California 905

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California 905

An END California 905 route marker is posted on westbound California 905 on the offramp to Exit 1B, which connects to Tocayo Avenue west and Oro Vista Road north. Photo taken 02/21/11.

Routing

California 905 is the east-west connector between Interstate 5 near San Ysidro and the Otay Mesa Port of Entry (POE), with a connection to Interstate 805, Otay Mesa, and Brown Field. The full California 905 freeway opened to traffic on July 30, 2012.

History

A state highway that was in transition through the 1990s and 2000s as segments of freeway were funded and constructed on Otay mesa, California 905 completed its dramatic conversion to a freeway with the final segment opening on July 30, 2012. A complete freeway corridor now exists from Interstate 5 to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry (border crossing with Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico).

Prior to 1999, California 905 existed in two parts -- one between Interstate 5 and about a half mile east of Interstate 805 and a second north-south segment between Otay Mesa Road and the International Border. Around 2000, the state took over Otay Mesa Road, linking California 905 into a unified route. In 2005, an interchange was built at California 905 and Siempre Viva Road, making the north-south segment of state route (Camino Internacional) into a freeway. In 2010, the freeway was extended from Siempre Viva Road west to Brittania Boulevard. The final segment to link Brittania Boulevard with Interstate 805 opened in July 2012.

California 905 can be divided into five segments:

  • Segment One - The unconstructed section between the International Border near Border Field State Park - this segment passes through some environmentally sensitive areas and will likely never be constructed.
  • Segment Two - Between the Interstate 5/California 905 junction and one-half mile east of the Interstate 805/California 905 junction.
  • Segment Three - The last segment of freeway to open (in July 2012), this segment connects Interstate 805 with Brittania Boulevard. The expressway segment was bypassed with this newest freeway opening.
  • Segment Four - The third freeway section opened (in November 2010), this segment connects Brittania Boulevard with Segment Five near Airway Road with links to California 125 planned in the future. This segment does not include a direct link from California 905 to California 125 (local roads must be used for this connection until funds are identified to complete the link).
  • Segment Five - The second freeway section built (between 2005 and 2008 including the Siempre Viva Road interchange), this segment connects California 125 and the Otay Mesa border crossing and Port of Entry.

For information on the progress of constructing the middle segment of 905 freeway and improving the freeway linkages, visit San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) or Caltrans District XI. Both agencies have California State Route 905 information.

The following list provides a chronological history of California 905:

  • 1975 - California 117 freeway under construction between Interstate 5 and Interstate 805. Plans call for the freeway to continue eastward to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.
  • 1984 - California 905 commissioned to replace California 117, which was previously part of California 75. Designation is changed to reflect future plans to add California 905 into the Interstate Highway System. Since Otay Mesa Road between I-805 and the future California 11-125 interchange is not maintained by Caltrans, this section is not signed as California 905.
  • 1997-1999 - The City of San Diego widens the existing Otay Mesa Road as a stop-gap measure until the full freeway is built parallel to and south of Otay Mesa Road. After this construction is completed, Otay Mesa Road will be maintained by the state until after the freeway is constructed in the new century.
  • 1998 - California 905 included in federal High Priority Corridor 30 in the hopes the designation would bring additional funding for the upgraded border crossing and freeway.
  • 1999 - Initial Environmental Impact Reports were completed for the future 905 freeway; final documents were completed five years later.
  • Spring 2000 - Work is completed on interim, temporary California 905 expressway along Otay Mesa Road between Old Otay Mesa Road just east of Interstate 805 to the future California 11-125 freeway interchange. This new expressway is built to Caltrans standards, with six lanes, Botts Dots, standard signage, and a special fence-like median strip to prevent pedestrians from attempting to cross the highway. Signalized intersections with protected left turns are installed at Heritage/Otay Valley Road, Cactus Road, Britannia Boulevard, Alisa Court, La Media Road, and Otay Mesa Road near the future California 125 interchange/connector. Planning continues for a permanent Interstate 905 freeway south but parallel to the existing California 905 expressway. Traffic continues to escalate as all trucks must use the Otay Mesa Border Crossing. The freeway segment is planned to begin between 2000 and 2004, according to the 2000 SANDAG Regional Transportation Plan.
  • September 2004 - Final Environmental Impact Statement approved for the remainder of the freeway construction project.
  • Spring 2005 - The California 905 interchange with Siempre Viva Road was completed and opened to traffic.
  • 2006 - the total project cost to complete California 905 is $670 million; of this amount, $348 million was identified by early 2008.
  • 2007 - Due to funding shortfalls, the project to finish California 905 is divided into two phases: Phase 1A is the eastern segment of 905 from Siempre Viva Road to Britannia Boulevard, and Phase 1B is the western segment from Britannia Boulevard to just east of Interstate 805.
  • January 2008 - Construction began on Phase 1A, from Siempre Viva Road to Britannia Boulevard.
  • November 10, 2010 - Completion of Phase 1A with a grand opening ceremony.1 Phase 1B construction is underway, with anticipated completion of this phase in July 2012.2, 3
  • July 30, 2012 - As scheduled, Phase 1B is completed, and the final link of California 905 between Interstate 805 and Brittania Boulevard opens to traffic.7 Along with improvements to the Interstate 805-California 905 interchange, the final two phases will be improvements to the Heritage Road and California 125 interchanges at a cost of approximately $163 million.

Guide

Prior to Spring 2000, California 905 existed in two segments. One was the freeway segment between Interstate 5/Tocayo Road and 1/2 mile east of Interstate 805, and the other was the multi-lane conventional highway between the then-future California 125 interchange and the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. During that time, the City of San Diego maintained Otay Mesa Road between the two segments of state highway.

