The highway bridge near the little mountain town of Descanso today is just a big road that carries a little traffic on Wildwood Glen Lane, but in 1951 it was looked at with pride as evidence of progress and California’s new highways.

It was still U.S. 80 in those days, as the Interstate Highway System was a few years away and the freeway, Interstate 8, wouldn’t be completed for another 20 years.

If you check out my Kindle book, Towering Old Highway, there’s more history on this bridge and the one it replaced, now Los Terrinitos Road, which was built in 1919. They’re both driveable today.

The source is the September-October 1951 edition of California Highways and Public Works Magazine, which has been uploaded to that great source of information, archive.org. The story starts on page 19 of the issue, with the photos here on page 38 of the issue; the file in archive.org includes several issues of the magazine. For all you Highway 80 and #tbt fans it will make a great day trip to visit the bridges and compare how it looks after 65 years.

Just imagine all the traffic from San Diego to the Imperial Valley, Phoenix and points east going over these bridges. Even in those days, it must have been tremendous; imagine sitting in your Packard in single-lane traffic behind some stinky REO diesel truck or a smoking 1938 DeSoto in need of a valve job.

Photo from 1951 of the construction of today’s Wildwood Glen Road bridge, then US 80.
1951 California Highways and Public Works Magazine article on highway construction in San Diego.
Wildwood Glen Bridge date imprint in 2016.
Wildwood Glen Lane bridge in 2016.

The 1917 Los Terrinitos bridge carried U.S. 80 traffic until 1951.
The 1917 Los Terrinitos bridge carried U.S. 80 traffic until 1951.

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