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Interstate 210 and California State Route 210 on the Foothill Freeway

This past December I was passing through the Los Angeles Area on a weekend I took a detour onto Interstate 210 eastbound on the Foothill Freeway to California State Route 2.  I-210 and CA 210 on the Foothill Freeway essentially serve as the closest thing to a Los Angeles bypass that the L.A. Metro Area has.

I-210/CA 210 on the Foothill Freeway is an approximately 85.31 mile highway which begins at I-5 in the northern outskirts of Los Angeles and travels east to I-10 in Redlands of San Bernardino County.  I-210 exists as the 44.9 mile segment of the Foothill Freeway between I-5 and CA 57 whereas CA 210 makes up the remaining 40.41 miles east to I-10.  I-210 originally utilized CA 57 from Glendora south on the Orange Freeway to I-10.  CA 57 south to I-10 is still FHWA recognized as part of I-210 which likely won't change until California seeks approval to add CA 210 to the Interstate System.

Part 1; the history of I-210 and CA 210

I-210 was approved as a chargeable Interstate during September of 1955 according to CAhighways.  As noted above I-210 was originally aligned between I-5 and I-10.  In 1998 CA 30 was legislatively redefined as part of Route 210.  In 1999 a request to add CA 30 to I-210 was submitted to the AASHTO but was quickly withdrawn.  The adding of CA 30 to the Interstate System required it be rebuilt to Interstate Standards.  It wasn't until late 2009 that CA 210 fully replaced CA 30 as a field signed route (hence why CA 30 appears on the map above since it is a scan from the 2005 Caltrans State Map).  Since 1999 no agency in California has sought to reapply to have CA 210 added to be the Interstate System.

The Foothill Freeway is discussed during the January/February 1957 California Highways and Public Works Guide as being added to the early Interstate System.  The Foothill Freeway is cited to be the only planned Interstate freeway route around Los Angeles not to have a determined routing.


Understanding the development of I-210/CA 210 requires an understanding of the history of many notable highways that have crossed the Los Angeles and San Bernardino areas.  I tend to prefer breaking I-210/CA 210 into the following segments:

-  From I-5 in northern Los Angeles to Pasadena.
-  Pasadena east to Glendora.
-  Glendora east to Redlands.

Part 1A; Northern Los Angeles east to Pasadena; a historic corridor of US Route 99 and CA 118

The early State Highway between Northern Los Angeles and San Fernando east to Pasadena was part of Legislative Route 9.  Legislative Route Number 9 was first added to the State Highway System during the First State Highway Bond Act of 1909.  The original definition of LRN 9 was from San Fernando east to San Bernardino.  This segment of LRN 9 would become part of US Route 99 when the US Route System was approved in late 1926.  Originally US 99 bypassed downtown Los Angeles by way San Fernando east to Pasadena via the following route:

-  East from San Fernando Road/LRN 4 on Maclay Avenue.
-  Maclay Avenue east to Michigan Avenue (now Foothill Boulevard).
-  Michigan Avenue east to Montana Street.
-  Montana Street east to Fair Oaks Avenue.
-  Fair Oaks Avenue north into Altendena to Altendena Drive (previously Foothill Boulevard).
-  Altenenda Drive east to US 66 in Pasadena.  

The original route of US 99 between San Fernando and Pasadena can be partially seen on the 1930 Division of Highways State Map.

US 99 was still appears to aligned between San Fernando and Pasadena in 1934 as evidenced by the Division of Highways Map City Insert from the same year.  Interestingly the Division of Highways State Map appears to suggest that US 99 may have followed LRN 4 on south San Fernando Road and turned east on Colorado Boulevard on LRN 161 to reach US 66 in Pasadena.

1933 was a landmark year in terms of State wide transportation and a key reason US 99 was moved off LRN 9 between San Fernando and Pasadena onto LRN 4 into Los Angeles.  The State Legislature removed restrictions that prevented State Funds from being used to maintain urban roadways.  This change by the Legislature led to the addition of numerous urban highways being adopted including the extension of LRN 9 to Ventura.

The shift of US 99 into Los Angeles via LRN 4 likely occurred in early 1935.  Much of the shift of US 99 into downtown Los Angeles was documented previously on the Arroyo Seco Parkway blog.

The Arroyo Seco Parkway and early US 66 terminus points in downtown Los Angeles

In a August 1934 California Highways and Public Works Guide the Signed State Highways were announced.  CA 118 was announced to be aligned along LRN 9 from US 101/LRN 2 near El Rio via San Fernando to US 66/LRN 9 in Pasadena.  CA 118 can be seen on a State Wide Map on Page 21 and the routing can be seen on Page 32.

