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The Crosstown Freeway and Old Highway 30, Part 1: San Bernardino Freeways (Modern CA 210/Old CA 30 Fwy, Old CA 18 Fwy, CA 259 Fwy, West Highland Avenue)

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[30, 18, 259 Route Map] Here is something about large undertakings that I hold to be true: every big project starts with only a little nucleus that snowballed. This entry was that nucleus -- Roadgap's very first entry photographed was this one, borne out of the sudden realization that some of the highways I frequently used were being blotted out right before my eyes. From that, I went out with my trusty Olympus and decided to freeze in photography what was left for posterity before Caltrans whisked it away for good.

On roadtrips north, I noticed the humble little CA 30 freeway in San Bernardino branch off from I-215 towards the ski resorts, and noted it grow over the years as we would pass through the area. In the late 1990s, one day going north on the I-15, I was pleased to note that it was growing to the west in the form of a full freeway. Little did I know, of course, that this was actually CA 30's coffin, being built in broad daylight -- today's CA 210, and tomorrow's Interstate 210.

What I was unaware of, being only a growing road-dweeb, was that CA 30 had in fact already ceased to be, deleted as a route in 1998 and what was left transferred to Route 210. (In those days, I-210 still went down and met I-10 at the Kellogg Interchange, proceeding south of there to become CA 57.) This was a most unfortunate end to a route with a moderately long history. Although not numbered in the field until 1952, its alignment was state road dating back to the 1930s (the Legislative Route Numbers it would run on were defined in 1933 [LRN 190, to Highland/Redlands], and 1937 [LRN 207, the remaining portion]). At its greatest extent, CA 30 ran from Glendora-San Dimas at the site of the present-day I-210/CA 210/CA 57 junction, to Highland along a surface routing (but primarily Base Line Rd, 19th St and Highland Ave), up to CA 18 in Running Springs west of Big Bear Lake along what is now CA 330, co-routed with CA 18 to the west edge of the lake, and then around the south side of the lake itself to terminate near CA 18 (again) and CA 38. This would change with the Great Renumbering, which cut CA 30 down to what is now the CA 330/CA 18 junction in Running Springs and gave its old routing along Big Bear Lake to CA 18, with CA 38 taking CA 18's leftovers.

This set in motion the ultimate goal for CA 30: conversion to a full freeway bypass to allow routing around San Bernardino. This bypass was intended to extend all the way to San Dimas, and to that end, a stub interchange and partial freeway alignment to Foothill Blvd was created with the new I-210 in 1970 -- nearly simultaneously with construction of a full freeway from US 395/(then)I-15 to Highland Avenue in eastern San Bernardino, completed by 1971. To facilitate its reincarnation as a bypass, the routing was altered again in 1972: old Route 106 running between Redlands and CA 30 along Orange St and Boulder Ave was scrapped and given to CA 30, although it would remain signed for at least a couple years afterwards; this freed up the old road along City Creek, which was given to new CA 330. To connect CA 30 to the I-10, the fragment of Orange St between I-10 and CA 30 which was originally CA 38 was also given to CA 30. Freeway CA 30 was then built up from I-10 to 5th Street by 1984, lengthened further west on a temporary alignment over I-215 to Highland Avenue in Muscoy in 1989, and then the last piece of freeway routing between 5th Street and Highland Avenue finished in 1992. That still left the remaining non-freeway portions of CA 30 (Highland Avenue, 19th St, etc.) between the stub at I-210 and the new freeway just west of I-215, and this portion's upgrade to freeway was the construction I witnessed at intervals during the mid 1990s. It was even signed CA 30 at its junction with I-15; although the advance signage was greened out, some of it was blown off by high winds, revealing the new route.

[Goverment (sic) sign.] Whatever the reason, however, CA 30 was a route marked for destruction. To be fair, its presence as a freeway was illogical as there was no need for I-210 to artificially terminate early. CA 57 could easily extend north to pick up the vacated alignment if I-210 were swung over to make one long continuous and singly numbered route between I-10 in Redlands, which it would still come off from and not rankle any numbering sensibilities, all the way along its previous alignment to Sylmar and the Newhall Pass. (Presumably this new route would be submitted for signage entirely with an I-210 shield when completed to Interstate standards.) This reason seems most likely, although logic has never been the strong suit of the California state legislature. No matter why they did it, however, one day I drove by and found new CA 210 shields pasted over the old CA 30 advance signage on I-15. Sure enough, all the CA 30 shields were gone. Where CA 30 lurked on overhead signage, it had been torn off and replaced with ill-fitting CA 210 shields of the same configuration. CA 210 plates were put up on signs, and freeway entrance assemblies were all redone. Realizing I'd better get cracking as a route I had known for years was disappearing before my eyes, I hit the asphalt to get it all down on flash media.

