San Diego and Imperial County Freeway Exit List

A list of freeway exits in San Diego and Imperial Counties and some parts of Orange and Riverside Counties.

November 5, 2009 - Philip J. Erdelsky, pje@efgh.com

  1. Introduction
  2. Interstate Highway 5 (San Diego Freeway)
  3. Interstate Highway 8 (Ocean Beach, Alvarado and Kumeyaay Freeways)
  4. California Highway 15 and Interstate Highway 15 (Escondido Freeway)
  5. Interstate Highway 805 (Jacob Dekema Freeway)
  6. California Highway 163 (Cabrillo Freeway)
  7. California Highway 94 (Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway)
  8. California Highway 125 (Helix Freeway, South Bay Expressway)
  9. California Highway 78
  10. California Highway 52 (San Clemente Canyon Freeway)
  11. California Highway 54 (South Bay Freeway)
  12. California Highway 56 (Ted Williams Parkway)
  13. California Highway 67 (San Vicente Freeway)
  14. California Highway 905
  15. Kearny Villa Road
  16. Epilogue

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1. Introduction


Nearly every freeway exit in Southern California is marked by a sign with white lettering on a green background. Each entry in this document shows, as nearly as possible, the wording on the exit sign, and the approximate distance in miles from the beginning of the listed part of the freeway to the exit. This information should be useful in estimating travel distances and giving precise directions, since a few freeway exits in Southern California are not yet numbered.

Freeway exits in California were numbered during the three-year period from 2002 to 2004. The exit number is the approximate number of miles from the south or west end of the freeway. Exits less than one mile apart are distinguished by letters after the exit numbers. Numbers have already been assigned or proposed for all exits, and are shown on this list as comments. Most numbers have already been posted, but they are not necessarily on the exit signs. They may be on other signs near the exits. In many cases, a sign that formerly said merely "EXIT" or "RAMP" has been replaced by one that contains the word "EXIT", the exit number and an arrow.

Freeway exit numbers may not be precisely consistent with the mileages given in this list because eastbound and westbound exits to the same highway are given the same number, even though they may be more than a mile apart. Also, my odometer may not agree precisely with Caltrans's odometer.


When an exit number is added to an exit sign, the wording of the sign is sometimes changed slightly. Such changes will be reflected in this list as soon as possible.

For the latest information on California freeway exit numbers, check the Caltrans Web page at www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/signtech/calnexus/index.htm. These pages are updated occasionally to show which exit numbers have been posted.

The 2003 and later Thomas Guides show freeway exit numbers on the detail maps.


A few symbols are used on exit signs. Since this document consists almost entirely of text, abbreviations are used to represent some of these symbols:

Commas are used in this document to divide exit sign text into logical groups. The commas themselves do not appear on exit signs. In fact, exit signs usually do not contain punctuation of any kind.

Here are pictures of some typical route markers:


Explanatory material that does not appear on exit signs is enclosed in parentheses. For example, in the few cases where an exit is on the left side, that fact is noted. Freeway exit numbers, where available, are enclosed in parentheses.

San Diego, Imperial and Orange County route numbers, consisting of the letter "S" and a number, do not appear on exit signs. However, interchanges with county highways are often marked by auxiliary signs some distance ahead of the exits themselves. In this list, such interchanges are noted in explanatory material. Riverside County route numbers consist of the letter "R" and a number.

Some extraneous words that do appear on exit signs, such as "Exit Only", have been omitted from this list.

Bicycles are permitted on the freeway shoulder wherever the following symbol appears:



Most freeways in Southern California are now identified by number, not by name. However, freeway names have been noted in the section headings.

In recent years, small signs have been posted on some freeways marking them as memorials to individuals. Where available, these names are mentioned in the introductory text for each freeway.


There are now emergency call boxes on freeways in San Diego, Imperial, Orange, and Riverside Counties. Each one is marked by a rectangular sign with the words "Call Box" in white lettering on a blue background. At the bottom of the sign are two numbers. The first is the highway number, and the second is the approximate distance, in tenths of a mile, from the southern or western end of the highway (or the place where it enters the county). In the case of highways under construction, the distance is apparently measured from what will be the end of the highway when it is finished.

