|US 80 was once a transcontinental highway that went from San Diego, CA to Tybee Island, GA. In California it went from US 101 in San Diego to the Arizona Border at Yuma. It is a road of historical note since it includes sections of the first paved road to connect San Diego with points east as well as containing the plank road that took motorists over the Algodones sand dunes east of El Centro as part of its route in 1926. US 80 remained for a longer time than many other California US highways, as it existed until 1974 when the final section of I-8 was completed. Almost all of it is still intact today, looking the same as it did when it still was the only highway heading east from San Diego.|
US 80 was a true transcontinental highway when it was commissioned in 1926 until 1964 when it started to be decommissioned in California. During this time, it went from San Diego, California to Tybee Island, Georgia. Its general route appears to have remained unchanged from its eastern terminus to its current western terminus in Dallas, Texas. From its current western terminus its route follows I-30 (west), to I-20 west to I-10 (west). Its route departs I-10 at Road Forks, New Mexico via New Mexico SR-80 and Arizona SR-80. After it dips down near the Mexican Border at Douglas, Arizona, it goes through Tombstone, site of the duel at the OK Corral. SR-80 rejoins I-10 near Benson, Arizona and follows I-10 to SR-77 at Tucson. To the north, it followed SR-77 to US 60 at Florence Jct, and then followed US 60 to Phoenix. According to Richard Moeur, a section of Van Buren St. at one time was marked US 60/US 70/US 80/US 89 and SR-93. Talk about confusion! The route paralleled I-10 to SR-85, which replaced US 80 south to I-8. Once in California, US 80 followed I-8 to its terminus in San Diego. The original route separates from I-8 following Imperial County S80 and several parallel roads through the mountains. Once in the San Diego area, it followed Main St, El Cajon Blvd, Washington St, SR-163 (former US 395) to Market St, ending at Pacific Hwy (former US 101).
About half of the transcontinental route of US 80 still exists. Over the past 30 years its western terminus has gone eastward to its current location at I-30 just outside of Dallas, Texas. Arizona, New Mexico and Texas decommissioned most parts in the 1980s. Its eastern terminus remains at Tybee Island on the Atlantic coast of Georgia.
US 80 was officially decommissioned on July 1, 1964 in favor of I-80 to the north. However, it still remained signed in San Diego and Imperial Counties until the corresponding sections of I-8 were completed. By 1974, all the signs marking US 80 had been taken down and US 80 ceased to exist completely as a signed highway within California. As mentioned before, much of US 80 remains intact throughout its run in California, with only a few miles paved under I-8. Some of the most pristine sections run through the Laguna Mountains and a few good sections remain in the desert. Unfortunately, there are some sections, while shown on maps as through roads, are almost impassable. Generally, the remnants of US 80 can be found near I-8.
I have divided my guide into several sections for the sake of brevity:
San Diego: Western terminus to east San Diego city limits
Towns in the Laguna Mountains. Includes Pine Valley and Jacumba.
Laguna Mountains, East. Includes Mountain Spring
Imperial County: In-Ko-Pah Gorge to Arizona
I am in the process of scanning pictures from my trip along US 80 and putting them into my US 80 "Photo Album." So far I have pictures for the places listed below.
Go to the Historic California US Highways Main Page
If you have any questions, comments, or if you would like to send me any
updates or pictures, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.