Think traffic’s bad today? Check out this photo from 1941, as workers going to the Convair plant at Lindbergh Field mixed with all the traffic headed north to Los Angeles. What’s missing from this picture? Interstate 5, which wiped out the parking lot but created the freeway that spans the length of California and separated local traffic from those headed somewhere else.

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As Interstate 8 was built across San Diego County’s rugged mountains in the 1960s and 1970s, the most difficult section was creating the two, crisscrossing traffic lanes up and down Mountain Springs Grade, which jumps back-and-forth across the San Diego-Imperial county line east of Jacumba.

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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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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.