Because this is truly meant to be a snapshot in time exhibit, I have not attempted to capture the fullest extent of its historical routing, especially since CA 330 and CA 18 preserve that so well. Rather, I have focused on its routing as it was before its deletion, along with the history of construction of the alignment for its final routing. Since this was an active construction zone at that time, many of the photographs, particularly in San Bernardino, depict signage and/or exit configurations that have been changed or destroyed. Unfortunately, much of the Highland Avenue alignment west of I-215 I was unable to capture before its conversion to freeway and then CA 210; also, some of the photos in this exhibit are substandard because I did not get to redo them before the signs or structures they depicted were changed, razed or closed off. Nevertheless, I have managed to get the entirety of the CA 30 freeway, as well as some of its routing in eastern Los Angeles county and western San Bernardino county before obliteration by CA 210, which is still very well marked with postmiles.

On 24 July 2007, the 210 freeway completely opened all the way from Glendora-San Dimas to Redlands. Now that most of the signage has come down, in probably a couple more years this will be the only record that CA 30 even existed.

Photographed December 2004, with additional photographs May 2005, January 2007, August 2007 and November 2008. In multiple parts.


Crosstown Fwy (CA 210 Future Interstate 210, Old CA 30)

Most residents of urban San Bernardino county will remember CA 30 as the Crosstown Freeway, so named because it goes "across town" (in this case, from Redlands through Highland to downtown San Bernardino and Muscoy). The Crosstown Fwy proper runs between Interstate 10 in Redlands and Interstate 215 in San Bernardino, so for this first part of our photoessay we start from its southeastern end at I-10 and this first advance signage.

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Approaching the junction. The "skeleton" gantry is where the old Alabama St signage used to hang and I don't know why Caltrans hasn't taken it down. Notice that CA 30 was also signed "TO CA 330" which, as we discussed in the blurb above, was in fact its former routing to Big Bear Lake.

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Separation onto west CA 30.

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The centre of the interchange is decorated with this beautiful artificial waterfall and small pond.

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Crossing under the eastbound flyovers.

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First mile point for Route 30, SBD 33.3, on the callbox. 210 stickers cover the 30 now. This southern portion of CA 30 was built in 1984.

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First CA 30 shield on the pullthru signage.

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Crossing the quarries and deep creek beds separating Highland and Redlands and advance signage for CA 330.

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Highland city limits.

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Exit for 5th Street. We'll be coming back to this in Part 2. This was the end of the 1984 freeway. The section between Highland Avenue and this point was the last part of the CA 30 freeway to be completed (as CA 30), in 1992.

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City Creek bridge postmile (strangely no distance marked). I took this picture on purpose for comparison with Part 2 also.

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WB CA 30.

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Advance signage for the CA 330 interchange.

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Approaching separation.

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Separation. We'll just take a little peek since we're here.

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Detour: CA 330

The postmiles for CA 330 do not start at zero, but rather officially at PM R28.7, just shy/south of the point at which CA 30 historically diverged up City Creek Rd towards Running Springs and the last holdover remembering CA 30's old routing through Big Bear. There isn't a visible postmile right at the gore point, but here is PM 29.0 on NB CA 330, just before the one and only exit at Highland Avenue. We'll see the interchange itself in Part 2 since it has more relevance to our old CA 30 routing than the modern freeway. For now, we head back south.

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As a point of comparison, the southern junction of CA 330 (there is no END CA 330 sign as of this writing that I could find) adroitly shows the two equally unsatisfactory ways Caltrans replaced the CA 30 shields. On the EB overhead, the button copy CA 30 was replaced by a retroflective and obviously out-of-place CA 210. The WB overhead corrects the disparity by fully replacing the panel (instead of greenouting San Bernardino and the CA 30 shield), but the replacement panel is smaller (because "Pasadena" is shorter) and the backing struts on the gantry which were sized for the old sign now stick out on both sides.

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End Detour

Back on WB CA 30, entering San Bernardino city limits.

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Advance signage for CA 18.

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Advance signage for Highland Avenue, old CA 30, along WB CA 30 at another peculiarly blank distance bridge postmile.