In an agreement inked between the City of San Diego and Caltrans from 1998, the City paid to upgrade Otay Mesa Road to six lanes with turning lanes by the end of 1999, and Caltrans would maintain the road as a temporary state facility until the California 905 freeway is built. Construction was completed in early 2000, and signs for California 905 were erected shortly thereafter.

Planning continues for the future California 905 freeway between one-half mile east of Interstate 805 and the future California 11-125 junction. Plans call for a six-lane freeway that will remove international truck and vacation traffic from Otay Mesa Road. Early estimates indicate that this road will cost $220 million, but they were raised to $255 million in 2000. Plans called for project to begin prior to 2004, but the lack of funding slowed progress. SANDAG forecasts call for an average of 70,000 to 100,000 vehicles to use the road per day once it is built.

Once the California 905 freeway is constructed, it will be redesignated as Interstate 905, per an agreement between the FHWA, Caltrans, and SANDAG.4, 5 California 905 was approved as Interstate mileage in 1984, but it will be signed as an Interstate highway after the freeway is complete. Otay Mesa Road, which is currently serving as the temporary alignment of California 905, will be returned to city of San Diego control once the freeway is complete.6

Planned Improvements

With the opening of Segments 3 and 4, the following improvements are proposed for the corridor as defined by Caltrans:2

  1. Phase 2 - Improvements to the Interstate 805/California 905 Interchange
  2. Phase 3 - Construct California 125/California 905 direct access/freeway-to-freeway interchange
  3. Phase 4 - Construct Interchange at Heritage Road

While Phases 1A and 1B are fully funded, Phases 2, 3, and 4 remain partially funded or unfunded. Additional funds will be sought to improve the California 905 freeway corridor.

The Temporary Solution to Filling the California 905 Gap

The controversy surrounding California 905 is the completion of the missing freeway link of Segments Three and Four. City of San Diego officials constructed the interim expressway as a temporary fix to close the gap (until the final freeway alignment opened in July 2012). The original Otay Mesa Road was an under-developed City street that became California's busiest trade route with Mexico. People wanted Otay Mesa Road upgraded to expressway or freeway status for several reasons:

  • The road was designed for a maximum of 35,000 vehicles a day, but traffic often exceeds 50,000 vehicles.
  • From 1990 until around 1998, 25 people had been killed and 350 others injured on the five-mile eastern stretch of Otay Mesa Road that runs just south of the Brown Field cargo airport and across rolling hills, between Interstate 805 and the Mexican border.
  • The Federal Government opened the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, approved the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and shifted all cross-border truck traffic onto the road in a span of fifteen years. Prior to these actions, Otay Mesa Road only handled 4,300 vehicles per day.

As a short-term solution (in lieu of a full freeway), the City of San Diego and Caltrans appropriated $17 million in Fiscal Year 1998 to widen Otay Mesa Road to three lanes each way, add a concrete median, and widen the shoulders. This was approved in December of 1994. The City and Caltrans hoped to begin work immediately thereafter (in 1995), but an Environmental Impact Study was required. Construction did not begin until August 1997, and it was delayed at several points. It was completed by late 1999/early 2000.

By 2015, it had been expected that the widened and improved California 905/Otay Mesa Road expressway would be inadequate for the demands placed on that road, so Caltrans constructed a parallel freeway-grade road that opened to traffic on July 30, 2012. Otay Mesa Road, meanwhile, will remain in the state highway system until the city of San Diego is ready to accept the roadway.

Reasons to Build the California 905 Freeway

Funds to build the future California 905 freeway (Segments Three and Four) were secured in the late 2000s. This allows a new freeway to be built parallel to the existing Otay Mesa Road and provide six- to eight-lanes of traffic between Interstate 805 and California 125. In August 1997, U.S. Representative (Pa.) Bud Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, visited the border region and pledged to help secure money to complete the California 905 freeway. Route 905 was listed as a High Priority Corridor in BESTEA, the House-approved ISTEA Reauthorization bill, and it was finally added to the final TEA-21 bill signed into law in 1998.

Funding for the California 905 freeway has been difficult to obtain. In the mid-1990s, state and federal officials weren't even sure whether to build a $130 million four-lane expressway or a $255 million six-lane freeway (figures as of 2000 SANDAG Regional Transportation Plan). The feasibility study and Major Investment Study for the 905 freeway was completed in spring 1998, and the Environmental Impact Study was made public in 1999. Upon completion, California 905 will be designated as Interstate 905, as part of an obligation that is included in an agreement between the FHWA and the State of California.

However, decisions have since been made that have already completed the expressway, and a freeway plan has been approved for four key reasons:

