Interstate 805, the Jacob Dekema Freeway, is a well-traveled route serving the inland communities within the cities of San Diego, National City, and Chula Vista in San Diego County. The freeway is a well-traveled commuter route, connecting the border zone with the homes of Eastlake and the light industry of Sorrento Valley. Currently much of the highway is eight lanes, and plans call for the addition of a high-occupancy vehicle lane in each direction.
Looking north from the Roscoe Hazard Bridge (which carries Adams Avenue over Interstate 805, Mission Valley and the symmetrical stack Interstate 8 interchange are visible in the distance. Photo taken 04/14/05.
Much of Interstate 805 was constructed during the 1970s along what was a largely rural route at that time. There was no original U.S. or state route along its route. However, with the explosion of development in Chula Vista and San Diego, the freeway now provides access to thousands of homeowners. The only portion of Interstate 805 to pass through land that was already extensively developed at the time of construction was through Mission Valley and Mid-City. Interstate 805 flies over Mission Valley on its towering bridge, while it follows the historic boundary between San Diego and East San Diego (which today are both part of San Diego). In fact, Boundary Street, the former dividing line, now acts as a frontage road for portions of Interstate 805 between California 94 and Interstate 8.
Currently, construction is underway to improve the northern interchange of Interstate 805 with Interstate 5. This $176 million project includes construction of a dual freeway/truck bypass, high occupancy vehicle lanes, connections to California 56, and expansion of the number of lanes. Completion is expected in January 2007. For more on this project, visit Caltrans' District 11 Interstate 5/805 Fact Sheet (PDF file).
With two chokepoints for north-south traffic (the merges of Interstate 5 and 805 in Sorrento Valley and Interstate 15 and California 163 in Miramar), some politicos would like to see construction of a third north-south freeway to serve the rapidly developing north part of San Diego County. While some have considered the California 67-125 corridor as an option, others consider it too far east to relieve congestion effectively. A northern extension of Interstate 805 to Oceanside parallel to Interstate 5 could be considered, but it would come at an enormous cost: environmental concerns, eminent domain of developed land, and passage through some of the wealthiest corners of San Diego County make such a route very unlikely to come to fruition. However, while the concept of the third north-south freeway is still mentioned occasionally in the newspapers, it is not on the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) web page.
Southern Terminus - Interstate 5 - San Ysidro in the city of San Diego, California
Perspective from Interstate 805/Dekema Freeway south
Southbound Interstate 805 approaching Exit 1, Camino de la Plaza, one-half mile and the International Border, one mile. Photo taken by Andy Field and Casey Cooper (09/01/03).
The southbound freeway ends in one-half mile at the point where Interstate 5 enters Mexico. Although there are these large yellow signs, there are no END Interstate 805 shield assemblies present. Photo taken by Andy Field and Casey Cooper (09/01/03).
View of southbound Interstate 5 as seen from southbound Interstate 805. A picture of this bridge is featured on the perspective from Interstate 5 south, below. Photo taken by Andy Field and Casey Cooper (09/01/03).
As southbound Interstate 805 approaches the International Border with Mexico, left lane traffic is signed for Mexico, while right lane traffic is signed for the last U.S. exit (at Camino de la Plaza). Photo taken by Andy Field and Casey Cooper (09/01/03).
Southbound Interstate 805 approaching Camino de la Plaza (next right) and the end of the freeway, one-quarter mile. Upon passing into Mexico, the freeway quickly changes into an older, urban feel. Once in Mexico, motorists must pay close attention to the signs to remain on the road that leads to their destination. Photo taken by Andy Field and Casey Cooper (09/01/03).
Interstate 805 merges onto Interstate 5 from the right at the same point as the last U.S. exit (at Camino de la Plaza). Photo taken by Andy Field and Casey Cooper (09/01/03).
Perspective from Interstate 5/Montgomery Freeway south
This mileage sign is the first one along southbound to acknowledge either Tijuana or Ensenada, two cities located in Baja California, Mexico, along Mexico Federal Route 1-D. Photo taken 05/22/04.