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When the CA 210 shields first started appearing, these were the very first (one shield in each direction), right here, in San Bernardino proper. However, you can still see (faintly) that the postmile in the background at that time still read CA 30 also.

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Highland Avenue exit. This is the end of the 1992 freeway and the beginning of the original 1970-1 freeway.

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Snow-capped Mount Baldy in the background crossing through north San Bernardino.

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PM 25.72 crossing Del Rosa Avenue. The greenout on the CA 18 advance signage is covering an arrow (when the Division of Highways still used that convention for overheads).

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CA 30 onramp below us. This has since been replaced.

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Approaching the CA 18 separation and the southern terminus.

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Separation, along Waterman Avenue. We'll come back to CA 18 in a moment. For now, we continue to I-215 as the dividing line between the Riverside Freeway and the Barstow Freeway. West of here, CA 30 hunkers into a viaduct before crossing the Riverside/Barstow Fwys.

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Advance signage for the Interstate 215 junction.

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Crossing under Sierra Way, old CA 18 and modern Business Route 18. BR 18 will be a topic of discovery in Part 2 also.

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Separation. CA 30 and CA 210 continues west of here, and we'll come back to this point as well, but we have another highway to explore first.

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Just for fun, here is how this interchange looks now. Since CA 210 is the "preferred" through route to Los Angeles now from this point, rather than taking I-215 to I-10 west, "Los Angeles" was stripped from the overhead sign (and if you look closely, you can see the glue damage). On the pullthru overhead for CA 30 CA 210, a simple greenout replaces the shield and the control city, in this case with the wrong FHWA Series font and a misproportioned CA 210 shield. Anyway, we exit onto the I-215 exit ...

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[San Bernardino and I-15, CA 30, CA 18, CA 106, CA 206; 1969] CA 259 Freeway

... except that it isn't, in fact, Interstate 215 or CA 30: it is a completely different highway, CA 259. This is its final postmile, R1.51.

Why would we have such a short stub route here? To see CA 259's role, let's examine this map from 1969, which not only shows CA 30's state in those days (and CA 106's, which we'll get to in Part 2) but also the future plans for CA 18 and CA 30. On this map CA 30's proposed freeway routing was from the west, over the I-15/US 395 (modern I-215) freeway, along the stub we saw which here is signed CA 18, and then as freeway to City Creek Rd (modern CA 330). For its part, CA 18 is supposed to follow a freeway alignment from the switchbacks on north Waterman Ave, down near Harrison St, crossing CA 30 and proceeding more or less between Waterman and Tippecanoe Avenues to I-10. So why is there this little stub between Waterman Ave and I-15/US 395 signed CA 18 when it's not even part of the future plans?

The answer is, it's not CA 18 at all -- it's a totally different route number, built as a connecting piece in 1968 apparently to allow CA 18 to have a freeway connection from US 395. In those days, CA 18 was the more prominent route than CA 30, having at one time gone as far south as Long Beach, and was even routed along the US 395 freeway (along with I-15 and US 91) on what is now I-215 prior to the Great Renumbering, so giving it a direct freeway connector made sense pending its own conversion into freeway. When the "I-15" (I-215) to Highland Avenue section of the CA 30 was completed, it incorporated CA 259 and thus CA 259 was then cosigned CA 18 and CA 30, although it was still neither one. CA 259 always had its own route number, even though it didn't use it, because it was never intended to be permanently part of either highway's routing. When the freeway incarnations of CA 18 and CA 30 were finished, CA 259 would no longer be necessary -- but CA 18 never did get finished. Although Route 259 existed in legislation as early as 1965, it apparently wasn't applied to an alignment until the freeway was completed.

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Despite that, until 2007, CA 259 remained an anonymous highway, ratted out only on postmiles and call boxes; there were no CA 259 shields until then. Here we pass advance signage for Highland Avenue (again, old CA 30), one of the two exits on SB CA 259 between CA 30 CA 210 and I-215.

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Highland Avenue exit.

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On the west side of the interchange, shown heading east on Highland, is this charming old porcelain enamel sign with no button copy which still looks pretty damn good. It is now over 40 years old.

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"Mountain Resorts" was the ubiquitous control city for CA 18 and CA 30, and in some places still is. We get back on the highway southbound (i.e., turn right). We'll come back to this in the beginning of Part 2. The overhead, as of 3/2010, is still up, but not the CA 30 shield at right. [210 shields have since been pasted over.]