In San Diego County, call boxes on the south and east sides of freeways bear even numbers and call boxes on the north and west sides bear odd numbers. (This convention is the opposite of that used for building numbers in much of the San Diego area.) The convention in other counties may be different.

There are also call boxes on state highways that are not freeways, on a few roads that are not state highways or freeways, and in a few other places. Call boxes were put on I-8 in Imperial County in early 2000; before that time there were no call boxes in Imperial County.

Many call boxes have keyboards for use by motorists with speech or hearing impairments.

This list is a truncated version of a larger list that included additional exits in Orange and Riverside Counties and in Arizona. The list was becoming out-of-date; therefore I cut it down to a manageable size. The original is still available, but it will no longer be updated.

2. Interstate Highway 5 (San Diego Freeway)


The part of I-5 south of Downtown San Diego is sometimes called the Montgomery Freeway.

I-5 runs parallel to old US Highway 101 and has entirely replaced it within San Diego County.

Carlsbad Village Dr. was formerly called Elm Ave. The old name is still used by some Carlsbad residents and appears on exit signs in tiny letters.

Coast Hwy. in Oceanside was formerly called Hill Street. The old name still appears on some exit signs in tiny letters.

The part of I-5 running through Camp Pendleton is signed as the "Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Freeway".

I-5 has been widened and improved between the junction with I-805 and the Del Mar Heights Road interchange. The work, which was completed in April 2007, includes local bypass lanes and a new interchange with Carmel Mountain Road, which is accessible only from the local bypass lanes.

I-5 Northbound

I-5 Southbound

3. Interstate Highway 8 (Ocean Beach, Alvarado and Kumeyaay Freeways)


The part of I-8 west of I-5 is called the Ocean Beach Freeway. The part east of I-5 and west of El Cajon is sometimes called the Alvarado Freeway or the Mission Valley Freeway. The part east of El Cajon has been renamed the Kumeyaay Freeway, and a sign reading "Kumeyaay Highway" appears at the west end in Ocean Beach.

The bridge at Exit 19 in California (2nd St) is signed as the "Danielle van Dam Memorial Overpass" in memory of Danielle van Dam, who was murdered by a neighbor in San Diego in 2002. Signs for Exit 19 contain blank spots where C-54 used to be.

I-8 runs parallel to old US Highway 80 and has entirely replaced it as far east as Casa Grande, Arizona.

I-8 crosses the San Diego/Imperial County line more than once, because that area is quite mountainous and the freeway has quite a few curves. Call box distances in Imperial County are apparently measured from the first crossing encountered by eastbound travellers, just a short distance east of the In-Ko-Pah Park Road exit.

A temporary Border Patrol Inspection Station was in operation on westbound I-8 between Exit 151 and Exit 146 on November 5, 2009.

I-8 Eastbound

I-8 Westbound

4. California Highway 15 and Interstate Highway 15 (Escondido Freeway)


To prevent confusion, California and interstate highways are usually given different numbers. However, C-15 and I-15 have been given the same number for a good reason. The gap between the north end of C-15 and the south end of I-15 has been filled by a new freeway segment, which is now open and complete. For all practical purposes, C-15 and I-15 are a single freeway.

The name C-15 applies to all parts of the freeway south of I-8. The name I-15 applies to everything north of I-8. However, the sign at the southern entrance to C-15 says I-15, not C-15.

This freeway actually has a number of names. Here they are, from south to north:

I-15 has the only completely separate carpool lanes (also called high-occupancy vehicle lanes or HOV lanes) in San Diego County, although others are being constructed. The lanes run along the I-15 median between the junctions with C-52 and C-56 and are being extended into Escondido. The carpool lanes are open to southbound traffic during the morning rush hour, and to northbound traffic during the afternoon rush hour, but they are closed at other times. Use is limited to buses, highway maintenance vehicles, emergency vehicles, cars containing two or more live human beings, and a few people who have bought special permits allowing them to drive alone in the carpool lanes.

Motorists can enter or leave the carpool lanes ONLY at the north and south ends; there are no entrances or exits at intermediate points. At the south end, there are entrances from, and exits to, both I-15 and C-163.