Mileage sign along southbound Interstate 5 for the next three exits: Exit 2, Dairy Mart Road/San Ysidro Boulevard; Exit 1B, Via de San Ysidro; and Exit 1A, Camino de la Plaza. Photo taken 05/22/04.
Guns and ammunition are illegal in Mexico. Photo taken 05/22/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 2, Dairy Mart Road/San Ysidro Boulevard. Photo taken 05/22/04.
The next exit along southbound is Exit 1B, Via de San Ysidro, followed by Exit 1A, Camino de la Plaza. Photo taken 05/22/04.
This is the final mileage sign along southbound Interstate 5. It features the distance to the final two exits -- Exit 1B, Via de San Ysidro and Exit 1A, Camino de la Plaza -- and the border crossing. Interstate 5 ends in 1.25 miles. Photo taken 05/22/04.
Again, motorists are reminded not to bring guns and ammunition into Mexico. This kind of sign (white and yellow) is more typically found at the Arizona border crossings. Photo taken 05/22/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 at Exit 1B, Via de San Ysidro; the final exit along southbound is Exit 1A, Camino de la Plaza. All other through traffic is defaulted into Mexico. Photo taken 05/22/04.
Interstate 5 ends in 0.75 mile; if Mexican officials are stopping traffic at the border, delays may occur even as far north as here. Interstates 5 and 805 terminate at the International Border with Mexico in the San Diego community of San Ysidro. This border crossing is the busiest in the country due to the commuter and commercial traffic crossing its gates every day. Southbound Interstate 805 ends at the merge with Interstate 5, but there are no END Interstate 805 shield assemblies. Similarly, Interstate 5 has no END assembly. Instead, large yellow signs pronounce that the freeway ends. Interstate 5 ends about a half-mile south of the merge with Interstate 805. Photo taken 05/22/04.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches its final offramp prior to the International Border: Exit 1A, Camino de la Plaza. Photo taken 05/22/04.
Use Exit 1A, Camino de la Plaza, to reach the outlet shops, border shops, transit center, pedestrian walkway into Mexico, and parking areas. All through traffic from here is defaulted into Mexico. With the exception of a U-Turn that must be taken from the far left lane, there is no return access to the United States. The ramp/bridge in the background carries Interstate 805 to its southern terminus as it merges into Interstate 5. Photo taken 05/22/04.
To declare items to the Mexican authorities, use the right lane. All other lanes are subject to random searches at the request of officials. Photos taken 05/22/04 and 12/03/06.
Traffic from Interstate 805 merges onto Interstate 5 from the right. Another sign reminds those with items to declare to use the right lane. Photo taken 12/03/06.
The left becomes exit only for the last U-Turn before the border crossing. Note the change in pavement lane striping. Photos taken 12/03/06.
The left lane becomes exit only for the last U-Turn back into the United States. The remaining four lanes continue south across the International Border to Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. A yellow "END FREEWAY" sign is posted on this overpass. Photo taken 12/03/06.
The U-Turn lane becomes separated from the other lanes by a jersey barrier. The main lanes are segregated, with the left lanes for cars with no declarations and the right lane for cars with something to declare. Photo taken 12/03/06.
Interstate 5 comes to an end at this point, as the freeway defaults into the International Border. This is the single busiest border crossing in the United States. For those in the U-Turn Only Lane, note the U-Turn to USA roadside sign partially obscured by a fence on the left. Photo taken 12/03/06.
This U-Turn to USA sign marks the point where the left lane turns north, forming the left lane of northbound Interstate 5. Photo taken 12/03/06.
Perspective from Mexico Federal Route 1 south
No pictures are currently available.
Perspective from Mexico Federal Route 1 north
No pictures are currently available.
Perspective from Interstate 5/Montgomery Freeway north
The first exit along Northbound Interstate 5 is Exit 1A, Interstate 805 Northbound. Within moments of departing the northbound Port of Entry/Customs Station at the Mexican International Border, these signs immediately greet motorists. In addition to motorists from the border crossing, traffic may also reach this point by taking the last U-Turn along southbound or by taking the on-ramp from San Ysidro Boulevard onto northbound Interstate 5. Photo taken 05/22/04.
