Interstate 15/Escondido Freeway north (Exit 9B). Photo taken 05/29/08.
Use Interstate 15 north to Rancho Bernardo, the city of Escondido, and all points north in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. A loop ramp ahead connects to Interstate 15 south. Photo taken 05/29/08.
California 56/Ted Williams Freeway west
California 56 and state maintenance begin at the Interstate 15 interchange. The traffic signal between Ted Williams Parkway and Interstate 15 is the only traffic signal on California 56. Turn right here to Interstate 15 north; continue straight ahead for Interstate 15 south. Photo taken 05/29/08.
A six-lane concrete bridge, replaced in 2007 due to the Interstate 15 managed lanes project, carries three lanes in each direction. The next ramp connects to Interstate 15 south to Mira Mesa, Mission Valley, and downtown San Diego. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Westbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway reaches Exit 9A, Junction Interstate 15 south. A pair of neutered freeway entrance shields guard the transition ramp. Photo taken 05/29/08.
A freeway entrance shield for Interstate 15 south is posted on California 56 west. As noted earlier, the route marker lacks the state name (is neutered). Photo taken 06/05/11.
Mainline California 56 west reduces to one through lane after the Interstate 15 south transition ramp. Two new lanes will merge onto the nascent freeway from Interstate 15 south. Photo taken 05/29/08.
The next three exits along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway west are: Exit 8, Rancho Peñasquitos Boulevard; Exit 7, Black Mountain Road; and Exit 6, Camino del Sur. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Rancho Peñasquitos Boulevard serves the community of Rancho Peñasquitos. Photo taken 05/29/08.
An exit number sign is posted for Exit 8, Rancho Peñasquitos Boulevard. This sign also mentions Carmel Mountain Road, which has paralleled California 56 since the Interstate 15 interchange. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Westbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway reaches Exit 8, Rancho Peñasquitos Boulevard. Photo taken 05/29/08.
The next three exits along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway west are: Exit 7, Black Mountain Road; Exit 6, Camino del Sur; and Exit 3, Carmel Valley Road. Photo taken 05/29/08.
The right two lanes of California 56/Ted Williams Freeway west connect to Exit 7, Black Mountain Road. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Use Black Mountain Road north to the Black Mountain Ranch community and south to Mira Mesa. Black Mountain Road ultimately ends at Carmel Valley Road several miles north of here; Carmel Valley aims northeast toward 4-S Ranch and Rancho Bernardo and southwest to Pacific Highlands Ranch and Carmel Valley. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Westbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway reaches Exit 7, Black Mountain Road. For several years (until April 2003), the freeway ended at this interchange. Photo taken 05/29/08.
The next three exits along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway west are: Exit 6, Camino del Sur; Exit 3, Carmel Valley Road; and Exit 2, Carmel Country Road. Photo taken 05/29/08.
A new soundwall was being installed to limit some freeway noise from impacting neighboring homes. Photo taken 05/29/08.
A tall eucalyptus tree dominates the view as California 56 descends toward the Camino del Sur interchange and McGonigle Canyon. The homes of the Park Village neighborhood line the south side of the freeway. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Once again, the westbound lanes widen out to three lanes. The right two lanes will connect to Exit 6, Camino del Sur to the Torrey Highlands community. Use Camino del Sur north to the communities of Black Mountain Ranch and Del Sur. The green overlay on this sign covers the name "Camino Ruiz," which is the original name of Camino del Sur. Once the Black Mountain Ranch community is built out, Camino del Sur will connect with Camino del Norte. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Westbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway reaches Exit 6, Camino del Sur. Eventually Camino del Sur will be extended south into Park Village, pending environmental approvals. This exit also briefly served as the end of the freeway (between April 2003 and July 2004). A celebration for the opening of the segment between Black Mountain Road and Camino del Sur was presented near this interchange. Called "Play Day 56," this public ribbon-cutting event celebrated the opening of the mile-long section of California 56 freeway on April 5, 2003. That section of the 56 opened to traffic on April 11, 2003. Photo taken 05/29/08.
A California 56 reassurance shield is posted after the onramp from Camino del Sur. This section of California 56 is the longest without exits for the entire length of the freeway. At the bridge, California 56 crosses over the McGonigle Canyon; the bridge over the canyon is taller and more impressive when seen from below than when seen from the top of the bridge. Photo taken 05/29/08.
A San Diego Gas and Electric power line crosses California 56/Ted Williams Freeway near the boundary between Torrey Highlands and Pacific Highlands Ranch communities. To the south of the freeway is undeveloped Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, which is part of an extensive open space park system owned by the City of San Diego. Photo taken 05/29/08.
The end of the California 56/Ted Williams Freeway is four miles ahead at the junction with Interstate 5 in Carmel Valley. Photo taken 05/29/08.
The next three exits along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway west are: Exit 3, Carmel Valley Road; Exit 2, Carmel Country Road; and Exit 1C, Carmel Creek Road. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Carmel Valley Road travels north into the Pacific Highlands Ranch community of the city of San Diego. The green panel overlay covers "Camino Santa Fe," which would be the continuation south of this interchange if it is ever built. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Westbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway reaches Exit 3, Carmel Valley Road. Photo taken 05/29/08.
The next three exits along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway west are: Exit 2, Carmel Country Road; Exit 1C, Carmel Creek Road; and Exit 1B, El Camino Real to Interstate 5 north. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Another California 56 shield is posted near the Carmel Valley Road interchange. Photo taken 05/29/08.
The concrete pavement changes to asphalt as California 56 passes by the location where California 56 used to transition directly onto Carmel Valley Road. The sound wall on the north side of the freeway partially blocks access to Old Carmel Valley Road, which used to serve as the direct connection from California 56 to Carmel Valley Road before the 56 gap between Exit 3 and Exit 6 was filled in July 2004. Photo taken 05/29/08.
