California State Route 163

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State Route 163 marker

State Route 163
Cabrillo Freeway
SR 163 highlighted in red
Route information
Defined by Streets and Highways Code § 463
Maintained by Caltrans
Length: 11.088 mi[1] (17.844 km)
Existed: 1972 – present
Major junctions
South end: A Street and Ash Street in Downtown San Diego
North end: I-15 in Miramar
Counties: San Diego
Highway system
SR 162 SR 164

State Route 163 (SR 163), the Cabrillo Freeway, is a state highway in San Diego, California. It is an 11.088-mile (17.844 km) stretch of freeway which was once the southern end of U.S. Route 395 (US 395), the San Diego portion of which was eliminated in 1972. It begins in Downtown San Diego just west of an interchange with Interstate 5 (I-5), extending north to its terminus at I-15 at the south end of Miramar.

Route description[edit]

The Cabrillo Freeway leading into Downtown San Diego

The southernmost 2.5 miles (4.0 km) of SR 163 passes through Balboa Park and under the Cabrillo Bridge. Emerging from Downtown San Diego on an intersection with Ash Street, it crosses I-5 before entering Balboa Park. The section of SR 163 south of I-8 through Balboa Park is not Interstate standard, featuring a wide, grassy median with many mature trees. It has only four lanes for the most part and has several sharp curves (for a freeway). In an effort to improve safety along this section, wooden guardrails with steel reinforcement were installed in December 2004 on either side of the grassy median.[2] The section of SR 163 north of I-8 is an Interstate-standard, eight-lane freeway. Just north of the interchange with I-8, the expressway treks north, climbing uphill from Mission Valley to Linda Vista, where it has an interchange with Genesee Avenue. After a northbound only exit with Mesa College Drive / Kearny Villa Road, the interchange with I-805 is northbound only in the northbound direction and southbound only in the southbound direction. In Kearny Mesa, the freeway has interchanges with Balboa Avenue, and Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, in which between the two interchanges, it gains a frontage road on both sides of the freeway. Following the Clairemont Mesa Blvd. interchange, it heads north to SR 52, where it forms one part of one of the biggest bottlenecks in San Diego County. The freeway then heads north to Kearny Villa Road, which was a former route of I-15, before terminating at the current I-15 near Miramar and the southern terminus of the reversible lanes of I-15. Ramps were built to allow traffic on SR 163 to enter and exit the express lanes of I-15.[3]

This route is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System[4] and is designated a State Scenic Highway.[5]


The southernmost portion of the highway, running through Balboa Park, began construction in 1942 and opened in 1948 as part of US 395; it was the first freeway in San Diego County and one of the first in California.[6] The Cabrillo Freeway was also part of US 80 from the late 1940s until 1964.[7] This stretch of road has been called one of America's most beautiful parkways,[8] and was designated a California Historic Parkway in 2002.[9]

There were previously southbound entrances at Quince and Richmond Streets, but these have been closed. The single-lane bridge at Richmond Street which allowed this entrance still exists but is closed to traffic, and the remainder of the ramp has been demolished.[citation needed]

In the mid 90s, Shawn Nelson, a US Army soldier and plumber, stole a tank from the National Guard and took it outside the base and onto the highway. He was shot by police, when the tank got stuck in the median and he did not survive. [10]

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in San Diego, San Diego County.

mi[11] km Exit[11] Destinations Notes
0.00 0.00 10th Avenue Continuation beyond Ash Street; south end of SR 163; northbound entrance only accessible from 11th Avenue and A Street
0.06 0.097 1A Ash Street No exit number northbound; northbound exit only accessible from A Street
0.06 0.097 1A I-5 north (San Diego Freeway) / 4th Avenue – Los Angeles Southbound exit is part of exit 1B; I-5 south exit 16
0.36 0.58 1B I-5 south (San Diego Freeway) / Park Boulevard Southbound exit and northbound entrance; I-5 north exit 16A
0.36 0.58 1B Quince Street – Balboa Park Northbound exit only
1.27 2.04 1C Richmond Street – San Diego Zoo, Museums Northbound exit only
2.22 3.57 2A Robinson Avenue Northbound exit and southbound entrance
2.22 3.57 2A Washington Street east (I-8 Bus.) Signed as exit 2B northbound
2.22 3.57 2B Washington Street west (I-8 Bus.) No northbound exit
2.45 3.94 2C University Avenue No northbound exit
3.21 5.17 3 I-8 / Hotel Circle – El Centro, Beaches Signed as exits 3A (east) and 3B (west); I-8 west exits 4A-B, east exits 4B-C
3.84 6.18 4 Friars Road Northbound exit is part of exit 3B
5.26 8.47 5 Genesee Avenue Signed as exits 5A (east) and 5B (west) northbound
6.01 9.67 6 Mesa College Drive, Kearny Villa Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
6.51 10.48 7A I-805 north (Jacob Dekema Freeway) – Los Angeles Northbound exit and southbound entrance; I-805 south exit 20
6.51 10.48 7A I-805 south (Jacob Dekema Freeway) Southbound exit and northbound entrance; I-805 north exit 20B
7.48 12.04 7B Balboa Avenue Former SR 274
8.28 13.33 8 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
9.02 14.52 9A SR 52 east Northbound exit and southbound entrance; SR 52 exit 6
9.02 14.52 9B SR 52 west Signed as exit 9 southbound; no northbound entrance; SR 52 exit 6
10.31 16.59 10 Kearny Villa Road
I-15 north (Express Lanes / Carpools only) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
11.23 18.07 I-15 north (Escondido Freeway) – Escondido Northbound exit and southbound entrance; north end of SR 163; I-15 south exit 12
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ California Department of Transportation. "State Truck Route List". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (XLS file) on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015. 
  2. ^ "New type of guardrail for Route 163 unveiled". San Diego Union Tribune. September 12, 2004. 
  3. ^ "State Route 163 Transportation Concept Summary" (PDF). California Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
  4. ^ California Legislature (n.d.). "Section 253.1". Streets and Highways Code. California Office of Legislative Council. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2016. 
  5. ^ California Legislature (n.d.). "Section 263.7". Streets and Highways Code. California Office of Legislative Council. Archived from the original on November 3, 2010. Retrieved October 7, 2016. 
  6. ^ Marshall, David (2007). San Diego's Balboa Park. Arcadia Publishing. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-7385-4754-1. 
  7. ^ Jensen, Jeff (2013). Drive the Broadway of America!. Tucson, AZ: Bygone Byways. pp. 216–217. ISBN 9780978625900. 
  8. ^ Marshall, David (2007). San Diego's Balboa Park. Postcard history Series. Charleston, SC: Arcadia. p. 110. ISBN 9780738547541. OCLC 154662185 – via Google Books. 
  9. ^ Kehoe, Christine (November 11, 2002). "State Route 163 Gets Historic Designation". San Diego Business Journal. p. 53. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Warring, KS (March 7, 2008). "State Route 163 Freeway Interchanges" (PDF). California Numbered Exit Uniform System. California Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata