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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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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As Caltrans begins a $6.5 billion project to rebuild Interstate 5 from La Jolla to Oceanside, let’s look back 83 years to December 16, 1933, when leaders from San Diego, California, the U.S., and Mexico gathered at Sports Field (later Lane Field) in downtown San Diego to dedicate the “Million Dollar Highway.”

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