Back in 1959, they were darned proud of the improvements to Del Dios Highway, one of the names of the road that connects I-5 and I-15 in northern San Diego County. But today, it’s scary and curvy, just the thing for a great day trip and a chapter in my Joyrides Around San Diego.

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It was 1939 and U.S. 80 made the cover of California Highways and Public Works magazine, but not for a good reason. The twisting curve, that looks like it’s just west of today’s Golden Acorn Casino, was an example of just one of the roads that needed to be fixed.

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It was billed as a “Making Highways Fool Proof; Object Lesson from San Diego” back in December 1927. The 1927 California Highways and Public Works magazine report on the new bridge over the Santa Fe Railroad Tracks at the north end of Del Mar was heralded as great improvement for safety, as cars and trains would no longer tangle.

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Highway signs have changed as much as the roads over the last century, but it might be nice to put this one back. This classy sign showed drivers the way to La Jolla and San Diego when the Million Dollar Highway opened in late 1932.

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Back in February 1925, before there was a U.S. 101, the folks in California’s highway department were proud of the solution they’d come up with to “warn and protect motorists at the sharp curve approaching the San Mateo Creek bridge, northern San Diego County, where many deaths have occurred recently.”

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Anyone sitting in the traffic at Rosecrans Street and Sports Arena Boulevard today might want to have a word with traffic engineers from 1940s and 1960s. Touted as “modernization of the highway system in San Diego” was the 1941 construction of a new interchange between then-U.S. 101 and Mission Valley Road, today’s Interstate 8.

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Explore San Diego County's backroads, beaches, mountains and deserts with Joyride Guru® and award-winning author Jack Brandais. Make them your San Diego day trip.