|US 80: Laguna
|This side trip features a section of US 80 which has preserved concrete from 1930, the
remnants of a rest area, and a bridge built in 1951 that was to be part of the future
freeway. This portion is first visible heading east on I-8, just beyond the Vista Point on
the left side. Unfortunately, only rough grading remains at this section as the pavement
was taken as part of Caltrans' policy of trying to make the old alignments revert to
nature. It is interesting to see the contrast between this road, which follows the contour
of the mountains and the interstate, which goes right through them.
To reach this section, exit at "CA 79 / Japatul Rd" and turn left (on CA 79). About 1/4 mile up the road, the steel bridge is visible at left. This was constructed in 1951 and was originally planned to be half of a future freeway. It replaced an old arch bridge that was built in 1917 and was a hazard on the road. The arch bridge is the really neat attraction, though. It is to the south of the newer alignment on Wildwood Glen Rd. It can be reached either by turning left on the street before the steel bridge (as you are heading north on SR-79) or at the first left after passing over the 1951 bridge. I recommend parking on the side and hiking to the side of the bridge to have a full look at it. At first it appears to be insignificant, but a sideways look proves otherwise. I found it interesting that the guardrail is comprised of a 2' concrete wall with a round pipe going over it; similar to the guardrails built in the 1960s.
US 80 is very much passable beyond the bridge to a point about 1/2 mile from where it abruptly ends at the freeway near the Vista Point. By way of reference this is now called Wildwood Glen Dr. Shortly beyond the steel bridge, the original concrete is exposed and in very good shape. About 1/2 mile beyond the bridge, the county maintained road ends along with the yellow line. Beyond this, the road has been left untouched since it was bypassed and portions of the original white dividing line are still visible.
After about another 1/2 mile, the road ends and is impassable to all but the hardiest 4x4 vehicles since it has either been torn out by bulldozers or has been covered by rocks and dirt from landslides. This is unfortunate since the remnants of a rest area have been covered. Sections of the original road, the first paved road into San Diego, are visible around here. In fact, it is clearly visible going around the flank of a hill that the 1930 version of US 80 cut through. A little further along, old US 80 vanishes into a cut made for I-8. From here, the best way back to see more of old US 80 is to backtrack to SR-79.
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|US 80 Side Trips:
Mountain Spring / Desert View Tower
Return to the US 80 Guide (Laguna Mountains - West)
Go to the Historic California US Highways Main Page
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If you have any questions, comments, or if you would like to send me any updates or pictures,