Interstate 215 in California was originally U.S. 395 between Murrieta and San Bernardino. Signed as Interstate 15E in the 1970s, Interstate 215 was completed by the 1990s. Interstate 215 provides access to the fast-growing communities of the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties).
Plans call for a major reconstruction of Interstate 215 in San Bernardino to be conducted in the near future. Part of this project will be the elimination of the cloverleaf connection to stay on Interstate 215 at Junction California 60 and California 91.
Contrary to some older maps, Interstate 215 is fully signed as an Interstate for its entire length; California 215 along the non-freeway (expressway) sections was eliminated back in the 1990s with the completion of the freeway between California 60 and California 74.
Northbound Interstate 15 approaches Exit 63, Northbound Interstate 215, one and a half miles. Note the use of arrows on this overhead signage. Interstate 215 follows the original U.S. 395 route through Sun City, Perris, Moreno Valley, Riverside, Colton, and San Bernardino. It was upgraded to full freeway by the 1990s, and the most significant bottleneck along the route is the cloverleaf interchange between Interstate 215, California 60, and California 91 in Riverside. Photo taken 01/20/04.
To reach Moreno Valley and Perris, use Interstate 215. In addition, to reach Palm Springs, use Interstate 215 north to either California 74 east or California 60 east. At this interchange, note that the control city for Interstate 15 changes from Riverside to Corona/Los Angeles, while Interstate 215 picks up Riverside and San Bernardino. Photo taken 01/20/04.
Northbound Interstate 15 approaches Exit 63, Northbound Interstate 215, three-quarters of a mile. Interstate 15 avoids the larger cities of Riverside and San Bernardino, and it is the faster through route to points north of the Inland Empire, such as Barstow and Las Vegas (see next photo box). It passes through Lake Elsinore, then enters the Inland Empire at Corona, passing by the agriculture and industry of Norco, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, and Fontana before meeting Interstate 215 near Devore. Note the city of Temecula sign that is partially obscured by shrubs and trees on the hill to the east of the freeway. Photo taken 01/20/04.
Since Interstate 15 is a more direct route through the Inland Empire, it is the best route to take for destinations in the high desert, Nevada, or beyond. This is the first sign featuring the control cities of Barstow or Las Vegas along northbound. Due to the high volume of automobile traffic headed to Las Vegas from points as far south as San Diego, this sign is very helpful. Interstate 215 of course is an alternate route, but it is slower due to its interchange with California 60/California 91 and because it generally has only four lanes rather than six lanes. Old U.S. 395 splits away from Interstate 15 at this interchange; it opts to follow Interstate 215 through Riverside and San Bernardino before rejoining Interstate 15 near Cajon Pass. Photo taken 01/20/04.
Northbound Interstate 15 approaches Exit 63, Northbound Interstate 215 (advance lane signage). Although Interstate 15 is four lanes along northbound here, this interchange will take two lanes onto Interstate 215 and leave three lanes along northbound at least to Lake Elsinore. Once in the Inland Empire, Interstate 15 again has at least four lanes in each direction. Photo taken 01/20/04.
This mileage sign (after Exit 4, Clinton Keith Road along southbound Interstate 215) provides the distance to the final two exits along southbound Interstate 215: Exit 2, Los Alamos Road and Exit 1, Murrieta Hot Springs Road. Immediately after Exit 1, Interstate 215 southbound merges directly onto southbound Interstate 15. The interchange with Winchester Road (California 79) is another mile south of the Interstate 15/215 merge. The merge with Interstate 15, however, is not shown on this mileage sign. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Use Exit 2, Los Alamos Road to reach the city of Murrieta. Murrieta is the southern terminus of Interstate 215. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Southbound Interstate 215 reaches Exit 2, Los Alamos Road in Murrieta. Photo taken 05/17/05.
