California 252


History

Proposed (now decommissioned) California 252 was slated to be the Southcrest (El Toyon) Freeway. This freeway was planned to run from the Interstate 5 and Interstate 15 interchange complex southeast to Interstate 5 at the current 43rd Street exit. The huge flyover and approach ramps at the Interstate 805 43rd Street exit are the beginnings of this planned freeway, which was nixed in 1980. A redevelopment project later resulted in an Albertson's (originally Lucky's) grocery store at the terminus of the off-ramp. Behind this shopping area lies abandoned right-of-way that not been developed. Overgrown with weeds, this swath of land clearly shows the path California 252 would have taken across the Southcrest community to meet Interstate 5. A park and other redevelopment is underway along this corridor. At the Interstate 5/California 15 interchange, several widened bridges and ramps clearly show that future expansion for the California 252 connection was envisioned.

California 252 was planned to handle an average of 90,000 vehicles per day. Commuters from the communities of Eastlake, Bonita, and Paradise Hills now must use either California 54 or California 94 to make their commute to downtown without using urban streets. This, in turn, has impacted the traffic flow on both Interstates 5 and 805. The California 252 ramps on Interstate 805 were built around 1974-75, long before the rest of the California 252 project would have been started. When they finally got around to starting it, there was a lot of community opposition. It was supposed to act as the north end of an Interstate 5 bypass around National City and Chula Vista, utilizing Interstate 805. But the area already had quite a few freeways, and the community felt that it was being cut up into pieces. There was an alternate plan of a surface street called Martin Luther King Blvd, and also talk of tunneling. But in the end Caltrans relented and canceled the project. So, you end up with gigantic ramps (some refer to these as "Ramps to Nowhere") for a simple 43rd Street interchange from Interstate 805.

For more information and pictures, please visit Casey Cooper's California 252 Page and Cameron Kaiser's El Toyon Freeway/California 252.

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Page Updated June 17, 2007.

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