Old style US 101 shield

US 101 Photo Gallery

Mexico to Downtown San Diego

Mexican Border

The International Border Crossing at San Ysidro has transformed from little more than a sign and a shack for customs to a modern marvel of buildings and a maze of highways. One of the major steps toward this happening is the construction and upgrade of the crossing commensurate with the construction of the Montgomery freeway in 1951. The two pictures below show this crossing shortly after the completion of the freeway. The International Border is visible as a faint line crossing from left to right toward the bottom of the pictures, just above the split in the roads. (Photographs courtesy of Caltrans)

South end of US 101 freeway at Tijuana US 101 border crossing at Tijuana

Montgomery Freeway

Construction map showing US 101, 1951
Click on image for larger view (~ 51 kb)

"This map shows the general location of the project between San Ysidro and Seventh Street in National City on State Route 2 [US 101] and the relationship to other state highways in the area."

The Montgomery Freeway was constructed during 1950-51 as a southerly extension of a wartime project built in 1943. The previous project was 8.7 miles of divided highway was built to serve the defense industry and is now Harbor Drive, but was called Harbor Blvd. then. US 101 followed this road from its southern terminus at Seventh St. in National City to the intersection with Pacific Highway. The California Highway Commission passed a resolution to construct a freeway from the Mexican border at San Ysidro to the southern terminus at Harbor Blvd. on August 21, 1947. The freeway was given the name "Montgomery Freeway" in honor of John J. Montgomery, a pioneer in the field of gliders who is said to have made the first glider flight in 1883 along his farm which was on the right of way. This freeway was upgraded eight lanes in 1973, eliminating almost all traces of the old freeway.

These pictures accompanied an article in the January/February 1951 volume of California Highways and Public Works titled "Montgomery Freeway. Will Relieve Traffic in South San Diego."

F Street underpass, 1951 "This is the F Street Union Pacific bridge in Chula Vista."
"This is the E Street freeway overcrossing in Chula Vista." [E Street overcrossing, Chula Vista]
This crossing is in the process of being widened, as can be seen by the crane driving in pilings for the northbound bridge. The existing bridge was used for southbound traffic. [Sweetwater River Bridge, 1951]
[24th Street, National City] "This is the 24th Street Union Pacific under crossing structure in National City."

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Click on shield to return to the US 101 page. Continue north to Downtown San Diego
  • Pre 1940: Covers the 1933 and 1938 widening projects
  • 1940-1958: Covers the early freeway alignments.

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If you have any questions, comments, or if you would like to send me any updates or pictures, please contact me at: casey@gbcnet.com