  • Otay Mesa Port of Entry (POE). The only border crossing trucks may use in southwestern San Diego County is the Otay Mesa crossing. The San Ysidro (Interstate 5/805) POE prohibits trucks. There are signs telling truckers to take California 905 to cross the border. Otay Mesa Road's congestion is caused by a higher than expected accident rate as a result of trucks having to use the Otay Mesa POE to enter and exit Mexico. Compounding the problem is the relatively high rate of trucks (16% is considered high for a city street). The increased truck traffic on an inadequate road impedes border access. California 905 will also connect to California 11, the future toll road that will link to a second border crossing on Otay Mesa.
  • Industrial Area. Otay Mesa is a primarily industrial area. Widening Otay Mesa Road to six lanes is a temporary solution with short-term relief. A full freeway is needed to handle maquiladora traffic and increased commercial activity projected in the Otay Mesa area. Right across the border, Mexican maquiladoras are churning out all kinds of products that are shipped to the U.S. and other countries. Currently the trucks serving those factories must use the Otay Mesa POE or go to the Tecate (California 188) or Calexico (California 7) crossings via the Mexican 2-D Cuota (Toll Road). Mexico Route 2-D is the Mexican toll road that parallels the border between Tijuana and Mexicali. It is the Mexican equivalent of Interstate 8, except Interstate 8 is free of tolls.
  • NAFTA. Officials expect a sharp increase in truck traffic due to the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. They see commerce between the two countries increasing dramatically "as the barriers come down." Average daily traffic is currently 44,000 vehicles per day; it is expected to rise to 68,000 by 2020. Border crossings at Otay Mesa are expected to triple during that period, to 85,000 crossings in 2005 and 230,000 crossings in 2020.
  • Brown Field. The Brown Field airport is located along Route 905 just west of the Otay Mesa POE. This is important because the airport is being expanded, with plans to dramatically increase its cargo load. As Lindbergh Field (San Diego International Airport) gets busier and busier, Brown Field has picked up a lot of the slack. Many seem to think that Otay Mesa would be a great place to build a replacement airport should planners decide Lindbergh is not big enough to accommodate the increasing passenger air traffic. This idea of a border-area airport is not new. "TwinPorts," a proposal that proposed a major binational airport with around 400 passenger flights a day, was advocated in the 1980s, but the Brown Field proposal does not include additional passenger flights.

California 905 is considered necessary both for a current safety need and also for a future transportation need. It is part of an intermodal plan for the border region -- the planned San Diego and Imperial Valley Railroad (SD&IV) is supposed to have a link directly to the Otay Mesa area, including Brown Field. Some local officials have called for cross-border connections to Tijuana's General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport. California 11, a planned toll road that would connect to a second Otay Mesa Port of Entry and to the Tijuana 2000 beltway, would add to the multimodal nature of this major transportation hub.

