Interstate 110

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Interstate 110 and California 110

This view looks north on California 110/Harbor Freeway from Seventh Street in downtown Los Angeles. The freeway is built with a local/express configuration. Collector-distributor lanes access the various exits, while the express segment avoids exits until meeting the Four-Level Interchange. Photo taken 08/26/07.

Routing

Interstate 110 and California 110 provide a continuous freeway link from the Port of Los Angeles at San Pedro with downtown Pasadena. The portion of Harbor Freeway between San Pedro and Interstate 10 is Interstate-standard. This section of freeway has benefited by the construction of separated high occupancy vehicle lanes (known as the Harbor Freeway Transitway) and multimodal transportation facilities. At the Interstate 10 interchange, Interstate 110 transitions into California 110; the Harbor Freeway becomes the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway) at the Four-Level Interchange. This busy, symmetrical stack interchange joins California 110/Harbor Freeway, California 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway, U.S. 101/Hollywood Freeway north, and U.S. 101/Santa Ana Freeway south. The section of California 110 between Interstate 10 and Interstate 5 passes through downtown Los Angeles and is almost always full of traffic, seemingly at all hours of day and night.

Leaving the Four-Level Interchange in downtown Los Angeles, California 110 turns along the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway). The historic parkway travels northeast toward Pasadena with an entirely different look and feel. Gone are all of the innovative transit and high occupancy vehicle lanes that were featured on Interstate 110. In fact, much of this freeway has seen little change, with very short deceleration lanes for exits, stop signs on the onramps, narrow or nonexistent shoulders, and limited sight distance. Also known as the Pasadena Freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway is an original freeway from the 1940s, and many aspects of the highway remain in its original condition. It is nowhere near Interstate standards due to limited sight distance, short or non-existent acceleration lanes, sharp curves, and narrowness. By the time it reaches Pasadena, California 110 changes into Arroyo Parkway, a wide surface street. The state route ends at the end of the freeway, but it used to continue north to its original end at U.S. 66/Colorado Boulevard, and it does not meet Interstate 210/Foothill Freeway.

History

California 110 and Interstate 110 was originally part of both U.S. 6 and California 11 along the Harbor/Pasadena Freeway southwest of Interstate 5 and was part of U.S. 66 and California 11 along the Arroyo Seco Parkway northeast of Interstate 5. After the U.S. routes were decommissioned, the freeways were known solely as California 11 between 1964 and 1985. In that year, the Harbor Freeway segment south of Interstate 10 was added to the Interstate Highway System, so the entire route was recommissioned as Interstate 110. At the same time, the remaining segment of the Harbor Freeway and all of the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway) segment were renumbered from California 11 to California 110. Through downtown (between Interstate 10 and U.S. 101), the Harbor Freeway is generally signed as California 110 on the northbound lanes and as Interstate 110 on the southbound lanes.

