California State Route 125
SR 125 highlighted in red
|Defined by S&HC § 425|
|Maintained by Caltrans and SANDAG|
|Length:||23.839 mi (38.365 km)|
|South end:||Otay Mesa Road in Otay Mesa|
|North end:||SR 52 in Santee|
The southern portion of Route 125 from Otay Mesa Road to SR 54 near Chula Vista is a toll road called the South Bay Expressway (SBX). It is California's first road built as a public/private partnership. The toll road was funded by the private company California Transportation Ventures, Inc. and the following public agencies: the United States Department of Transportation, Caltrans, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and the City of Chula Vista. However, California Transportation Ventures declared bankruptcy in 2010 and sold the road to the San Diego Association of Governments.
SR 125 begins as the South Bay Expressway toll road at an interchange with Otay Mesa Road, the former alignment of SR 905. The route heads north, encountering its first toll plaza just before entering the city of Chula Vista. The freeway cuts through the Eastlake neighborhood of Chula Vista before leaving the city and passing through Sweetwater Regional Park near Sweetwater Reservoir. SR 125 intersects with SR 54, where the tolled portion ends, before turning north again through the unincorporated area of La Presa. The freeway briefly enters Lemon Grove before intersecting with SR 94 and entering La Mesa.
SR 125 interchanges with I-8 before continuing north through the city of El Cajon and passing near Grossmont College. The freeway continues into Santee where the route terminates at the SR 52 interchange. Traffic can continue onto SR 52 or onto Mission Gorge Road at the terminus.
SR 125 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System, and south of I-8 is part of the National Highway System, a network of highways that are essential to the country's economy, defense, and mobility. The route is eligible for the State Scenic Highway System, but it is only a scenic highway from SR 94 to I-8 as designated by Caltrans, meaning that it is a substantial section of highway passing through a "memorable landscape" with no "visual intrusions", where the potential designation has gained popular favor with the community; In 2013, SR 125 had an annual average daily traffic (AADT) of 29,000 at the northern terminus, and 161,000 between SR 94 and Lemon Avenue, the latter of which was the highest AADT for the highway.
In the early 1990s, only the section south of I-8 and north of SR 94 was completed; confusingly, it was signed as SR 94, even though it met with both westbound and eastbound SR 94 at its southern terminus. The Route 125 signs later replaced the Route 94 signs, although at I-8 a "TO" referring to SR 94 was still carried on the signs for Route 125 South (until signs were replaced in 2011).
The northernmost portion of the current SR 125 was built in stages. For a time, its northern terminus was at the current exits for Fletcher Parkway, then later at Navajo Road, although passage through the construction zone to Grossmont College Drive was possible via Fanita Drive, the street which was replaced by the freeway construction (which remained open throughout its conversion to a freeway). The northernmost portion (north of Grossmont College Drive) was completed to SR 52 and Mission Gorge Road while the portion between Navajo Road and Grossmont College Drive was still under construction. This section was completed in 2005, although some upgrade work was done in 2010 at the interchange with SR 52 and Mission Gorge Road, adding ramps for the 2011 expansion of Route 52 to the east.
In the early 2000s, further construction resulted in the third section of Route 125, connecting southward from SR 94 to SR 54. This allowed southbound traffic on Route 125 to continue to westbound SR 54, while eastbound SR 54 continues northbound on SR 125. A portion of this facility was a four-lane surface expressway, later improved to a freeway as part of the South Bay Expressway construction.
The fourth section, the South Bay Expressway toll road, opened on November 19, 2007, extending Route 125 southward from State Route 54 to Otay Mesa. Construction of this portion was opposed by community and environmental groups. This toll road was one of four privately financed toll highway projects, including the 91 Express Toll Lanes, allowed under a state law that was passed in 1989. This portion of the freeway had been planned since 1959, but due to lack of funds was not going to be built for many years. Interestingly, the tolled portion was not planned to connect with SR 54. In order to ensure continuity, funds from a local transportation sales tax were used to finance the remaining segment, including the interchange with SR 54. The transition from the privately financed toll road to the publicly financed segment can be observed by the change in the pavement as the toll road is paved in asphalt, while the connection is paved in concrete. Toll roads that revert to public ownership are typically paved in asphalt, as it costs less and its poor durability does not concern the road's temporary owners. There are no exits on this short connection, however, so it is signed as being a toll facility. The toll road will be extended further south a short distance when the SR 905 freeway is constructed. A new freeway-to-freeway interchange will connect SR 125 with SR 905 as well as SR 11, a new toll road that will connect to a new border crossing east of Otay Mesa.
On March 22, 2010, the toll road's operator filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing traffic counts running at less than 40% of initial estimates due to the economic downturn. At the time of the filing, the expressway had $510 million of loans outstanding, of which $170 million was owed to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition, there was over $600 million of unresolved litigation with the construction contractors. EBITDA for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009 was approximately $3 million on revenues of $21 million. On July 29, 2011, SANDAG agreed to purchase the lease of the freeway from toll road operator, South Bay Expressway LLC; the sale was finalized on December 16, 2011. SANDAG claimed at the time that they would reduce the tolls to attract increased use. Due to toll reductions that are 25% to 40% less than their pre-public owned amounts, the number of vehicles using the toll portion of the expressway have increased by 19% as compared to the previous year.