California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway east
After the Oro Vista Road intersection is this BEGIN California 905 east shield assembly. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Stay right for the connection from California 905 to Interstate 5 south and north (Exits 0A-B). Photo taken 06/21/09.
Another California 905 east trailblazer route marker assembly is posted between the Interstate 5 south transition ramp and the Interstate 5 north transition ramp. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Eastbound California 905 begins its freeway configuration. The first offramp connects to Interstate 5 south, followed by a loop ramp to Interstate 5 north. Photo taken 08/21/04.
Eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway reaches Exit 0B, Junction Interstate 5 north to Chula Vista, National City, San Diego, and points north. The pull-through sign, which should say "California 905 east," instead reads "Otay Mesa Road." Photo taken 08/21/04.
A pair of freeway entrance shields flank the transition ramp to Interstate 5 north. Photo taken 08/21/04.
The first standalone exit along California 905 east after the Interstate 5 interchange is Exit 1, Beyer Boulevard. Beyer Boulevard, which parallels Interstate 5, is the original alignment of U.S. 101 through the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa-Nestor communities in south San Diego. After this sign, traffic from Interstate 5 south merges onto California 905 east (the connecting ramp from Interstate 5 south to California 905 is shown in the next photobox). Photo taken 08/21/04.
Now we back up and look at the transition from Interstate 5/Montgomery Freeway south to California 905 east, this view shows the beginnings of this east-west freeway. At the bottom of the hill, traffic from Tocayo Avenue east and Interstate 5 north (see previous photobox) merge onto the freeway from the right. Photo taken 02/21/11.
An exit number guide sign is posted along California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway east as we approach Exit 1, Beyer Boulevard. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The truck border crossing is nine miles east of here. Follow California 905 east to La Media Road south to the truck crossing queue. Photo taken 08/21/04.
Eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway reaches Exit 1, Beyer Boulevard. The next exit is Exit 2A, Picador Boulevard/Smythe Avenue. Photo taken 08/21/04.
This mileage sign provides the distance to the next two exits along California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway east: Exit 2A, Picador Boulevard/Smythe Avenue and Exit 2B, Junction Interstate 805/Dekema (Inland) Freeway. Photo taken 08/21/04.
An exit number guide sign is posted in the median for the interchange with Picador Boulevard and Smythe Avenue (Exit 2A). Photo taken 02/21/11.
This large, yellow caution sign warns motorists of possible pedestrians on the freeway. Found only near the international border (and for a time near the Interstate 5 Border Patrol Checkpoint near San Onofre), this sign has achieved some level of infamy due to the implication that the pedestrians crossing here are immigrants or illegal immigrants. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Eastbound California 905 reaches Exit 2A, Picador Boulevard/Smythe Avenue. Near this interchange are the "Cuidado" (Warning) signs for pedestrians running across the freeway. Similar signs are placed on Interstate 5 near the San Ysidro Port of Entry as well as at the Border Patrol Checkpoint within Camp Pendleton between the Las Pulgas Road and Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Road exits near San Onofre. Because of their popularity, these yellow signs are frequently the target of theft. Photo taken 08/21/04.
The next exit along California 905 east is Exit 2B, Junction Interstate 805/Inland Freeway. Use Interstate 805 north to Chula Vista, Bonita, National City, and the city of San Diego communities of City Heights, Mission Valley, Serra Mesa, Clairemont, University City, and Sorrento Valley. Photo taken 08/21/04.
Eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway reaches Exit 2B, Junction Interstate 805. Photo taken 08/21/04.
A "RAMP" gore point sign signifies the transition from California 905 to Interstate 805. This was replaced with an exit number gore point sign. Photos taken 02/21/11 and 08/21/04.
The transition ramp splits, with the right lane departing for Interstate 805 south to San Ysidro and the international border crossing with Mexico. Continue straight ahead to Interstate 805 north to eastern Chula Vista, National City, and San Diego. Photo taken 08/21/04.
Back on the mainline, eastbound California 905 passes over the Interstate 805 freeway and under a transition ramp from Interstate 805 south to California 905 east. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Traffic from Interstate 805 south/north merges onto California 905 east as we ascend this hill onto Otay Mesa. Photo taken 02/21/11.
After the Interstate 805 interchange and on the hill leading up to Otay Mesa, this sign advises that the Otay Mesa Port of Entry and truck crossing is seven miles east of here. Due to the lack of truck facilities at the Interstate 5 San Ysidro Border Crossing, truck traffic on California 905 is very high. Photo taken 12/03/06.
An older California 905 east reassurance shield is posted shortly thereafter. Photo taken 12/03/06.
Currently, the Otay Mesa Freeway ends in one-half mile. An ongoing freeway construction project will see completion of the California 905 freeway in Photo taken 12/03/06.
The speed limit on California 905 east reduces to 50 miles per hour as the freeway ascends Otay Mesa. The next traffic signal is with Otay Mesa Road, which travels southwest toward San Ysidro. Photo taken 12/03/06.
California 905/Otay Mesa Road east
Continuing east after the Otay Mesa Road intersection, eastbound California 905 widens to three lanes in each direction and has traffic signals at approximately one-half mile increments. This expressway can be very dangerous due to high truck volume and sudden stops. Watch for pedestrians and stopped vehicles. A chain link fence serves as the initial median barrier. Photo taken 12/03/06.
At the top of the hill is a right turnoff for Old Otay Mesa Road, which travels south and then west to the Princess Park and Remington Hills subdivisions. Access to this road is only available from California 905 east. When California 905's freeway is built, the plan is to run it onto a new alignment from around this point east to the California 125 interchange. The new freeway will parallel existing Otay Mesa Road on an alignment about a quarter mile south. Photo taken 08/21/04.
The first traffic signal on California 905/Otay Mesa Road east is with Caliente Avenue south and Ocean View Hills Parkway north. At the time this picture was taken, there was no access onto Ocean View Hills Parkway, but that connection opened in 2007 and now serves the Ocean View Hills neighborhood north of the highway. Turn right onto Caliente Avenue south to San Ysidro High School. Further development is planned south of here, and Caliente Avenue will serve as a connection to that new development as it is built. Photo taken 08/21/04.
Eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Road meets Caliente Avenue south and Ocean View Hills Parkway north. Photos taken 02/21/11 and 08/21/04.
The next traffic signal on California 905/Otay Mesa Road east is with Corporate Center Drive, which serves several business parks north of the highway. Photo taken 08/21/04.
Eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Road approaches Heritage Road. Use Heritage Road south to business park areas and north to Otay Valley Road en route to the city of Chula Vista (Otay Valley Regional Park, amphitheater, and water slide park). Photo taken 08/21/04.
Eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Road meets Heritage Road. Photo taken 08/21/04.
The next traffic signal on California 905/Otay Mesa Road east is with Cactus Road south and Balchen Way north. Cactus Road, like other nearby business parks, serves the maquiladora facilities that have ties to manufacturing operations in Mexico. Photo taken 08/21/04.
Eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Road meets Cactus Road at this traffic signal. Brown Field and its sprawling runway comes into view on the north side of Otay Mesa Road. With the completion of the California 905 freeway between Airway Road and Brittania Boulevard, a new sign was added to advise motorists on California 905 east to turn right (south) on Brittania Boulevard. Photos taken 08/21/04 and 02/21/11.
Even though we are traveling due east, a "South California 905" shield was posted along Otay Mesa Road after the Cactus Road intersection. This was later corrected to "east." Photo taken 08/21/04.
The next traffic signal on California 905/Otay Mesa Road east is with Britannia Boulevard. At this point, California 905 temporarily turns south on Brittania Boulevard to join the new freeway alignment. Otay Mesa Road continues as the former alignment of California 905. Continue forward for the link to California 125/South Bay Expressway north. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Road meets Britannia Boulevard. California 905 temporarily turns right (south) here; prior to November 2010, it continued straight ahead (see below for photos of the old alignment). Photo taken 08/21/04.
Temporary California 905 east/Brittania Boulevard south
Now traveling south on Brittania Boulevard, the next left connects California 905 to the new Otay Mesa Freeway. This temporary alignment will be in place until 2012, when the remaining freeway segment opens to traffic. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Brittania Boulevard passes over the future California 905 freeway, set to open in 2012. Photo taken 02/21/11.
This view looks east along the future alignment of California 905 as seen from the Brittania Boulevard overpass. Photo taken 02/21/11.
California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway east
Leaving the Brittania Boulevard interchange, we see this California 905 east reassurance shield. Photo taken 02/21/11.
