U.S. Route 101 in California - History

History

Instead of terminating in Los Angeles, Highway 101 used to travel all the way south through San Diego to the United States–Mexico border in San Ysidro. However, this part was deleted on July 1, 1964 in favor of Interstate 5. The only remnant of the old route is a mileage sign at the Santa Barbara/Ventura County line, which lists the distance to San Diego, even though Highway 101 ends in Los Angeles.

The old alignment in San Diego County from Oceanside to Del Mar is now known as San Diego County Route S21. It is signed unofficially in many places as "Historic Route 101". Before I-5's implementation in the 1960s, long sections of 101 in this area (through USMC's Camp Pendleton and south to the northern reaches of San Diego) were three lanes, with the center lane being a 'passing lane' for both northbound and southbound drivers. Horrific and fatal head on collisions were not uncommon. In newspaper accounts, it was often referred to as the "suicide lane".

Significant portions of 101 were originally known as the Royal Road or El Camino Real. The name, El Camino Real, continues in widespread use from South San Francisco to San Diego for surface routes, most of which are close to, and parallel to 101.

The primary control city that is listed on freeway signs along northbound 101 through the Central Coast region is San Francisco. Although San Jose surpassed San Francisco population decades after the highway was built, there has been no push to change all the signs.

Under the California Streets and Highways Code § 401, the Golden Gate Bridge is legally not part of Highway 101. The portion of Route 101 starting from Los Angeles ends at "the approach to the Golden Gate Bridge" and then resumes at "a point in Marin County opposite San Francisco" to the Oregon state line. The bridge itself is maintained by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District instead of Caltrans.

Redwood Highway
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Nearest city: Klamath, California
Built: 1900-1949
NRHP Reference#: 79000253
Added to NRHP: December 17, 1979

A segment of the Redwood Highway, US 101, located in the Redwood National and State Parks near Klamath was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

In 2003, the segment of US 101 between Morgan Hill and San Jose, also known as the Sig Sanchez Freeway, expanded to eight lanes between Cochrane Road and SR 85 exits. Originally, the ten-mile segment was only two lanes in each direction. The improved segment is to alleviate the consistent congestion that has expanded as far south as Masten Avenue coming from Gilroy, and as far north as Bernal Road coming from San Jose.

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