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Advance signage for the final exit, Base Line Street.

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Approaching Interstate 215 at PM 0.14. This is an awkward left merge which will probably be reconfigured in the next decade as I-215 is finally improved after years of substandard service. I talk about the Interstate 215 upgrades in Old Highway 395 Part 17, for this is basically the US 91/US 395 freeway in essentially its original form.

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The left exit to Base Line will also likely be demolished as part of those upgrades, shooting off the lanes at just the last minute before they join the Interstate. [It was, in the 2014 upgrade. There is now an "exit 45" joining the new Baseline exit from I-215 south.]

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If we loop around and come back up north, we get to these signs which went up in 2002; I wish I had some pictures of the old signs, which had a lot of tantalizing greenout. Even on these signs there is no sign of CA 259, and although the CA 30 shields have of course been covered over with CA 210 shields, there is no "CA 259 TO CA 210" or such nonsense anywhere. [On the new 2014 overheads, it is now signed "TO 210 EAST."]

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Approaching the separation.

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Separation.

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First postmile from this side (PM 00.12).

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Until the summer of 2007, this is what CA 259 was "signed" as -- callboxes and postmiles, but no shields.

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Then, a single pair of CA 259s turned up, one here, and one before the Highland Avenue exit on the other side (which, for dramatic effect, I skipped when we were heading southbound -- so just trust me on that).

[Subsequently this sign disappeared again in 2009. Reassurance shields appear with "TO 210 EAST" after the 2014 reconstruction of the southern interchange.]

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Approaching the Highland Avenue exit is a strange old sign,

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which I have reproduced here in all its button copy glory goodness. Notice that the sign talks about "ROUTE 18 30 FREEWAY" and "ROUTE 18 30 BUSINESS" (and is undoubtedly marked for death). The ROUTE 18 FREEWAY signage is, of course, the holdover from the CA 18 freeway plans we talked about above. BUSINESS CA 18 and BUSINESS CA 30 still survive and are still signed. That, too, is in Part 2. [Since this picture was taken, this sign finally disappeared for good in 2010.]

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This is the Highland Avenue exit from the east on westbound Highland Ave, this time. The onramp we got on before has both I-10 and I-215 signage, because I-10 was the through freeway route for Los Angeles back then. The CA 30 shield here, as of this writing, is still up. It does not, and never did, say CA 259. [As of 3/2010, the CA 30 sign has been replaced by a CA 210.]

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NB CA 259, curving around near the end.

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E Street exit. This is where old CITY US 66 went north from Highland Avenue and split from old CA 18; I have some maps of that in Old Highway 395 Part 15. After US 66 was decommissioned in 1964, City US 66 became CA 206 and was later decommissioned itself in 1991.

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Advance signage for CA 18 on Waterman Ave, though this exit comes off CA 30 itself and not CA 259.

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Final postmile.

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Exit for CA 18; CA 30 is signed eastbound with Redlands as the control city.

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Highland Avenue West

To finish the grand loop and the last piece of the old CA 30 freeway in San Bernardino, we'll exit on Waterman and head back west. In doing so, we pass the southern end of CA 18 today. This was not its historical end, of course, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

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Looking to our right over the overpass, showing the freeway stretching off in the distance.

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First CA 18 shield. Notice that the CA 30 freeway was paralleled by 30th Street in what turns out just to be a big stinking coincidence.

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Because CA 18 also has "mileage" south of its visible terminus, just unconstructed mileage (remember from our map where it was supposed to go), its postmiles like CA 330's also do not start at zero. Technically the modern route starts at PM 6.18, but here is a postmile sticker sitting right behind that CA 18 shield showing PM 6.236.

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We turn left and get back on the freeway using this dual-signed on-ramp (the ugly I-215 shield is still there, but the CA 30 shield has been replaced, of course).

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Temporary CA 30

Until 1989, CA 259 was your only choice; the freeways were directly connected. In 1989, a connector crossing Interstate 215 was constructed when the idea of extending the CA 30 freeway all the way to San Dimas finally picked up steam after gestating for the better part of two decades. When this picture was taken in 2007, late in the dying days, the CA 210 State Street exit signage was already up; compare it with this virgin view from 2004 before the construction.

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However, this stub ended quickly at Highland on the other side of I-215 (until it was expanded as part of CA 30).

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In fact, it wasn't actually part of "future" CA 30 at all, and now we can prove it. If we approached it from the west heading EB Highland (you can't do this now, it's obliterated) and got on the onramp there ...