A new right lane forms for the connection from California 56/Ted Williams Freeway west to Exit 2, Carmel Country Road. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Westbound California 56/Ted Williams Freeway reaches Exit 2, Carmel Country Road north to Carmel Valley and south to Carmel Country Highlands and Torrey Hills. Photo taken 05/29/08.
The next three exits along California 56/Ted Williams Freeway west are: Exit 1C, Carmel Creek Road; Exit 1B, El Camino Real to Interstate 5 north; and Exit 1A, Junction Interstate 5 south to downtown San Diego and Mexico. Photo taken 05/29/08.
The right lane of California 56 west becomes exit only for Exit 1C, Carmel Creek Road. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Prior to the Carmel Creek Road offramp, this set of signs advises that the connection to Interstate 5 north is currently afforded via the El Camino Real offramp (Exit 1B). Photo taken 05/29/08.
Carmel Creek Road travels north into the community of Carmel Valley. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Westbound California 56 reaches Exit 1C, Carmel Creek Road. Unlike eastbound, there is no collector-distributor lane used for the westbound ramps onto Carmel Creek Road. Photo taken 05/29/08.
The next exit along California 56 west is Exit 1B, El Camino Real to West Carmel Valley Road and Interstate 5 north. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Passing under Carmel Creek Road, westbound California 56 approaches Exit 1B, El Camino Real and Carmel Valley Road west to Interstate 5 north and Exit 1A, Junction Interstate 5 south. Photo taken 05/29/08.
This new sign bridge was posted with the completion of the southbound Local Bypass for Interstate 5 in 2007. A ramp metering signal is activated when traffic warrants for the connection from California 56 west to Interstate 5 south. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Westbound California 56 reaches Exit 1B, El Camino Real and Carmel Valley Road west to Interstate 5 north. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Traffic from California 56 must depart the freeway and shift onto westbound Carmel Valley Road to connect to Interstate 5 north. Turn left to follow El Camino Real south to Torrey Hills and north to Carmel Valley. Continue straight ahead on Carmel Valley Road to Del Mar Terrace and the city of Del Mar. Carmel Valley Road ultimately ends at U.S. 101/Camino del Mar. Photos taken 05/29/08 and 03/26/10.
Carmel Valley Road west
After the El Camino Real intersection, an overhead sign announces the junction with Interstate 5. The first right (after the Old El Camino Real intersection) connects to Interstate 5 north, and the first left connects to Interstate south. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Westbound Carmel Valley Road connects to Interstate 5 north at this traffic signal. For now, this is the only connection from westbound California 56 onto northbound Interstate 5. A direct connection is planned, but it is unfunded and is locally controversial at this time. Generally speaking, residents on the west side of the freeway are not pleased at the prospect of losing several homes, while residents on the east side of the interchange want less traffic congestion through this section of Carmel Valley. Developers also want the connection completed so that several constrained properties (including several in Pacific Highlands Ranch) can be developed into houses. Photo taken 05/29/08.
After this traffic signal, the next left connects to Interstate 5 south. Continue straight ahead into the Del Mar Terraces neighborhood of San Diego, with a view of Los Peñasquitos Lagoon on the south side of Carmel Valley Road. Photo taken 05/29/08.
Scenes Pertaining to California 56
For much of the route between Carmel Valley Road (Exit 3) and Interstate 15, a bike path closely follows California 56. Entrances to the bike path are located at major intersecting roads, including this entrance at Salmon River Road looking west. A survey marker designates the freeway as the property of the state highway department and lists construction as occurring in 1992 (at least at this location). Photos taken 03/26/10.
Northbound Penasquitos Boulevard approaches its junction with California 56/Ted Williams Parkway. The first left connects to California 56 east via a loop ramp, and the second left links to California 56 west. Photos taken 03/26/10.
This California 56 freeway entrance shield assembly is located on Black Mountain Road near the overpass. The second picture provides a close-up of the shield. Photos taken 06/22/02.
On July 17, 2004, local residents and politicians gathered to celebrate the opening of California 56/Ted Williams Freeway through Carmel Valley to Rancho Peñasquitos. A band performed and local girls were crowned in honor of the newest addition to the freeway network. An information kiosk provided aerials showing the corridor under construction prior to the completion of the freeway. This series of photos shows some of the events of the day that the last link of California 56 was opened. Photos taken 07/17/04.
Bicyclists were allowed to explore the three-mile section between Camino del Sur and Carmel Valley Road. One of the longer bridges on the middle link of California 56 is the McGonigle Canyon overpass. Photos taken 07/17/04.
This series of photos follows the bicyclists as they travel west on California 56 toward the Carmel Valley Road interchange. The median is now full of oleander and other plants, and the concrete is not so white. Photos taken 07/17/04.
California 56 crosses over Gonzales Canyon, which is a finger canyon leading north from Los Peñasquitos Canyon. Four bridges carry traffic over the canyon, two for each direction of traffic as well as two for each onramp/offramp from California 56 connecting with Carmel Valley Road (Exit 3). The first three photos are taken westbound; the second group of three are taken eastbound. Photos taken 07/17/04.
City of San Diego police and the California Highway Patrol ensured that bicyclists and pedestrians not continue west on California 56, as the rest of the freeway west of here was open on this day and not open for previewing. Photo taken 07/17/04.
This series of photos follows the bicyclists as they travel east on California 56 from the Carmel Valley Road interchange under the Rancho Santa Fe Farms Road overpass en route to Camino del Sur. Photos taken 07/17/04.

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Page Updated June 25, 2011.