Northbound Interstate 5 reaches the Interstate 5/805 split. These signs are posted immediately after the customs station at the International Port of Entry. Interstate 5 remains closer to the bay and coast, while Interstate 805 marches the inland communities of the San Diego metropolitan area. They rejoin in the northern San Diego neighborhood of Sorrento Valley. Photo taken 05/22/04.
Northern Terminus - Interstate 5 - Sorrento Valley in the city of San Diego, California
Perspective from Interstate 805/Dekema Freeway north
The next exit along northbound Interstate 805 is Exit 27B, Sorrento Valley Road. Due to environmental concerns associated with the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, there is no connection to Carmel Valley Road via Sorrento Valley Road. Use Vista Sorrento Parkway or Interstate 5 instead to connect to Carmel Valley Road. Photo taken 03/24/06.
A temporary construction sign provides information on the ongoing construction project at the Interstate 5/Interstate 805 while. At the time of this scene, the northbound local bypass had just opened, but the southbound local bypass had not. Photo taken 03/24/06.
This is the final northbound Interstate 805 shield. Photo taken 03/24/06.
Interstate 805 splits into its through lanes and local bypass ahead of California 56. The through lanes merge onto northbound Interstate 5, while the local bypass lanes connect to Exit 32, Carmel Mountain Road, and Exit 33A, Junction California 56 East. Use the main lanes to Carmel Valley Road and destinations from that point northward. Trucks are encouraged, but not required, to use the local bypass. Photo taken 03/24/06.
A high occupancy vehicle lane added to northbound Interstate 805. The lane travels through the merge and rejoins mainline Interstate 5 traffic at Via de la Valle. Plans call for this lane to be extended both north and south of its current extent. Photo taken 03/24/06.
Northbound Interstate 805 splits, with the four left lanes connecting onto mainline Interstate 5 and the right two lanes transitioning onto the local bypass. The overpass in the distance is Interstate 5, which will merge onto Interstate 805 from the right. Photo taken 03/24/06.
This mileage sign provides the distance to Exit 29, Junction Interstate 5; Exit 33B, Carmel Valley Road; and Exit 34, Del Mar Heights Road. Photo taken 03/24/06.
Prior to 1999, there was an END Interstate 805 shield assembly at this point, but was removed at the beginning of the construction for the carpool/HOV lanes. Photo taken 03/24/06.
Interstate 805 carries four lanes under the Interstate 5 flyover ramp. These four lanes will become the main lanes for northbound Interstate 5. Trucks in the right lane should be mindful of the merging traffic incoming from northbound Interstate 5. All four right lanes (incoming from Interstate 5) either end or become exit-only, so that only five lanes remain north of Del Mar Heights Road. This interchange is planned for conversion into a dual freeway, which will provide for a truck bypass (dedicated truck lanes) as well as separation of local and express traffic. Photo taken 03/24/06.
The high occupancy vehicle lane appears on the left lane of the freeway. Photo taken 03/24/06.
Interstate 805 north comes to an end at the Interstate 5 merge. This merge point is frequently backed up during peak time hours, and delays may be likely when the road is expanded into a dual freeway. The explosion of traffic along Interstate 5 north of California 56 is due to the growth of new housing in previously undeveloped portions of the county. So much growth has occurred that talk has resurfaced about not only expanding existing road and rail facilities but also consideration of a third parallel north-south freeway. Such a new freeway would be very expensive and would be very, very controversial. It all depends on the severity of traffic jams along Interstates 5 and 15. Photo taken 03/24/06.
Perspective from Interstate 5/San Diego Freeway south
Now traveling south on Interstate 5/San Diego Freeway, the first appearance of Interstate 805 is on this mileage sign located after the Del Mar Heights Road interchange (Exit 34). The next three exits are Exit 33, Carmel Valley Road to Junction California 56/Ted Williams Freeway; Exit 32, Carmel Mountain Road (via Local Bypass only); and Exit 31, Junction Interstate 805/Jacob Dekema Freeway south. Photo taken 07/22/07.