Highway Guides

Scenes Pertaining to Interstate 110 and California 110
These Interstate 110 and California 47 trailblazer shields are located near the southern terminus of Interstate 110 at its junction with California 47 (which leads to the Port of Los Angeles and Terminal Island via the Vincent Thomas Bridge) in the community of San Pedro in the city of Los Angeles. At one time, Gaffey Street into San Pedro south of the California 47 junction was a signed extension of California 110 between the Harbor Freeway and Ninth Street, but that section of state route was decommissioned in the early 2000s. Photo taken 07/21/01.
This overhead guide sign for Interstate 110/Harbor Freeway north is posted on northbound Harbor Boulevard as it passes under California 47/Vincent Thomas Bridge (Seaside Freeway). Upon turning left here, traffic merges onto California 47 south briefly before meeting the onramp to Interstate 110 north. Photo taken 02/13/11.
Near the Los Angeles Coliseum, eastbound Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard approaches the onramp to Interstate 110 north. The connecting ramp is a loop, so a right turn is needed to make the connection. Photos taken 08/26/07.
Near the new Metro Expo Line (a light rail facility that will link downtown Los Angeles with Santa Monica), eastbound Exposition Boulevard passes by the southern edge of the University of Southern California and the northern edge of Exposition Park. This series of signs is posted along eastbound Exposition Boulevard en route to Figueroa Street and the onramp to Interstate 110/Harbor Freeway. Figueroa Street is a historic corridor, formerly designated as part of U.S. 6 and California 11 between San Pedro and downtown Los Angeles (both of those routes were moved onto the Harbor Freeway once it was built, and they both were decommissioned ultimately in favor of Interstate 110). The last pictures, which show the approach along eastbound, are actually on 37th Street. At Figueroa Street, eastbound traffic shifts from Exposition Boulevard to 37th Street. Westbound traffic follows Exposition Boulevard at the Interstate 110 interchange. Photos taken 05/05/12.
Hope Street serves briefly as a short frontage road parallel to Interstate 110. It begins from the offramp from Interstate 110/Harbor Freeway north at Exit 20B (Exposition Boulevard and 37th Street offramp) and travels north to Exposition Boulevard and Jefferson Boulevard (other disconnected segments of Hope Street exist further northeast of here). Upon exiting from Interstate 110 north to the offramp to Exit 20B, we first meet 37th Street followed by Exposition Boulevard. This series of pictures shows the progression of signs between 37th Street, Exposition Boulevard, and the onramp back to Interstate 110 north prior to the Jefferson Boulevard intersection. This series of signs is posted east of the University of Southern California (USC), Exposition Park, and the Los Angeles Coliseum. Some of these signs were placed by the city of Los Angeles and use a font that is peculiar to that city, especially the ground-mounted sign for USC and Exposition Park. Photos taken 05/05/12.
Southbound Flower Street approaches the onramp to Interstate 110/Harbor Freeway south. This picture is taken looking south from the intersection of Flower Street and Exposition Boulevard. The next intersection south of here is with 37th Street. Overhead signs from the elevation Interstate 110 freeway are also visible here. Photo taken 05/05/12.
This view looks north along Flower Street (one-way southbound) as well as the offramp from Interstate 110 south at Exit 20B. Downtown Los Angeles is visible from this interchange. Photo taken 05/05/12.
Exposition Boulevard travels one-way westbound under passes under Interstate 110, which follows an elevated viaduct as it passes by the University of Southern California and Exposition Park. Underneath the massive viaduct is this view, which includes roads passing underneath as well as unused land. Photos taken 05/05/12.
Exposition Boulevard passes under Interstate 110, which follows an elevated viaduct as it passes by the University of Southern California and Exposition Park. Underneath the massive viaduct is this view, which includes roads passing underneath as well as unused land. Photo taken 05/05/12.
Westbound Jefferson Boulevard passes under the elevated section of Interstate 110/Harbor Freeway between Hope Street and Flower Street. Improvements resulted in enhanced lighting and landscaping under this section of the 110 viaduct. Photo taken 08/26/07.
Seventh Street meets Bixel Street at this signalized intersection. Turn left here for Interstate 110/Harbor Freeway south to Interstate 10/Santa Monica Freeway. Photo taken 08/26/07.
After the intersection with Seventh Street in downtown Los Angeles, southbound Bixel Street approaches a final traffic signal with Eighth Street before it merges onto Interstate 110/Harbor Freeway south. This onramp also links to Interstate 10/Santa Monica Freeway. On the guide sign, note the state name appears where the word Interstate normally appears. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the segment of Harbor Freeway between U.S. 101 and Interstate 10 is technically a state route? Photo taken 08/26/07.
Southbound Bixel Street meets Eighth Street. After this intersection, Bixel Street merges onto Interstate 110/Harbor Freeway south. Photo taken 08/26/07.
In the Highland Park community of Los Angeles, eastbound Via Marisol approaches its interchange with California 110. Photo taken 07/10/10.
The onramp to California 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway is signed as a "Parkway Entrance" from eastbound Via Marisol. Photos taken 07/10/10.
The same kind of "parkway entrance" sign is posted at the onramp to California 110 north from westbound Via Marisol, but an older Pasadena Freeway trailblazer (probably from the 1980s) is posted behind it. Photos taken 07/10/10.
The Via Marisol overpass was constructed in 1939. A chain link fence obscures the view of the parkway passing below the bridge (view looks north). Photos taken 07/10/10.
