State Route 56 Highway 56 Information

Author: Casey Cooper (


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California 56 Freeway Entrance at Carmel Creek Rd.

Highway 56 at a Glance

Location: San Diego and Poway, CA

California Legislative Routing
(State Highway Code sec. 356):

356. Route 56 is from Route 5 north of La Jolla to Route 67.

  • The routing dates back to 1958.
  • It forms part of the outer ring of San Diego's highway system.
  • Was deleted form the Regional Transportation Plan in 1972, but added again.
  • Typifies the old method of highway construction in California by having parts built without having the whole road confirmed and approved.
  • Demonstrates the paradigm shift in highway construction by having a costly, but fairly successful environmental mitigation project.
  • Constructed in stages between 1993 and 2004.



Highway 56 is a freeway located in the northern end of the City of San Diego. The entire route between I-5 and SR-67 is planned to be the northern leg of outer loop of the San Diego freeway system. The leg between I-5 and I-15 was completed in 2004, and while plans call for it to connect with SR 67 east of Poway, it is a good bet that last portion will not be completed, or at least not as a traditional state highway. via I-15 and act as a key link in North San Diego County between the inland and coastal cities. The portion between I-15 and SR-67 is currently unsigned and portions remain to be constructed. It is named for the former Ted Williams, the famous baseball player who played for the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox. A little bit of trivia about Mr. Williams is that he was also the last to bat .400.

Highway 56 will ultimately have two different sections. The first section is a four lane freeway between I-5 and I-15. It starts at I-5 in Carmel Valley, near Del Mar, and ends at I-15 in the Rancho Peñasquitos area of San Diego. The freeway extends through the (former) North City Future Urbanizing Area (NCFUA), a giant tract of land that remained comparatively undeveloped until recently. The second is a conventional highway and/or expressway east of I-15 and and  SR-67. The first portion is mostly constructed as a city primary arterial, though it remains unsigned through Poway. While information about this is unclear, it appears that Caltrans built the current Ted Williams Pkwy and subsequently relinquished it to the local agencies. The City of Poway has caused several projects to be scaled back, including SR-125. Consequently, the future of both SR-125 and even of SR-56 are uncertain, being anyone's guess what form, if any, they will take.

The interchange with I-5 consists of two massive bridges which connect to the "dual freeway" along I-5. The dual freeway was built as a part of a later project involving improvements for the I-5/I-805 interchange. It is an autonomous freeway with four lanes on each side of I-5 meant to service truck traffic as well as interchange with Highway 56 and Carmel Mountain Rd, a key arterial that will also connect which Rancho Peñasquitos. Caltrans first placed signs on I-5 and I-805 marking the junction with Highway 56 in February, 1998.


Highway 56 Table of Contents

For simplicity, I have divided this page into several areas and I'm working on creating a list of related links. California 56

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Last Update: July 18, 2004
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