Interstate 215

Interstate 215 travels south through Murrieta near Exit 2; it descends toward Temecula. The freeway is generally four lanes south of Perris, but booming growth may require eventual expansion of the freeway. Photo taken 03/31/08.

Interstate 215 is old U.S. 395 between Interstate 15 in Temecula and Devore via Perris, Sun City, Riverside, and San Bernardino. The section of Interstate 215 between Interstate 15 and California 60 was upgraded to Interstate standards in the late 1980s/early 1990s; for a time prior to this upgrade, the route was signed as California 215 southbound and to Interstate 215 northbound. A new set of flyovers that connect Interstate 215 with California 60 and California 91 opened to traffic in 2008. North of Interstate 10, Interstate 215 is slated for reconstruction through San Bernardino.

Interstate 215 California Highway Guides

Interstate 215 is generally known by its number, but it also has specific names. From south to north, the naming is as follows:

  • Murrieta to Riverside (Exits 1 through 29) - Escondido Freeway
  • Overlap with California 60 (Exits 29 to 34) - Escondido Freeway and Moreno Valley Freeway
  • Riverside to Interstate 10 (Exits 34 to 40) - Riverside Freeway
  • Interstate 10 to California 210/California 259 (Exits 40 to 45-46) - San Bernardino Freeway
  • California 210/California 259 to Interstate 15 (Exits 45-46 to Exit 54) - Barstow Freeway

Interstate 215 was preceded by U.S. 395 in its entirety. North of the California 91 interchange, it was designated as U.S. 91-395, and north of the California 66 interchange, it was designated as U.S. 66-91-395. The U.S. 91 designation was eliminated in 1964, and the U.S. 66 and U.S. 395 designations were completely gone from Interstate 215 by 1972. The overlap of California 60 was previously U.S. 60; the route was converted from federal to state route legislatively in 1964, and signs were changed by 1970.

Interstate 215 established as an Interstate Highway in 1982, replacing former Interstate 15E. The section north of Riverside was immediately signed as Interstate 215, and the section south of California 60 was numbered as California 215. In 1994, the last at-grade intersection on the California 215 expressway was bridged, and the route fully met Interstate standards. So, in 1994 Interstate 215 was listed as complete and fully signed.

Prior to the establishment of Interstate 215 in 1982, the route had a series of route numbers:

  • 1963 - construction of freeway through San Bernardino; signed as U.S. 395 and Interstate 15
  • 1972 - Interstate 15 rerouted onto current alignment; Interstate 15E created and U.S. 395 decommissioned
  • 1982 - Interstate 215 and California 215 established and Interstate 15E (and secret California 194) decommissioned
  • 1994 - Interstate 215 meets Interstate standards; California 215 section re-designated as Interstate 215

Statewide Opening Dates of Interstate 215:

  • Murrieta Hot Springs to Keller Road - May 18th, 1979
  • Keller Road to McCall Blvd - July 16th, 1979
  • McCall Blvd to Ethanac Road - January 30th, 1967
  • Ethanac Road to California 74E - Circa 1962
  • California 74E to D Street - Circa 1953
  • D Street to Oleander Avenue - August 29th, 1994
  • Oleander Avenue to California 60 - January 14, 1994
  • California 60 to Canyon Crest Drive - January 28th, 1966
  • Canyon Crest Drive to California 91/60 - Circa 1961
  • California 91/60 to Interstate 10 - Circa 1959
  • Interstate 10 to Mill Street - Circa 1958
  • Mill Street to California 66 - Circa 1957
  • California 66 to Mount Vernon Avenue - Circa 1957
  • Mount Vernon Avenue to Interstate 15 - Circa 1958

Many thanks to C.J. Moon for his assistance in providing this historical chronology.

Planned Improvements

Throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, the former U.S. 395 corridor was brought up to expressway and eventually Interstate freeway standards. A completed project was the reconstruction of the 60-91-215 interchange in Riverside. This major upgrade project started construction in February 2004 and saw portions of the project complete in 2008. Some of the highlights of the project include the direct connect flyover ramps at 60-91-215, high occupancy vehicle/HOV lanes on the 60-215 shared alignment, and a truck bypass at the 60-215 interchange.

Reconstruction and expansion of Interstate 215 through San Bernardino (between Interstate 10 and University Parkway) ran from December 2007 and through 2013. Improvements planned for the corridor included the increasing numbers of lanes from three in each direction to four plus one HOV in each direction, bridge widening, interchange realignment, improvements at the 210-215 interchange, and related improvements.

Interstate 215 scenes
Nighttime view of signage from an on-ramp onto Interstate 215 north (to San Bernardino) and south (to Riverside). The button copy lettering on this sign is extremely visible at night, especially with a camera flash (in the first photo) but is also visible under the ambient lighting from a low-pressure sodium streetlight. Photos taken 11/12/00.
This series of photos shows the signage along westbound Cactus Avenue southeast of Riverside in the Moreno Valley as it approaches and intersects Interstate 215. Photos taken 02/20/05.
Interstate 215 freeway entrance shield assembly located at the same location as the sign in the previous photobox. Photo taken 11/12/00.
Freeway entrance sign assembly. Photo taken 03/15/01.
This freeway entrance shield assembly is posted at Exit 54 from Palm Avenue onto south Interstate 215. Photo taken 05/13/05.
Traveling south on D Street in the city of Perris prior to the California 74 (Fourth Street) intersection is this mileage sign. Note that Interstate 215 is referred to as "Temporary Interstate 15E." This refers to a designation that has not been used for the Interstate 215 corridor since 1982, when Interstate 15E (and Temporary Interstate 15E) were decommissioned in favor of Interstate 215. Photo taken 07/15/07.
At the gore point is this Interstate 215 sign indicating the northbound and southbound control cities (Riverside and San Diego). Photo taken 07/15/07.
A rare Interstate 215 south and California 74 east freeway entrance shield assembly is posted after a stop sign at Redlands Avenue. The two routes will remain merged for a couple miles, then separate. Photo taken 07/15/07.
This series of pictures shows the Columbia Avenue bridge over Interstate 215 in Riverside. The photo looking south shows the then-incomplete flyover ramp that now carries Interstate 215 through traffic through the 60-91-215 interchange. Also shown is a view looking north, as well as the bridge deck itself looking east. With future widening planned for Interstate 215, it is likely that this bridge and ramp configuration will change. Photos taken 06/24/07.
These freeway entrance signs are posted at the on-ramp for Interstate 215 south from La Cadena Drive and Interchange Street at the interchange with Columbia Avenue in Riverside. Photos taken 06/24/07.

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Page Updated January 17, 2011.

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