The Signed State Highways functionally became effective at the advent of the New Year of 1935.  The original surface alignment of CA 118 absorbed what was US 99 on LRN 9 between San Fernando and Pasadena.

The route of early CA 118 between Pasadena and San Fernando can be seen on this 1935 Goshua Highway Map of Los Angeles.  The 1935 Goshua Highway Map shows all the roadways described above between Pasadena and Los Angeles signed as Foothill Boulevard.  The alignment of CA 118 appears to take a simplified route from US 66/LRN 9 on Colorado Street up Fair Oaks Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue to Foothill Boulevard on a bypass of Altendena.

In December of 1940 the Arroyo Seco Parkway was completed which led to US 66 being realigned.  The shift in US 66 appears to have extended CA 134 east on Colorado Street past the eastern terminus of CA 118 on Fair Oaks Boulevard.  This can be seen on the 1940 Division of Highways State Map City Insert.

According to in 1955 part a small part of CA 118 between Gould Avenue in La Canada Flintridge and Montana Avenue in Pasadena was completed to freeway standards.  This new segment of freeway can be seen on the 1958 Division of Highways State Map City Insert and was later bypassed by I-210 on the Foothill Freeway when it was built over the Arroyo Seco in 1974.

CA 118 between Gould Avenue in La Canada Flintridge to Montana Avenue is seen on the January/February 1957 California Highways and Public Works Guide as a completed freeway in a District 7 report.

CA 118 essentially went through the 1964 California State Highway Renumbering unchanged in regards to field signage.  That said, the route of CA 118 was slated to undergo massive changes starting with the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.   CA 118 between Pasadena and San Fernando was assigned LRN 210 in anticipation I-210/Foothill Freeway being built eastward towards I-10.   CA 118 itself was legislatively extended from San Fernando through the San Gabriel Mountains via Big Tujunga Canyon on what had been defined as LRN 266 in 1963 to the planned CA 249.  All changes relating to CA 118 during the California State Highway Renumbering can be observed by comparing the 1963 Division of Highways State Map to the 1964 Edition.

1963 Division of Highways Map

1964 Division of Highways Map

The 1979 Caltrans State Highway Map City Insert shows the Simi Valley Freeway completed between Balboa Boulevard east to I-210.  CA 118 and I-210 are shown to be co-signed on the incomplete Foothill Freeway east to Pasadena.

The 1981 Caltrans State Highway Map City Insert shows CA 118 truncated to an east terminus at I-210 on the Foothill Freeway near San Fernando.  I-210 is shown to be complete from Northern Los Angeles east to Pasadena.  The final segment of I-210 to be built to Interstate Standards between San Fernando and Pasadena was Obsorn Street to Sunland Boulevard by 1983 according to

Part 1B; the corridor of US 66/LRN 9 and Legislative Route 240 from Pasadena to Glendora

Traditionally the historic corridor between Pasadena and Glendora was part of US Route 66 on LRN 9.  As noted above in Part 1A this segment of LRN 9 was part of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act.  Also noted in Part 1A US 66 originally shared the corridor of LRN 9 between Pasadena and Glendora with US 99.  US 66 can be seen on the 1930 Division of Highways Map City Insert departing Pasadena via Colorado Boulevard eastward before taking a northward jog on Altadena Drive to US 99 at Foothill Boulevard.

US 66/US 99 eastward on LRN 9 would have taken Foothill Boulevard into Monrovia where they jogged south on Shamrock Avenue to Huntington Drive.  US 66/US 99 on LRN 9 followed Huntington Drive onto Foothill Boulevard (then Center Street) approaching downtown Azusa.  US 66/US 99 on LRN 9 continued east to Foothill Boulevard (then Alosta Avenue) towards Glendora.  The 1934 Division of Highways Map shows US 66/US 99 on their original corridor on the City Insert but the State Map shows that LRN 161 was seemingly adopted to straighten the through highway.  This corridor of LRN 161 east of Pasadena was aligned on Colorado Boulevard, Colorado Place and Huntington Drive to Monrovia.

US 66 can be seen moved to LRN 161 between Pasadena and Monrovia on the 1936-37 Division of Highways State Map City Insert.  As noted above US 99 had been routed through downtown Los Angeles off of a multiplex of US 66.

