Friday, May 30, 2014

Spurs, Bypasses and Beltways: Southern California


Los Angeles has a maze of highways and many of them are interstates, but not all of them. Travelers would not be able to tell the difference. Interstate 5 travels on a diagonal from the northwest to the southeast through the Los Angeles area. (Remember in this area the "I" is not used before the highway number, so honoring that, I will use "the" in front of the number.) The 105 runs east-west for 17.32 miles joining SR 1 in El Segundo to the 605. This highway does not connect to the 5. To get to the 5 drivers would have to take the 605 north three exits.

Getty Center, Los Angeles, California View fro...
Getty Center, Los Angeles, California View from California Interstate 405 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The 405 is probably the most famous in this area. This highway, which is also known as the San Diego Freeway, is over 72 miles long and is famous for its long traffic times. The 5 comes down the mountain from Santa Clarita and enters the San Fernando Valley. The 405 departs from the 5 and heads to the west. While the 5 travels along the eastern edge of the valley, the 405 travels through the middle. Leaving the valley, the 405 climbs the Santa Monica mountains and heads into the LA basin. This is the closest interstate to LAX. At Lawndale the 405 turns east and continues near Long Beach, Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa before rejoining the 5 in Irvine. The 605, which is just over 27 miles long, heads south from its juncture with the 210 and joins the 405 just north of Seal Beach.

Interstate 10 travels from the east to west across the Los Angeles area and has several auxiliary highways. The 110 has a length of 20.43 miles and runs north to south. It begins as the Pasadena Freeway and becomes the Harbor Freeway at the 10 before ending in San Pedro near Long Beach Harbor. The 210 has an east-west direction of 48.52 miles. It leaves the 5 north of San Fernando and travels to the southeast along the Verdugo Mountains. In Pasadena it turns east and takes over the route of the 134. This highway, which is also known as the Foothill Freeway, runs to the south of the San Gabriel Mountains and joins the 15 south of the Cajon Pass. The highway continues as SR210 before curving south to join the 10. Both roads together total 86 miles. Almost 20 miles of the 710 runs in a north-south direction. It begins at Valley Boulevard in Alhambra and ends at Terminal Island in Long Beach.

Those are the interstates. What about the 101, the 134 and the 170? Those are not interstates, but who can tell the difference. The 101 comes in from the west and then turns south to the 5. At that juncture of the turn south, the 134 begins and travels east until it tuns into the 210 at Pasadena. The 170 leaves the 5 and travels south between the 5 and the 405 until it reaches the 134.

After Interstate 15 travels down the Cajon Pass, the 215 splits off and travels to the east of 15 for almost 55 miles. San Bernardino and Riverside are joined by this highway before it ends in Murrieta. Leaving the 5 near the University of California - San Diego is the 805. It travels just over 28 miles to the east of the 5 through San Diego.

Travelers in this area should be aware of rush hour traffic times. Also major events for sports and concerts produce traffic jams. Checking SigAlert before driving in this area is always a good idea.
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