All trucks entering Mexico must enter via La Media Road, which connects to a southbound truck inspection station. Trucks may not enter Mexico via California 905. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The right two lanes of California 905 east connect to Exit 7, La Media Road. The final exit from California 905 east is Exit 9, Siempre Viva Road. Through traffic will continue across the international border into Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway reaches Exit 7, La Media Road. Since the direct, freeway-to-freeway interchange with Toll California 125/South Bay Expressway is incomplete, access to California 125 is afforded via La Media Road north to Otay Mesa Road (Former California 905) east. California 125 travels north to Chula Vista, Spring Valley, La Mesa, El Cajon, and Santee. Photo taken 02/21/11.
California 905 carries three eastbound lanes between La Media Road and Siempre Viva Road. The freeway continues east for another half-mile or so, then turns south toward the international border. Photo taken 02/21/11.
This sign bridge has room on the right side (note the lights on the overhead sign bridge with no sign and the concrete paving on the right shoulder) that suggest this will be the point where a future ramp will connect eastbound California 905 to northbound California 125. This connection will be Exit 8 once constructed. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Another California 905 east reassurance shield is posted soon thereafter. The next and final exit is Exit 9, Siempre Viva Road (as noted in the sign bridge shown in the prior photobox). Photo taken 02/21/11.
Guns and ammunition are illegal in Mexico. Variations of this sign are also posted on southbound Interstate 5 and Interstate 805 in advance of the San Ysidro border crossing. Photo taken 02/21/11.
California 905 gently curves from east to south. Photo taken 02/21/11.
An export license is required to export firearms. Photo taken 02/21/11.
All trucks must exit at Siempre Viva Road (Exit 9) ... trucks are not permitted to cross into Mexico directly via California 905's main lanes. Ahead, California 905 passes over Airway Road (no connection). Photo taken 02/21/11.
Eastbound California 905/Paseo Internacional meets Exit 9, Siempre Viva Road. This is the final exit within the United States, although a final U-turn is available just prior to Port of Entry. Photo taken 07/12/09.
Upon exiting, the ramp from California 905/Paseo Internacional south offers a connection to Siempre Viva Road west (first ramp) and east (second ramp). Photo taken 07/12/09.
Southbound California 905/Paseo Internacional passes under Siempre Viva Road and prepares to enter the port of entry associated with the International Border between the United States and Mexico. Photo taken 07/12/09.
Back to modern times, after passing under the Siempre Viva Road overpass, southbound California 905 approaches the International Border. Photo taken 07/12/09.
The California 905 freeway ends as we approach the International Border. There is no END shield assembly present. Photo taken 07/12/09.
A final U-turn is offered for motorists before the entrance into the federal port of entry which allows crossing the international border into Mexico. This U-Turn is still in place even after the freeway interchange was built. Photo taken 08/21/04.
At the final U-turn, Caltrans maintenance ends, yet there is no END shield for California 905. Upon crossing into Mexico, motorists enter the city of Tijuana. With a population of 1,483,992 (estimate as of 2009), the city of Tijuana ("ˇTienes que Vivirla!" - "You Have to Live It!") has more people living in it than the neighboring city of San Diego. Tijuana was founded and established on July 11, 1889. The economy has grown tremendously as a result of tourism, maquiladoras, manufacturing, NAFTA-related trade, and migration to areas close to the U.S.-Mexico border. For travelers on California 905 south: Once in Tijuana, motorists can follow the signs to Tijuana International Airport (Rodriguez Field), downtown Tijuana, the Tijuana Beltway (Tijuana Dos Mil or Tijuana 2000), the Scenic Coast Highway (Mexico Federal Route 1) south to Rosarito and Ensenada, and Mexico Federal Route 2 east to Tecate and Mexicali. Photo taken 08/21/04.
Former California 905/Otay Mesa Road east
Another California 905 south reassurance shield is posted on eastbound Otay Mesa Road after the Britannia Boulevard intersection. Photo taken 08/21/04.
The next traffic signal on California 905/Otay Mesa Road east is with Gailes Boulevard. Photo taken 08/21/04.
With Otay Mountain serving as the dramatic background, a median sign for Aisla Boulevard is posted on eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Road. Photo taken 08/21/04.
After passing by Ocean View Hills and Brown Field Municipal Airport, eastbound California 905 approaches Otay Mesa Center Road. Photo taken 12/03/06.
All trucks with cargo entering Mexican must use Otay Mesa Road (California 905) east to La Media Road south. Photo taken 12/03/06.
A second sign for trucks is posted after Otay Mesa Center Road. All trucks crossing the international border must use La Media Road south. Photo taken 08/21/04.
A long queue is provided in the number four lane for trucks turning onto La Media Road south along eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Road. Photo taken 08/21/04.
Eastbound California 905/Otay Mesa Road meets La Media Road at this traffic signal. Turn right at this traffic signal to the truck port of entry to Mexico. Photo taken 12/03/06.
A guide sign advises of the pending junction between California 905 and the South Bay Expressway (Toll California 125). California 125 forms an outer beltway of the San Diego region by traveling from the Otay Mesa area north through Chula Vista, Bonita, Spring Valley, La Mesa, El Cajon, and Santee, ending at its junction with California 52. Photo taken 07/12/09.
About a half-mile east of La Media Road, California 905 meets Piper Ranch Road at this traffic signal. To the headquarters of the South Bay Expressway (Toll California 125), turn left at this signal. Photo taken 12/03/06.
The next traffic signal is the southern end of the southbound lanes of California 125. Traffic for California 125 north should merge left. Photo taken 07/12/09.
A dedicated left turn lane forms for the connection to California 125 north. Photo taken 07/12/09.
With the completion of California 125/South Bay Expressway, California 905 was realigned to turn southeast at this point, just east of Piper Ranch Road. Stay left to connect to California 125 north to Spring Valley, La Mesa, El Cajon, and Santee. Through traffic on 905 may either curve right here OR continue straight past the California 125 traffic signals. Photo taken 07/12/09.
Eastbound California 905 meets California 125/South Bay Expressway at this traffic signal. This intersection will change again once California 125 is extended to connect to the future California 905 freeway (to be on new alignment). At the time the 2006 photo was taken, the temporary intersection between California 905 and California 125 was still under construction. By December 2007, this intersection was fully functional and now looks much different than shown here. The 2009 photo shows the most recent configuration. Photos taken 07/12/09 and 12/03/06.
Turn left here for California 125 north. Photo taken 07/12/09.
After the California 125 north turnoff, traffic wishing to return to California 905 east may turn right ahead. Photo taken 07/12/09.
A second trailblazer shield for California 905 east is posted at the traffic signal. Continue straight for Otay Mesa Road to the prison complex; turn right to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry and International Border with Mexico. Photo taken 07/12/09.
Prior to completion of the California 125/South Bay Expressway toll road, this sign advised of destinations along Otay Mesa Road east toward the R.J. Donovan State Prison. Photo taken 08/21/04.
A California 905 south reassurance shield is posted after the intersection with California 125/South Bay Expressway and prior to the Otay Mesa Road split. Photo taken 12/03/06.
As California 905 turns south, Otay Mesa Road turns east toward the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility and George Bailey Detention Center. Continue straight ahead to Siempre Viva Road and Otay Mesa Port of Entry. Photos taken 08/21/04 and 12/03/06.
Former California 905/Paseo Internacional south
Between California 125 and the international border with Mexico, California 905 is known as Paseo Internacional and travels due south toward the port of entry. This sign advising of construction was posted south of the Otay Mesa Road intersection. The freeway segment through the Otay International development was completed in 2004-2005. Photo taken 08/21/04.
A California 905 south reassurance shield is posted on the transition ramp that avoids the California 125 signalized intersection. At least now the state highway is indeed traveling south. However, by 2009 the shield was replaced and the cardinal direction corrected to "EAST." Photos taken 07/12/09 and 08/21/04.
Southbound California 905 approaches an intersection with Airway Road; this intersection was closed due to freeway construction in 2009. Around this point, the Otay Mesa Freeway will eventually tie into California 905's existing alignment and then connect with the completed freeway segment from here south to the international border port of entry. A roadside sign advises of the pending border crossing. All trucks must exit onto Siempre Viva Road west; only passenger vehicles may use California 905 south to cross into Mexico. Photos taken 08/21/04 and 07/12/09.
After Airway Road, California 905 assumes freeway characteristics for the final mile before entering Mexico. This sign warns that guns and ammunition are illegal in Mexico, and possession of same may result in severe penalties and incarceration. South of Airway Road, the California 905 freeway directly overlays the old alignment of Paseo Internacional. Photo taken 08/21/04.
This series of photos shows the Siempre Viva Road interchange while under construction. Rampwork and bridgework were evident these 2004 photos; the bridge and exit for Siempre Viva Road were completed by 2005. Photo taken 08/21/04.
After the interchange, southbound California 905 used to meet Siempre Viva Road at this traffic signal. This signal was removed in 2005 with the completion of the short freeway segment here. Photo taken 08/21/04.
Southbound California 905 used to meet Siempre Viva Road at this traffic signal; now it is gone and replaced by the interchange. Photo taken 08/21/04.