In 1957 LRN 240 was added to the State Highway System according to as a planned freeway route between the planned extension of the Hollywood Freeway east to Ponoma.  LRN 240 from the Hollywood Freeway to Pasadena ultimately would become part of CA 134 on the Ventura Freeway.  LRN 240 from Pasadena east to Pomona was to become part of the Foothill Freeway.  LRN 240 can be first seen on the 1958 Division of Highways Map.

The first completed segment of the Foothill Freeway between Pasadena and Glendora is shown on the 1969 Division of Highway State Map City Insert.  The Foothill Freeway appears in a segment near Arcadia east to Duarte.

The 1970 Division of Highways State Map City Insert shows the Foothill Freeway expanded west towards Monrovia and east towards Azusa.  I-210 first appears on the Pasadena/Glendora corridor for the first time.  It appears that US 66 probably was multiplexed onto the Foothill Freeway by way of CA 39 in Azusa.

The 1975 Caltrans State Map City Insert shows I-210 on the Foothill Freeway complete from the eastern City Limit to I-10 in Pomona. Segments of former US 66 are shown to be legislatively CA 248 but signed as CA 66.

I-210 on the Foothill Freeway is shown complete through Pasadena and connecting to CA 118 on the 1977 Caltrans State Map City Insert.

Part 1C; the evolution of CA 30 into CA 210

What is now CA 210 between Glendora east to Redlands was carved from what was the later alignment of CA 30.  The corridor of what is now CA 210 between Glendora and Redlands first entered the State Highway System as a segment of LRN 190 (which had western origin point in San Dimas at LRN 9) in 1933 according to CAhighways.  LRN 190 east in Redlands connected via spur to LRN 26/US 60/70/99 and continued eastward to Big Bear Lake.  LRN 190 can be first seen on the 1934 Division of Highways State Map.

LRN 190 east from LRN 9 in San Dimas utilized Base Line Road over the San Bernardino County Line.  LRN 190 continued east onto 16th Street where it made a northbound jog onto Mountain Avenue.  From Mountain Avenue LRN 190 turned east onto 19th Street.  LRN 190 made a jog from 19th Street north onto what is now Haven Avenue.  From Haven Avenue LRN 190 made an eastern turn onto Highland Avenue.  LRN 190 continued east through San Bernardino on Highway Avenue and made a southern jog at Boulder Avenue.  LRN 190 continued south on Boulder Avenue and swung east onto Base Line Street.  From Base Line Street LRN 190 swung towards LRN 26 on a zig-zag alignment of streets with a final connection being made via a spur on Orange Street.  The primary route of LRN 190 continued east from Orange Street on Lugonia Avenue towards Big Bear.  This alignment of LRN 190 can be seen on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of San Bernardino County.

CA 30 first appears on the 1954 Division of Highways State Map.  CA 30 is shown originating at US 66/LRN 9 in San Dimas and following LRN 190 east to LRN 207/City Creek Road (LRN 207 was added to the State Highway System in 1937 according to CAhighways) onward towards CA 18/LRN 43 at Running Springs.  Note; some topographical maps show CA 30 originally having a western terminus at US 66/LRN 9 in Upland via Euclid Avenue on LRN 192 . 

The first reference to CA 30 in a California Highways and Public Works Guide was in the November/December 1955 issue under 1956-57 budgeted projects.  The budget item seems to suggest that CA 30 was multiplexing CA 18 east of Running Springs to Big Bear Dam.

The 1957 Division of Highways State Map shows CA 30 multiplexing CA 18 east from Running Springs to Big Bear Lake.  CA 30 ran along the south shore of Big Bear Lake and terminated at CA 18.

During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering CA 106 was assigned on what had been LRN 190 from CA 30/City Creek Road south to I-10 in Redlands.  CA 30 appears to have been truncated back to CA 18 in Running Springs.  These changes can be seen on the 1964 Division of Highways State Map.

A new planned freeway alignment of CA 30 and CA 106 from I-15 to I-10 around San Bernardino appears on the 1965 Division of Highways State Map.

A small proposed connector freeway for CA 30 to reach I-210 on the Foothill Freeway appears on the 1969 Division of Highways State Map between San Dimas east to Claremont.

The planned freeway route for CA 30 from I-210 east to CA 106 appears in far greater detail on the 1970 Division of Highways State Map.  CA 30 from Alta Loma east to Muscoy was planned to be built to freeway standards directly over Highland Avenue.

