One of my favorite roads in the county is the stretch of Old Highway 80 between Descanso and Pine Valley.

It came darned close to being obliterated.

In July 1966, the California Highway Commission decided to move the route of the yet-to-be-built Interstate 8 freeway south, away from the route of U.S. 80, what today is a great old road that I cover in Towering Old Highway.

What would have disappeared? State Highway Engineer J.C. Womack said it would cost more to build, but, in the long run, would save about five times the increased cost, according to the September-October 1965 issue of California Highways and Public Works magazine.

Oh, and there was also the problem of the freeway route would have obliterated the then-tiny communities (they’re not much bigger today) of Pine Valley, Guatay and Decanso Junction, not to mention “…groves of oak and pine trees and two national forest picnic and recreational areas…”

Wildwood Glen Road bridge
1951 Wildwood Glen Road bridge

I’ve always heard that the Wildwood Glen Road bridge — the former U.S. 80 route — that’s south of Descanso Junction, was built in 1951 as half of a future freeway.

If you check out the issue, online at, there’s also another tidbit… the extension of Highway 125 north from Santee to Poway. That was dropped, I believe, in the 1980s. ⚙


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