California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway west
Leaving the port of entry, the first exit along California 905 west is Exit 9, Siempre Viva Road. Photo taken 07/12/09.
Passing under Siempre Viva Road, a "Welcome to California" sign is posted after the Siempre Viva Road offramp. Photo taken 07/12/09.
After traffic from Siempre Viva Road joins the California 905 freeway, a set of signs advises of the next two exits: Exit 8, Junction California 125/South Bay Expressway north to Chula Vista, La Mesa, and Santee and Exit 7, La Media Road. The connecting ramp to California 125 north remained unconstructed at the time this photo was taken, but provisions for a future sign pointing to California 125 north were left in place. Photo taken 02/21/11.
This mileage sign provides the distance to Exit 2, Junction Interstate 805/Jacob Dekema (Inland) Freeway and Exits 1B-A, Junction Interstate 5/Montgomery Freeway. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Westbound California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway meets the future transition ramp to Exit 8, Junction California 125/South Bay Expressway north to Chula Vista. You can see the provisions for the future offramp here. The next two exits are Exit 7, La Media Road, followed by Exit 6, Brittania Boulevard (temporary end to the 905 freeway until 2012). Photo taken 02/21/11.
To Toll California 125/South Bay Expressway, use Exit 7, La Media Road (as a temporary connection). Take La Media Road north to Otay Mesa Road (former California 905) east to the California 125 north onramp. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The first California 905 west reassurance shield is posted shortly thereafter (as we leave the footprint of the future California 125 freeway-to-freeway interchange). Photo taken 02/21/11.
This mileage sign provides the distance to several key interchanges along California 905 west: Exit 7, La Media Road (to Truck Border Crossing south and Toll California 125 north); Exit 6, Brittania Boulevard (temporary end to freeway until 2012); Exit 2, Junction Interstate 805/Dekema Freeway north to Chula Vista and National City or south to San Ysidro; and Exits 1B-A, Junction Interstate 5/Montgomery Freeway north to downtown San Diego and south to San Ysidro. Omitted are the future Caliente Road interchange (possibly Exit 4 or Exit 5), Picador Boulevard (Exit 2A), and Beyer Boulevard (Exit 1C). Photo taken 02/21/11.
The freeway completes its nearly 90-degree turn from northbound to westbound. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Westbound California 905 reaches Exit 7, La Media Road. Use La Media Road south to the Truck Border Crossing or north to Otay Mesa Road, which connects 905 to Toll California 125/South Bay Expressway north to Chula Vista and points north in San Diego's eastern suburbs. Photo taken 02/21/11.
A rounded exit number gore point sign is posted for Exit 7. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The next exit along California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway west is Exit 6, Brittania Boulevard. This is the temporary end of this segment of freeway, pending the completion of the gap section between here and Interstate 805 (scheduled in 2012). Photo taken 02/21/11.
This view looks west from the La Media Road overpass toward Brittania Boulevard on Otay Mesa. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Traffic from La Media Road joins westbound California 905. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Westbound California 905 approaches Exit 6, Brittania Boulevard. The freeway temporarily ends in one-half mile. Photo taken 02/21/11.
A pair of END FREEWAY yellow diamond, warning signs is posted on either side of California 905 west as we approach the freeway's temporary end at Exit 6, Brittania Boulevard. Through traffic should exit here and turn left (north) on Brittania Boulevard to Otay Mesa Road, the temporary alignment for California 905. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Westbound California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway reaches Exit 6, Brittania Boulevard. Photo taken 02/21/11.
This view looks west from the offramp from westbound California 905 to Exit 6. The red stripe on the bridge appears to be a design theme for this segment of California 905. Photo taken 02/21/11.
At the top of the offramp is this traffic signal. Turn left for Brittania Boulevard south or right for Brittania Boulevard north to Otay Mesa Road, the continuation of California 905 west. Photo taken 02/21/11.
California 905/Brittania Boulevard west
Between the new California 905 freeway and Otay Mesa Road on northbound Brittania Boulevard (temporary California 905 west), a pair of shields is posted for Otay Mesa Road: west California 905 (left turn) and north Toll California 125 (right turn). Photo taken 02/21/11.
Northbound Brittania Boulevard (temporary California 905 west meets Otay Mesa Road at this traffic signal. Turn left for California 905 west. Behind the traffic signal mast arm is the Brown Field airport control tower. Photo taken 02/21/11.
California 905/Otay Mesa Road west
After the signalized intersection with Brittania Boulevard, California 905 continues west along the Otay Mesa Road expressway. 905 will be relocated onto the parallel freeway once the facility is opened to traffic in 2012. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Westbound California 905/Otay Mesa Road approaches Cactus Road at the next traffic signal. Photo taken 02/21/11.
California 905/Otay Mesa Road meets Cactus Road at the entrance to Brown Field. Photo taken 02/21/11.
A California 905 west reassurance shield is posted on Otay Mesa Road after the Cactus Road intersection. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Westbound California 905/Otay Mesa Road meets Heritage Road at this traffic signal. Photo taken 02/21/11.
California 905/Otay Mesa Road meets Corporate Center Drive. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The final traffic signal along California 905/Otay Mesa Road is with Ocean View Hills Parkway (right) and Caliente Road (south). Caliente Road will eventually have a direct connection with the California 905 freeway once the final segment is built and open to traffic. After this traffic signal, California 905 resumes its freeway configuration. Photo taken 02/21/11.
California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway west
The Pacific Ocean comes into view as California 905 crests and descends from Otay Mesa into Otay Valley. The first exit on this segment of freeway is Exit 2B, Junction Interstate 805/Jacob Dekema (Inland) Freeway. Interstate 805 travels north to Chula Vista, National City, City Heights, Mission Valley, and University City before ending at Interstate 5 near Sorrento Valley and Torrey Hills. To the south, Interstate 805 turns southwest to join Interstate 5 in San Ysidro before crossing into Mexico. Through traffic to Los Angeles should take Interstate 805 north rather than Interstate 5 north. The Port of San Diego is accessible via Interstate 5 north (Exit 1A). Photo taken 02/21/11.
Westbound California 905 reaches Exit 2B, Junction Interstate 805/Dekema (Inland) Freeway. Note the lack of exit numbers, control cities, and cardinal directions on this temporary exit sign that still remains in use today. Photo taken 02/21/11.