According to CAhighways CA 30 was realigned over CA 106 in 1972.  What had been CA 30 on City Creek Road was assigned to CA 330.   These changes appear for the first time on the 1975 Caltrans State Map.  The 1975 Caltrans Map also shows the first freeway segments of CA 30 complete in San Dimas and northern San Bernardino.

Part of CA 30 in Redlands in is shown on the 1986 Caltrans State Map to be moved to a new expressway alignment.

According to CAhighways CA 30 was moved to a freeway alignment between Highland and I-10 in Redlands during July of 1993.  In 1997 the remaining Los Angeles County freeway segment of CA 30 began being constructed.  Through 1998 the remaining segments of the CA 30 freeway west from the I-15 interchange began construction.  1998 as noted above was also the year that CA 30 was legislatively changed to Route 210.  CA 210 opened as a freeway from Sierra Avenue in Fontana west to CA 57/I-210 in November of 2002.  According to CAhighways CA 30 remained signed east of I-215 whereas the remaining freeway segment was signed as CA 210.  Oddly the 2005 Caltrans State Map shows I-210 cosigned with CA 30 from CA 57 east to I-215 (it appears that Caltrans may have been jumping the gun).  Most of CA 30 east of I-215 is shown to be to freeway standards with a remaining expressway segment near CA 18/Waterman Avenue.

According to CAhighways the route of CA 210 was completed to freeway standards east of Sierra Avenue to I-10 by 2007.  All freeway CA 30 reassurance shields were reported to be removed by 2008 although some surface shields have been to have remained up to 2009. 

Part 2; a drive on I-210/Foothill Freeway from I-5 east to CA 2

My approach to I-210 and the Foothill Freeway was from I-5 south near Newhall Pass.  Traffic is on I-5 south is advised at the CA 14 interchange that the I-210 is 1.5 miles away.

I-5 south passes under the CA 14 interchange and enters the City of Los Angeles.  Upon entering Los Angeles traffic in the right hand lanes of I-5 are directed onto I-210 eastbound.

I-210 eastbound climbs over I-5 on a flyover ramp and faces the San Gabriel Mountains.

I-210 eastbound Exit 1 accesses Yarnell Street.

I-210 eastbound enters the neighborhood of Sylmar.

I-210 east Exit 2 accesses Roxford Street.

I-210 east Exit 3 accesses Polk Street.

I-210 eastbound Exit 4 accesses Hubbard Street.

I-210 eastbound Exit 5 accesses former US 99/CA 118 on Maclay Avenue and San Fernando.

I-210 eastbound intersects CA 118 at Exit 6A.  Traffic headed to Paxton Street is directed to take Exit 6B.

East of CA 118 the route of I-210 is signed as 18 miles from Pasadena.

I-210 Exit 8 accesses Osborne Street.

I-210 eastbound Exit 9 accesses Wheatland Avenue.

I-210 eastbound begins to climb into the Foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains (hence the name Foothill Freeway) and accesses Sunland Boulevard at Exit 11.

I-210 eastbound winds through a series of scenic canyons and accesses La Tuna Canyon Road at Exit 14.

I-210 east accesses Lowell Avenue at Exit 16 and enters the City of Glendale.

I-210 eastbound Exit 17 accesses Pennsylvania Avenue.

I-210 east Exit 18 accesses Ocean View Boulevard.

I-210 east enters La Canada Flintridge and accesses CA 2 southbound on the Glendale Freeway at Exit 19.

Part 3; I-210/CA 210 points of interest

As stated in Part 1 it seems that Caltrans at one point jumped the gun on putting I-210 on the Foothill Freeway east of CA 57 on their 2005 State Highway Map.  It seems that field signage for CA 210 is set to be replaced at a moments notice by I-210 shields.  Cover plates can be seen on the CA 210 shields on I-210 eastbound on guide signs approaching CA 57.

Interestingly the new signs on I-215 don't have cover plates for the CA 210 shields in San Bernardino.  These signs are easier to vinyl to paste I-210 shields over.

Despite the CA 30 reassurance shields being gone there is evidence of their existence that can be found if you known where to look.  From CA 18 on Waterman Avenue there is a CA 210 shield on a guide sign which is clearly a fresher vinyl cover for a CA 30 shield.

If CA 210 does ever get replaced with I-210 shields it will be a boon to sign collectors.  This oversized CA 210 shield is in my personal collection and posted in my garage.

CA 30 from 2004 through late 2008 can be viewed on the Floodgap/Roadgap website run by Cameron Kaiser.  While CA 30 is certainly remembered in more than one place his site is one of the best places to view CA 30 shields. 


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