The final interchange along southbound Interstate 215 is Exit 1, Murrieta Hot Springs Road. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Use Murrieta Hot Springs Road west to connect to northbound Interstate 15. For through traffic to southbound Interstate 15, use Interstate 215 south. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Southbound Interstate 215 reaches Exit 1, Murrieta Hot Springs Road. Immediately after this offramp, Interstate 15 comes into view, and Interstate 215 begins to transition back onto its parent route. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Interstate 15 is visible in the distance immediately after the Murrieta Hot Springs Road overpass. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Even as southbound Interstate 215 climbs onto an overpass over Interstate 15, an Interstate 215 reassurance shield is posted. It would make more sense for this to be an END Interstate 215 shield, but it is not. In fact, there still no signed warning that Interstate 215 is about to merge with Interstate 15. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Southbound Interstate 215 crosses over Interstate 15. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Interstate 215 swings wide, allowing room for future expansion of the interchange. Now the two southbound lanes prepare to merge onto southbound Interstate 15. Photo taken 05/17/05.
A large warning sign warns of stopped traffic due to the number of cars merging between Interstate 15, Interstate 215, and California 79 (Winchester Road). Photo taken 05/17/05.
After the merge is complete, southbound Interstate 15 next approaches its first interchange with California 79 northbound (Winchester Road). This is the first interchange that serves the city of Temecula. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Northbound Interstate 215 at Exit 54A, Devore Road. This exit connects the freeway to the community of Devore, and it also links to Old U.S. 66-91-395. The next exit is a ramp to southbound Interstate 15. Photo taken 11/14/04.
A bit of snow dusted the tops of the peaks of the San Bernardino Mountains as Interstate 215 north reaches Exit 54A, Junction Interstate 15 South. Photo taken 11/14/04.
A lonely north Interstate 15 trailblazer indicates that Interstate 215 ends and Interstate 15 resumes. In the past, U.S. 66-91-395 continued north from here up toward Cajon Summit. Photo taken 11/14/04.
Perspective from Interstate 15 North
The final major interchange within the Inland Empire is Exit 123, Junction Interstate 215. Access is provided to southbound Interstate 215, and northbound traffic merges with Interstate 215 after the interchange in preparation for the ascent up Cajon Summit. Photo taken 01/20/04.
In the aftermath of the devastating wildfires from October 2003, Devore made the news as the location of a mudslide that killed several people at a religious camp during a fierce downpour in a storm later in the season. Devore is also the northern terminus of Interstate 215. Photo taken 01/20/04.
Interstate 215 follows old U.S. 395 south into San Bernardino, then continues into Colton, Riverside, and Perris before reaching its southern terminus at Murrieta. Although it parallels Interstate 15, it is not always a good alternative due to the construction project at the Interstate 215/California 60/California 91 interchange. Once that reconstruction project is complete, Interstate 215 will have a direct connection that will preclude the use of the cloverleaf interchange ramps. Photo taken 01/20/04.
Northbound Interstate 15 at Exit 123A, Interstate 215 Southbound in Devore. Photo taken 01/20/04.
Perspective from Interstate 15 South
Winding down from the Cajon Summit, Interstate 15 approaches it first freeway interchange since Barstow at Exit 123, Junction Interstate 215 south to San Bernardino and Riverside. This odd guide sign makes the interchange appear like the southbound freeway ends at a T-intersection, but it is much gentler than that! Photo taken 06/27/04.
The second guide sign for the pending Interstate 215 interchange is much more illustrative of the interchange, as the freeway will split, with Interstate 215 following the left lanes and Interstate 15 taking the right lanes. Photo taken 06/27/04.
Interstate 15 widens into six lanes, with the three left lanes heading toward Interstate 215 and the three right lanes heading toward Interstate 15 south. Interstate 215 follows old U.S. 66-91-395 south through downtown San Bernardino, then heads south to Colton, Riverside, Moreno Valley, Perris, Sun City, Murrieta, and Temecula. Photo taken 06/27/04.
At this point, Interstate 15 and Interstate 215 split. Through traffic en route to San Diego, Corona, Los Angeles (via California 210, Interstate 10, or California 60), or Orange County (via California 91) is best served by Interstate 15. An archaic interchange between Interstate 215/California 60/California 91 in Riverside (it is a cloverleaf!) generally causes daily traffic delays, and a construction project to reconfigure the interchange will likely result in further delays during the short-term. Photo taken 06/27/04.
Scenes Pertaining to Interstate 215
Temporary Interstate 15E
A remnant of the former Interstate 15E designation remained in place until mid-2008. This mileage sign was found on southbound Perris Boulevard just before the junction with California 74 in Perris. This mileage sign provided the distance to Temporary Interstate 15E, which is now Interstate 215. Photo taken by Mike Ballard (01/07/07).