Interstate 215 (California)
Originally running from border-to-border, earning the name of 'Three Flags Highway', US 395 was considered one of the most important three digit US Highways in the system. In 1958, the Interstate system guarantied it's replacement in California - or at least the portion of US 395 that had been upgraded to freeway standards. I-15 was added in to the Interstate system in 1958, including part of US 395's freeway. This didn't pose a problem until the great renumbering, when most US routes were removed from California's system. Since I-15 had only been designated as far south as San Bernardino, it only ran to the interchange of the same name, while US 395 ran all the way to the Mexican border. This led to the duplex of US 395 and I-15 from Hesperia to San Bernardino. The remainder of US 395 remained untouched well into the 1970's when an extension of I-15 was planned.
With the Inland Empire being seen as more of a suburb of Los Angeles instead of just grapevines, California saw the need to build a freeway running from Devore to Ontario to move more traffic more quickly through the area. The San Bernardino Freeway had become old, out-dated - and in some instances dangerous - for fast Interstate travel. Enter the State Route 31 freeway. It became clear though that this project would be a perfect candidate for an Interstate, and the plan was submitted to AASHTO. Originally hesitant to completely move Interstate 15 from it's current chargeable road bed to new chargeable road bed, it's mind was changed when California pointed out that it's taxpayers paid to build the San Bernardino Freeway.
AASHTO eventually agreed with California and funded the State Route 31 project. This road was to be added as chargeable Interstate milage and designated Interstate 15 when completed. In exchange, the San Bernardino Freeway was to be returned to California, with the caveat that it would accept the road as-is and the federal government would no longer be paying for maintenance of the old road. Shortly thereafter, California applied to have then-current I-15 redesigned as I-15E, along with an extension to meet it's new parent in Murrieta. The application was accepted, but because there are no suffixes in California's highway system, it was given the Legislative Route Number (LRN) of 194.
When AASHTO began asking states to remove suffixed routes in favor of using loop numbers, California was one of the last states to comply, asking I-15E to be renumbered as I-215. The application was, again, accepted. This also allowed Caltrans to legislatively renumber Route 194 to simply Route 215 (reflecting the sign route of I-215). US 395 got lost in this mess, eventually coming out short of it's route from Hesperia to San Diego. Luckily, it kept the remainder of it's route. I-15 largely replaced US 91 from Riverside to the Canadian border. US 395 remains the Three Flags Highway in remembrance of it's original routing.
Due to the inability to build a more direct freeway, I-215 follows the same basic path of it's grandparent, US 395. It still multiplexes with SR 60 (former US 60) in Riverside to Moreno Valley, creating one of the messiest backups of traffic in the southland during peak hour. I-215 is officially routed along the Barstow, San Bernardino, Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Escondido Freeways.
The Travel Logs.
Header image provided by Raymond Yu on Flickr.