These views look south from the Via Marisol overpass onto the Arroyo Seco Parkway. Photos taken 07/10/10.
This sign is posted along southbound Avenue 57 at the intersection with Via Marisol. Continue south on Avenue 57 for the entrance to California 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway south or turn left to follow Via Marisol east to the onramp to California 110 north. Photo taken 07/10/10.
It is not too often that a "Stop" sign is mounted above a freeway entrance shield assembly, but is what may be found at the on-ramp from Via Marisol onto southbound California 110 at Exit 28B. Note the change from "Freeway Entrance" to "Parkway Entrance" in 2009. Photos taken 07/10/10 and 06/15/03.
Most of the Arroyo Seco Parkway lies below grade. In this view, Avenue 60 travels west across the parkway. The ornate bridge railing and decorative street lighting indicate that Avenue 60 will cross over California 110. Photo taken 07/10/10.
Westbound Avenue 60 meets Benner Street. Turn left here to follow Benner Street south to an onramp to California 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway) south. Photo taken 07/10/10.
Southbound Shults Street approaches the onramp to California 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway south (this onramp serves traffic connecting from Avenue 60 to California 110). The "Freeway Entrance" signs were replaced with "Parkway Entrance" signs in 2009 and 2010. Photo taken 07/10/10.
This California 110 trailblazer was posted along Historic U.S. 66/Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. Photo taken 07/21/01.
This freeway entrance shield assembly is taken at the York Boulevard interchange during the 2003 ArroyoFest, which included a one-time closure of California 110 for pedestrians and bicyclists to enjoy the parkway without car traffic. Photos taken 06/15/03.
This picture looks southwest at the Arroyo Seco Parkway at the Via Marisol interchange from Hermon Park. Photo taken 07/10/10.
This date stamp (of May 1, 1940) is embedded in the concrete of the northbound lanes of the Arroyo Seco Parkway after the Via Marisol interchange. Photo taken 07/10/10.
Route 11/163 Separation
Near the confluence of California 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway and Interstate 5/Golden State Freeway, Avenue 26 passes over California 110 and under the ramp linking Interstate 5 with California 110. The Avenue 26 and Arroyo Seco Parkway grade separation is notable for a pair of signs indicating former designations for each road. Avenue 26 was briefly known as California 163 (from 1963 to 1965), and Arroyo Seco Parkway was originally California 11. A "Route 163/11 Separation" bridge identification sign posted on either side of the bridge carrying Avenue 26 over California 110 and the Arroyo Seco. Photo taken 01/14/07.
The extent of former California 163 appears to include Avenue 26 between California 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway to the north and Lacy Street to the south, including the on/offramps to/from Interstate 5. Per Daniel Faigin's State Route 163 page, this instance of California 163 was legislatively defined as "Near Lacy Street and Avenue 26 to Route 5 in Los Angeles." Although it has been gone since 1965, these bridge signs were still in place in 2007. Photo taken 01/14/07.
A 1939 date stamp is imprinted into the bridge railing next to the Route 163/11 Separation bridge sign. The 1939 date applies to the bridge that carries Avenue 26 over California 110; the arch bridge over Arroyo Seco was built in 1925. Photo taken 01/14/07.
Southbound Avenue 26 proceeds across California 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway and then over the Arroyo Seco arch bridge. The second picture looks over the edge to see the arch component of the Avenue 26 bridge, which was designed and built between 1922 and 1926. Photos taken 01/14/07.
This view looks at the Avenue 26 overpass as seen from northbound California 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway. The overpass was built in 1939 as part of freeway construction, while the adjacent Arroyo Seco bridge fully opened to traffic in 1926. Photos taken 01/14/07.
These views look northeast along California 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway as seen from the Avenue 26 (former California 163) overpass. Photos taken 01/14/07.
Unique bridge railing lines Avenue 26 as seen in this view looking northeast along California 110. Photo taken 01/14/07.
The Arroyo Seco closely parallels California 110, carrying water through its concrete channel. An open-spandrel concrete arch bridge carries Avenue 26 over the creek, while the bridge over adjacent California 110 is not an arch. Photos taken 01/14/07.
Now looking southwest almost directly into the sun from Avenue 26, portions of the interchange between California 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway and Interstate 5/Golden State Freeway -- as well as Elysian Park -- are visible. Photos taken 01/14/07.
Hermon Park
A pedestrian bridge built in 1951 crosses over the Arroyo Seco in Hermon Park. Views from the bridge show the concrete-lined channel of the Arroyo Seco. The park is located off the Via Marisol exit from California 110. Photos taken 07/10/10.
Point Fermin Lighthouse
While California 110 never extended south of Ninth Street in San Pedro, Gaffey Street continues south all the way to the shoreline at Point Fermin. A lighthouse and coastal bluff walkway is located at a small park at the south end of Gaffey Street. Visitors can see south toward the Pacific Ocean, east toward Angels Gate and downtown Long Beach, and west toward Rancho Palos Verdes. The last picture shows the northbound beginning of Gaffey Street before it begins its northerly journey into San Pedro. Photos taken 02/13/11.
The bluff at Point Fermin has been in motion; a failure caused a portion of Paseo del Mar to collapse and resulted in that section of road to close. The former roadway is visible behind an END sign and iron fence. Photo taken 02/13/11.

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Page Updated May 6, 2012.