Tolls along the South Bay Expressway are collected at all northbound onramps and southbound offramps, and the mainline Otay Mesa Toll Plaza at the southern end of the facility just north of Otay Mesa Road/SR 905. The toll road is equipped with the FasTrak electronic toll collection system, with drivers being charged a prorated toll based on the distance traveled. Patrons paying by cash or credit card are charged a more expensive flat rate depending on which toll booth they pass through, like any other barrier toll system; there is no ticket system. For example, any cash- or credit-paying driver that passes through the Otay Mesa Toll Plaza ends up paying $3.50 regardless of the distance they actually traveled.
The following table lists the toll rates for passenger cars, both with and without FasTrak (as of June 12, 2012). The toll rate is doubled for vehicles with more than two axles.
|Southern end of trip||Northern end of trip||Fastrak||Cash/Credit|
|Otay Mesa Rd/SR 905||SR 54||$2.75||$3.50|
|East H St||$2.00||$3.50|
|Birch Rd, Olympic Pkwy, or Otay Lakes Rd||$1.95||$3.50|
|Any local trip between Birch Rd to East H St||$0.50||$2.50|
|Birch Rd, Olympic Pkwy, Otay Lakes Rd, or East H St||SR 54||$1.70||$2.50|
|San Miguel Ranch Rd||$1.55||$2.00|
SR 125 was originally planned to continue north through East Miramar to Poway to connect with SR 56 and Select Arterial 680 but Poway successfully blocked that by insisting Caltrans upgrade SR 67 instead, leaving the northern terminus at SR 52. There still are proposals to connect it to Scripps Poway Parkway, or to extend it further north to Riverside parallel to I-15, creating a third full north/south freeway for San Diego. However, none of these proposals to extend SR 125 have been included in SANDAG's 2050 Regional Transportation Plan.
Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured on the road as it was in 1964, based on the alignment that existed at the time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. R reflects a realignment in the route since then, M indicates a second realignment, L refers an overlap due to a correction or change, and T indicates postmiles classified as temporary (for a full list of prefixes, see the list of postmile definitions). Segments that remain unconstructed or have been relinquished to local control may be omitted. The entire route is in San Diego County.
|L0.50||1||Otay Mesa Road to SR 905||Southbound exit and northbound entrance; south end of SR 125|
|San Diego||Otay Mesa Toll Plaza|
|Chula Vista||2.29||5||Birch Road|
|4.04||7||Otay Lakes Road|
|5.08||8||East H Street|
|6.93||9||San Miguel Ranch Road, Mt. Miguel Road||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|North end of toll road|
|9.59||11||SR 54 west (South Bay Freeway)|
|9.90||12||Jamacha Boulevard, Paradise Valley Road (CR S17)|
|Lemon Grove||12.97||15||SR 94 (Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway)||Southbound exit to SR 94 east is via exit 17A|
|13.50||17A||Spring Street – La Mesa||Northbound exit is via exit 15|
|La Mesa||14.74||17A||Lemon Avenue||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|El Cajon||19.53||20A||Navajo Road|
|20.39||20B||Grossmont College Drive|
|Santee||22.17||21||SR 52 – San Diego, Santee||Northbound exit and southbound entrance; north end of SR 125|
|22.30||Mission Gorge Road||At-grade intersection|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Staff. "State Truck Route List" (XLS file). California Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Hawkins, Robert J. (14 April 2011). "South Bay Expressway emerges from bankruptcy". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
Hawkins, Robert J. (16 December 2011). "SANDAG OKs purchase of South County toll road". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
Hawkins, Robert J. (21 December 2011). "SANDAG officially takes over South Bay toll road". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
Sledge, Matt (27 December 2011). "South Bay Expressway: Bankrupted Toll Road Tests Transportation Department Program". Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
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- Schmidt, Steve (March 23, 2010). "Toll road operator files for Chapter 11". San Diego Union-Tribune.
- Nathan Max (July 29, 2011). "SANDAG set to take over SOuth Bay Expressway". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
- Robert J. Hawkins (December 16, 2012). "SANDAG OKs purchase of South County toll road". Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- Wendy Fry (17 July 2012). "Chula Vista Toll Decreases, Traffic Increases". KNSD. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
- "South Bay Expressway Toll Schedule". Retrieved September 7, 2013.
- SANDAG 2050 Regional Transportation Plan
- Staff (July 2007). "Log of Bridges on State Highways". California Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
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California Department of Transportation (November 7, 2008). "SR 125 Southbound" (PDF). Retrieved March 5, 2009.
- California @ AARoads.com – State Route 125
- Caltrans: Route 125 highway conditions
- California Highways: Route 125
- South Bay Expressway: Toll Road SR 125 south of SR 54 to SR 905
- Federal Highway Administration Project Profiles: South Bay Expressway