An exit number is posted at the gore point for the ramp from California 905 west to Exit 2B, Junction Interstate 805/Dekema (Inland) Freeway. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The transition ramp from California 905 west splits, with the right lane connecting to Interstate 805/Dekema (Inland) Freeway north and the left lane linking to Interstate 805 south. Photo taken 02/21/11.
This mileage sign provides the distance to the next two exits along California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway west: Exit 2A, Picador Boulevard and Smythe Avenue and Exit 1C, Beyer Boulevard. Overhead is the flyover ramp from Interstate 805 south to California 905 east. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The next exit along California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway west is Exit 2A, Picador Boulevard and Smythe Avenue, which serves the Otay-Nestor and San Ysidro communities of San Diego. Photo taken 02/21/11.
An exit number guide sign is posted for Exit 2A, Picador Boulevard and Smythe Avenue. Photo taken 02/21/11.
A caution/warning sign for pedestrians is posted on California 905 west prior to the offramp to Picador Boulevard. Similar signs had been placed on Interstate 5 near the San Ysidro Port of Entry as well as at the Border Patrol Checkpoint within Camp Pendleton between the Las Pulgas Road and Basilone Road exits near San Onofre. Because of their popularity, these yellow signs are frequently the target of theft and are no longer posted on Interstate 5. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Westbound California 905 reaches Exit 2A, Picador Boulevard and Smythe Avenue. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The next exit along California 905 west is Exit 1C, Beyer Boulevard, one-half mile. The following exit is Exit 1B, Junction Interstate 5 south, Tocayo Avenue, and Oro Vista Road. The final exit is Exit 1A, Junction Interstate 5 north. Photo taken 02/21/11.
An exit number guide sign for Exit 1C, Beyer Boulevard is posted in the median of the 905 freeway. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The right lane of California 905 becomes exit only for Exit 1C, Beyer Boulevard (former U.S. 101 and former Business Loop I-5). Photo taken 02/21/11.
Westbound California 905/Otay Mesa Freeway reaches Exit 1C, Beyer Boulevard. Photo taken 02/21/11.
After the Beyer Boulevard interchange, the right lane becomes exit only for Exit 1B, Junction Interstate 5 south, Tocayo Road west, and Oro Vista Road north. The mainline of California 905 basically uses Exit 1B (if you want to see the END shield). Photo taken 02/21/11.
Use Exit 1B for Junction Interstate 5 south, Tocayo Road west, and Oro Vista Road north. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Westbound California 905 effectively ends as the freeway splits. Stay left for Exit 1A, Junction Interstate 5 north to downtown San Diego. Merge right for Exit 1B, Junction Interstate 5 south, Tocayo Road west, and Oro Vista Road north. Photo taken 02/21/11.
A single-lane ramp carries traffic from California 905 west to Interstate 5 south and Tocayo Avenue west. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The ramp to Interstate 5 south and Tocayo Road west flies over the ramp to Interstate 5 north. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Still on the ramp to Exit 1B, exit right for a loop ramp to Interstate 5 south. Stay left for Exit 1A, Oro Vista Road and Tocayo Avenue. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Westbound California 905 reaches Exit 1B, Junction Interstate 5 south. The left lane connects to Exit 1A, Oro Vista Road and Tocayo Avenue. Note the use of a rare button copy END FREEWAY sign. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The freeway ends in one-half mile (after the Interstate 5 south loop ramp). Photo taken 02/21/11.
Traffic from Interstate 5 south merges onto California 905 west to connect to Tocayo Avenue and Oro Vista Road. Photo taken 02/21/11.
The next traffic signal ahead is with Oro Vista Road. Tocayo Avenue continues west from this intersection. Photos taken 02/21/11.
Immediately thereafter is an END shield indicating that California 905 west ends here. This shield has been replaced at least once since we first visited this area in 1998. Photos taken 02/21/11.
The freeway indeed ends shortly thereafter. The traffic signal connects to Oro Vista Road; continue straight ahead for Tocayo Avenue. To the Tijuana River Valley, continue straight then turn left on Hollister Street south. Photo taken 07/12/09.
Former California 905/Paseo Internacional north
Freeway construction was underway when this photo was taken in 2009; additional work has been completed as of summer 2010. Photo taken 07/12/09.
This mileage sign along California 905 west provides the distance to Interstate 805 (six miles) and Interstate 5 (eight miles). Photo taken 07/12/09.
A traffic signal was in the process of being removed at Airway Road. No access will be provided from the 905 freeway to Airway Road. Photo taken 07/12/09.
Westbound California 905 next approaches the junction with California 125/South Bay Expressway. A mileage sign provides the distance to major highways via California 125 north: Junction California 54 (11 miles), Junction California 94 (14 miles), and Junction Interstate 8 (17 miles). Photo taken 07/12/09.
Use California 125 north to Chula Vista (Otay Ranch and Eastlake), Bonita, Spring Valley, La Mesa, El Cajon, and Santee. Photo taken 07/12/09.
Turn left ahead to follow California 905 west to Interstate 805 and Interstate 5. Photo taken 07/12/09.
A second California 905 west trailblazer shield is posted as Paseo Internacional approaches Otay Mesa Road. Stay in the right lane for the connection to California 125 north. Photo taken 07/12/09.
Former California 905/Otay Mesa Road west
After the brief freeway segment near Siempre Viva Road comes to its temporary end, a California 905 north reassurance shield is posted prior to the intersection with California 125/South Bay Expressway. At the time this photo was taken, the toll road was still under construction. By December 2007, this intersection was fully functional and now looks much different than shown here. Photo taken 12/03/06.
Scenes Pertaining to California 905
Leaving the intersection with Otay Mesa Road, La Media Road travels south first to intersect with California 905 west and then proceed to the Truck Border Crossing. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Approaching California 905, the first right connects La Media Road south with California 905 west. The next left connects La Media Road south with California 905 east. Photo taken 02/21/11.
This view shows the onramp from La Media Road to California 905 west. Photo taken 02/21/11.
Siempre Viva Road crosses over California 905. Traveling eastbound on Siempre Viva Road, the first right connects to California 905 south into Mexico, and the left connects to California 905 west to San Diego, Chula Vista, and Imperial Beach. Photo taken 02/21/11.
This freeway entrance shield assembly is posted on eastbound Siempre Viva Road at the onramp to California 905 east. Photo taken 02/21/11.
This view shows the onramp from Siempre Viva Road to California 905 east near the Otay Mesa border crossing. Photo taken 02/21/11.