Motorists who want to drive solo in these carpool lanes must get a "FasTrak" transponder that collects the toll electronically. For information call 1-800-378-TRAK or visit www.tcagencies.com.

A few years ago, these carpool lanes were the site of an unusual experiment in which automobiles were driven entirely by automatic controls while human observers were in them.

I-15 runs parallel to old US Highway 395 and has replaced it in San Diego and Riverside Counties and some of San Bernardino County. It has also replaced some of old US Highway 66 in San Bernardino County.

Continuing construction between exits 13 and 32 has required temporary closure of some exits and the use of temporary signs that may not match the wording on this list.

C-15 and I-15 Northbound

C-15 and I-15 Southbound

5. Interstate Highway 805 (Jacob Dekema Freeway)


Jacob Dekema is a former director of the California Department of Transportation. I-805 was formerly called the Inland Freeway.

There are two "Palm Ave" exits from southbound I-805, an ambiguity that was be removed when the exits were numbered.

I-805 Northbound

I-805 Southbound

6. California Highway 163 (Cabrillo Freeway)


The portion of C-163 south of Robinson Avenue runs through a wooded canyon in the middle of Balboa Park, and has been designated a scenic highway.

C-163 Northbound

C-163 Southbound

7. California Highway 94 (Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway)


The junction of C-94 and C-125 may be slightly confusing. Before the eastern part of the C-94 Freeway was built, the western part of C-94 and C-125 were a single freeway, called the Helix Freeway. Eastbound motorists must take an exit to stay on C-94.

The words "M L King Jr Fwy" have been added to some of the signs for C-94.

The non-freeway portion of C-94 is described on the page devoted to California Highway 94.

C-94 Eastbound

C-94 Westbound

8. California Highway 125 (Helix Freeway, South Bay Expressway)


The interchange between C-125 and C-94 is rather complex, being the result of several major changes in both highways. Many years ago, the part of C-125 south of this interchange did not exist, and the part of C-94 east of it was not a freeway. At that time, C-125 and the western part of C-94 appeared to be a single freeway.

The part of C-125 south of C-54 is a toll road, the only one in San Diego County. It is also called the South Bay Expressway. For more information, see www.southbayexpressway.com.

Bicycles are allowed on the shoulders of C-125 south of the Birch Rd. exit. There is no toll for bicycles.

Note: Jamacha is pronounced HAM-uh-shaw.

C-125 Northbound

C-125 Southbound

9. California Highway 78


The non-freeway portion of C-78 is described on the page devoted to California Highway 78.

C-78 Eastbound

C-78 Westbound

10. California Highway 52 (San Clemente Canyon Freeway)


This freeway is sometimes called the Soledad Freeway.

Although bicycles are permitted on freeway shoulders in a number of places in San Diego County, the part of C-52 between Santo Rd and Mast Blvd is the only freeway that actually has bike lanes. At the time of this writing (March 19, 2011), bicycles going in both directions are required to share a single lane on the north side, which is separated from the rest of the freeway by K-rail barriers. This arrangement appears to be permanent.

The part of La Jolla Parkway (formerly Ardath Road) between Ardath Lane and the interchange with I-5 might reasonably be considered a westward extension of this freeway. It has a fenced right of way, and the junction with La Jolla Scenic Drive looks like an unfinished freeway interchange. Therefore, it is included on this list as part of C-52.

C-52 Eastbound

C-52 Westbound

11. California Highway 54 (South Bay Freeway)


There are carpool lanes on C-54 from just east of I-805 to Briarwood Rd. The westbound carpool lane is reserved for carpools during the morning rush hour, and the eastbound carpool lane is reserved for carpools during the afternoon rush hour.

The former intersection with Worthington Street and Sweetwater Road has been obliterated by the interchange with C-125.

This freeway is also signed as the "Filipino-American Highway".