After traffic enters the freeway from the Del Mar Heights Road interchange, the right lanes will become exit only for the Local Bypass and Exit 31, Carmel Valley Road to Junction California 56 east. Photo taken 07/22/07.
Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 33, Carmel Valley Road to Junction California 56/Ted Williams Parkway east to Poway via the northern San Diego communities of Carmel Valley, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Torrey Highlands, and Rancho Peñasquitos. The right two lanes will split shortly thereafter onto the Local Bypass, which provides access to Exit 32, Carmel Mountain Road and then splits into Interstate 5 and Interstate 805 south. Photo taken by 07/22/07.
The Local Bypass splits from the main lanes of Interstate 5 south. The left four lanes plus carpool lane will have no exits for the next two miles. The right two lanes will pick up traffic from California 56 west, then parallel the Interstate 5 main lanes on a dual freeway alignment until the Interstate 805 split at Exit 31. Photo taken by 07/22/07.
This mileage sign along southbound Interstate 5 appears in the shadow of the flyover transition ramp from westbound California 56 to southbound Interstate 5. Interstate 805 is the next exit in two miles, followed by Genesee Avenue. With the expansion project of Interstate 5, an additional exit will be added at Carmel Mountain Road. Note the replacement signage added in 2007 with the opening of the Local Bypass. Photos taken 07/22/07 and 08/15/03.
As southbound Interstate 5 passes under the shadow of neighboring Torrey Hills and its massive slopes, it passes over the Carmel Mountain Road interchange (Exit 32, which is accessible only via the Local Bypass Lanes) and continues to approach Interstate 805. Photos taken 07/22/07 and 08/15/03.
Traffic opting for southbound Interstate 805 should use the left lanes, while traffic for southbound Interstate 5 should use the right lanes. Interstate 805 provides a bypass of Downtown San Diego, however, Interstate 805 can be as busy if not busier than southbound Interstate 5 during commuting hours. Busy sections of Interstate 805 in the afternoon include the segments from Sorrento Valley Road/Mira Mesa Boulevard south to Mission Valley and again from California 94 south to Chula Vista. Much of this traffic increase is a function of the huge job base in Sorrento Valley (Junction Interstate 5/805) and the housing developments in Chula Vista. Photos taken 07/22/07 and 08/15/03.
Between California 56 and Interstate 805, a major widening project expanded the freeway into a dual freeway (with a Local Bypass configuration) as evidenced by the construction barricades in this area in 2003 and the completed dual freeway in 2007. For expansion of the southbound lanes of Interstate 5, a massive fill on the west side was required. Compare the freeway in 2003 with the completed Local Bypass project in 2007. Photos taken by 07/22/07 and 08/15/03.
Southbound Interstate 5 approaches the Interstate 5/805 partial wye interchange. Note there are no traffic movements from Northbound Interstate 5 to Southbound Interstate 805 or from Northbound Interstate 805 to Southbound Interstate 5. Photos taken 07/22/07 and 08/15/03.
Shortly thereafter, southbound Interstate 5/San Diego Freeway reaches Exit 31, Junction Interstate 805/Dekema Freeway south. In the 2003 photo, note the use of reflective signage for Interstate 805 and original, non-reflective signage for Interstate 5. The Interstate 805 sign was replaced in 1999, and it was one of the first reflective signs erected in San Diego County. Both signs were replaced as part of the Local Bypass project in 2007, and a new bridge was built over the split to allow for a Local Bypass connection to southbound Interstate 805. Photos taken 07/22/07 and 08/15/03.
Interstate 5 and Interstate 805 split at this point. Note that the left four lanes connect to Interstate 805 south, while the right four lanes connect to Interstate 5 south to La Jolla and downtown San Diego. The two routes will rejoin just north of the international border with Mexico. Interstate 805 is the shorter route (in miles) to Mexico from this point. Photo taken 07/22/07.