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... we would come to this point and this unique sign assembly showing the last bannered TEMPORARY highway in the state, Temporary Route 30. The reason why this is significant is this was the last Temporary banner to survive anywhere in California. Today, when California wants to mark temporary alignment for relocation to another future alignment, it uses special postmiles with a T endorsement (we'll look at that in Part 2), but regular shields otherwise. Not so back then, where the TEMPORARY banner was erected to clearly warn motorists that this stub was marked for destruction.

As with many such bureaucratic warnings, the impending doom of Temporary CA 30 was posted for years. In 2004, when this picture was taken, there was still no trace of CA 210, even though CA 30 had already legislatively ceased to exist.

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A little over a year later, Temporary CA 30 is still posted, but signs of earthmover work are obvious and most of the trees and vegetation were cleared out for the new highway extension.

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In 2007, CA 30 was still signed on the onramp (though no Temporary banner, and in fact there never was one on the ramp assemblies), even though the future highway is clearly visible in the form of the almost finished overpass.

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By then, however, the Temporary shield was gone, taken out by a bulldozer.

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Scarcely two weeks later, the on-ramp was closed off ...

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... and Temporary CA 30, true to its name, was paved over, with only the I-215 overpass surviving as part of the new CA 210. This is the way it looks today and there is no access to CA 210 directly from this point anymore.

I am overjoyed to report, however, that thanks to Joe Nelson at the San Bernardino Sun, and Cheryl Donahue at SANBAG, California's last temporary route survives ... in my workshop. Yes, the shield and the banner are there and intact, if crushed; I just need to finish restoring it for display, which I am trying to do very carefully to avoid stressing the metal any further.

Why do I make so much fuss over CA 30T? Well, simply, it's the last relic of Southern California's bygone age of highway expansion. Standing there for the better part of two decades, it symbolized a public works age which is today forgotten under the headliner haze of environmental impact statements and astroturfed phony community squawking. The modern CA 210 will almost certainly be the last significant new highway project Southern California will see for probably the next half-century.

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To complete the circle, here was the CA 30 junction from SB I-215. Sorry about the haze; this was a windshield shot before I was concerned about such things (in 2005).

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In 2006, the old gantry was removed and new ones went up, with an obvious greenout for the new CA 210 west signage, and a CA 30 coverplate over the eastbound CA 210 shield.

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Highland Avenue West

However, there was never access to Temporary CA 30 from northbound I-215, even when it existed. In fact, there is still no access to its present incarnation as CA 210 and Caltrans' fix for this is still in the planning stages, despite signed as starting in 2009 (likely a long time later, given this state's severe budget woes). Instead, I-215 simply had an exit directly onto Highland Avenue, which U-turns around onto Highland.

This exit is still in use, this time for CA 210; the quaint old angular shield outline was stripped off and replaced with a CA 210 coverplate. It will cease to be the official CA 210 WB access from I-215 when the full interchange is constructed, but a better alternative is to go up to University Parkway and loop around on south I-215 to west CA 210, avoiding a number of traffic lights and the Highway Patrol substation.

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From SB I-215, we get access to Highland Avenue by crossing over on Mount Vernon Avenue.

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This CA 30 is the first of several CA 30 shields on facing streets. We turn right. [This disappeared sometime between 2008 and 2011.]

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Here's another, south of the CHP station at Western and Highland as we enter Muscoy. [This was still up, as of 11/2013.]

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WB Highland Avenue (old CA 30).

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Another surviving shield at Medical Center Drive. [This was replaced with a CA 210 shield, squeezed into a 2ds spade, sometime around 2011.]

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Approaching the old stub of Temporary CA 30. You'll notice that we haven't gotten anywhere near CA 210, even after several blocks. That's why I think the aforementioned officially signed alternate route is dreadfully inefficient.

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At State Street is finally where you can get CA 210 access. This shield, shown in 2004, was an early casualty and disappeared after the road was temporarily closed to build the modern interchange.

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The last CA 30 shield in the city limits in 2005. It, too, is gone.

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Today Highland Avenue curves gently over the highway in a reconstructed bridge to connect and terminate at Riverside Avenue, with the remainder of its old alignment mostly buried beneath the CA 210 freeway (more in Part 3). This postmile, which still survives, is the final obvious trace of CA 30 on this segment as we leave the San Bernardino city limits for points east.

Since we're talking about surface street alignments, however, this gives us the perfect segue to ...

Continue to Part 2

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