C-54 used to run farther east and north to join I-8 in El Cajon. However, this part is now poorly marked and hard to follow. Here are some useful directions:

Continue onto norhtbound C-125 and take the Jamacha Blvd, Paradise Valley Rd exit. Turn right on Jamacha Blvd. and follow it to its end. Turn right on C-94, which is also called Campo Rd. Where C-94 and Campo Road turn right, continue straight ahead on Jamacha Rd. Follow Jamacha Rd. east and north to the interchange with I-8. (Jamacha Rd. becomes Second St. when it crosses Main St.)
Take the 2nd St exit from I-8. (The exit signs contain blank spaces which once contained C-54.) Go south on 2nd St., which becomes Jamacha Rd. when it crosses Main St. Follow Jamacha Rd. until it is joined by C-94. Continue straight ahead and turn left onto Jamacha Blvd., which is also signed as San Diego County Highway S17. Follow Jamacha Blvd. to the interchange with C-125. Enter C-125 SOUTH. The first exit is C-54 WEST.

This part of C-54 is now signed as such only on Jamacha Rd. between the junction with Campo Rd. and the El Cajon city limit. In the city of El Cajon, it is signed only as C-54 Business. West of the intersection of Jamacha Rd. and Campo Rd. it is signed in some places as County Highway S17.

Note: Jamacha is pronounced HAM-uh-shaw.

C-54 Eastbound

C-54 Westbound

12. California Highway 56 (Ted Williams Parkway)


On July 19, 2004, the last segment of C-56 was opened. This freeway now connects I-5 and I-15.

Camino Del Sur was formerly called Camino Ruiz. The old signs have been removed, but the old name appeared in some editions of the Thomas Guide before 2005.

Carmel Valley Road, which was once a continuous east-west road, has been severed and realigned by the construction of C-56. The western part begins on old Highway 101 (N. Torrey Pines Rd. and Camino Del Mar) and runs west under I-5, coming to an end on El Camino Real a short distance east of I-5. This part is mentioned on some freeway signs on I-5 and C-56 in this area.

The rest of Carmel Valley Road begins at the Carmel Valley Road exit from C-56, runs east and slightly north to meet Black Mountain Road, and continues northeast to meet Dove Canyon Road and Bernardo Center Drive.

C-56 formerly fed directly into a different alignment of Carmel Valley Road which has been renamed Old Carmel Valley Road. The direct connection with C-56 has been closed, but the road remains open because it provides access to some residential areas north of C-56.

An old street sign at the intersection of Carmel Valley Road and Rancho Santa Fe Farms Road erroneously identified Carmel Valley Road as Black Mountain Road on July 17, 2004. Old timers may remember when that section was called Black Mountain Road, but it is now an anachronism that should be corrected soon.

There is no direct connection from southbound I-5 to eastbound C-56, or from westbound C-56 to northbound I-5. Drivers making these connections are directed onto surface streets.

For historical information about this particular freeway, see Grant Cooper's Highway 56 Information Page.

This freeway was named after the late Ted Williams, a famous baseball player who was born and raised in San Diego.

C-56 Eastbound

C-56 Westbound

13. California Highway 67 (San Vicente Freeway)


This freeway is signed as the "CHP Officer Christopher D. Lydon Memorial Freeway".

The non-freeway portion of C-67 is described on the page devoted to California Highway 67.

C-67 Northbound

C-67 Southbound

14. California Highway 905


This highway runs mostly east and west, although it has an odd number. The eastern portion does turn south.

In July 2012, the freeway was completed. However, some construction was still in progress during the latest survey, so some mileages may not be accurate.

C-905 Eastbound

C-905 Westbound

15. Kearny Villa Road

The 2.6-mile portion of Kearny Villa Road between the junction with C-163 and the intersection of Miramar Road might reasonably be described as a freeway, although it is open to bicyclists and pedestrians. The right of way is fenced, there is a substantial barrier in the median, and there are full interchanges at Harris Plant Rd and Miramar Way. In fact, before the parallel portion of I-15 was built, it was a freeway.

Kearny Villa Road Northbound

Kearny Villa Road Southbound

16. Epilogue

This material was first compiled during the first seven months of 1995, with many subsequent additions and changes. While care has been taken to ensure accurate information, in a list of this size some errors and omissions are likely. A number of freeways are under construction at any given time, and changes in exit signs may be expected. Therefore, complete accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

The raw data from which this list was compiled is available in dBase III format.

-- Philip J. Erdelsky, pje@efgh.com

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