Footnotes

  1. Ceremony to mark completion of key leg of I-905 by Robert J. Hawkins, November 9, 2010, San Diego Union-Tribune
  2. State Route 905 Fact Sheet - February 2010
  3. State Route 905/125 Interchange at Otay Mesa Port of Entry, Transportation Border Congestion Relief Program Application, California Department of Transportation, June 2008
  4. A San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) brochure states that when the California 905 freeway is completed, "SR-905 WILL BE DESIGNATED AS I-905, as part of an obligation that is included in an agreement between the FHWA and the State of California." This brochure came out in the late 1990s, and we will try to post a PDF if we can located it.
  5. U.S. grants $20.2M for Otay Mesa interchange improvements, San Diego Union-Tribune by Robert J. Hawkins, October 4, 2010. Applicable quote: "The entire east-west highway will eventually be [r]edesignate[d] [as] Interstate 905, from its connection at I-5 to the border, only the second U.S. interstate to be linked to Mexico."
  6. Adoption of a Traversable Highway: Resolution HRA 02-01 11-SD-905 KP T10.3/16.9E (PM T6.4/10.5E) dated October 1, 2001, by Mark Leja. On page 3, under the Conclusion section: "When the Route 905 freeway is opened to traffic, Otay Mesa Road will be relinquished to the City of San Diego pursuant to the terms in the Cooperative Agreement dated December 10, 1996."
  7. SR-905 opens, connects 805 to Otay Mesa border entry, CBS 8, July 30, 2012. Relevant quote: "Newly constructed state Route 905, which connects the main border crossing used by commercial truckers to the rest of the highway system, opened to motorists Monday. The six-lane, 6.4-mile highway was built using $441 million in local, state and federal funds, including about $92 million from a stimulus program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The highway parallels Otay Mesa Road, which was previously the only street to provide access to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. About 68,000 vehicles traveled on the road daily to reach the border crossing, according to the San Diego Association of Governments."

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Page Updated July 24, 2011.