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State Shield

State Route 52

Click here for a key to the symbols used. An explanation of acronyms may be found at the bottom of the page.


Routing Routing

Rte 52 From Route 5 east of La Jolla to Route 67 near Santee.

Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

This routing is unchanged from its 1963 definition.

Route 52 was established as part of the California Freeway and Expressway System in 1959 (former LRN 279). The portion of Route 52 from I-5 to I-805 was adopted in 1962 and opened to traffic in 1970. The portion from I-805 to I-15 was adopted in July 1972 and opened to traffic in 1988. In July 1989, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) adopted the plan for the then unconstructed segments of Route 52 from I-15 to Route 67. I-15 to Mast Boulevard opened for traffic in December 1993, and Mast Boulevard to Route 125 opened in November 1998. The portion of Route 52 from Route 125 to Route 67 was completed in Spring of 2011.

Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

This routing was unconstructed in 1963, although the routing had been determined. It was LRN 279, defined in 1959.

Pre-1964 State Shield Route 52 was not defined as part of the initial state signage of routes in 1934. It is unclear what (if any) route was signed as Route 52 between 1934 and 1964.

Status Status

By 1996, the freeway was complete from Route 5 to Mast Blvd and Mission Gorge Road in Santee (~ SD 0.000 to SD 13.285) . An extension between Mission Gorge Road and Route 125 in Santee is under construction, and should have been completed by Winter 1997 (to ~ SD 14.887).

In March 2019, the CTC approved the following allocation: $3,002,000 San Diego 11-SD-52 0.4/14.8 PPNO 11-1135. Proj ID 1115000026. Route 52 In the city of San Diego and Santee, from 0.4 mile east of Route 5 to Route 125. Outcome/Output: Construct rumble strips, construct concrete barrier, and upgrade guardrail and end treatments. This project will improve safety by reducing the frequency and severity of collisions from vehicles leaving the traveled way.
(Source: March 2019 CTC Minutes, Agenda Item 2.5b.(4) Project 4)

In March 2013, the CTC authorized $3,937,000 to overlay 7.2 lane miles of pavement to mitigate settlement and to improve safety and ride quality on a segment in the city of San Diego, from 0.5 mile west of Convoy Street to 0.4 mile west of Route 163/Route 52 separation (~ SD 4.963 to SD 6.18).

Convoy to Santo Auxiliary Lane

In August 2018, the CTC amended the following project into the 2018 SHOPP: 11-SD-52 5.1/8.7. PPNO 1302. Project 1118000079. EA 43025. Route 52 In San Diego, from 0.4 mile west of Convoy Street Overcrossing to Santo Road Overcrossing. Roadway rehabilitation to mitigate highway settlement, construct auxiliary lane, transportation management systems, lighting, and roadside safety improvements. Est. cost: $44,970,000. Est. const. start: 7/29/2022.
(Source: August 2018 CTC Agenda Item 2.1a.(1))

The 2020 SHOPP, approved in May 2020, included the following Roadway Rehabilitation item of interest (carried over from the 2018 SHOPP): 11-San Diego-52 PM 5.1/8.7 PPNO 1302 Proj ID 1118000079 EA 43025. Route 52 in San Diego, from 0.4 mile west of Convoy Street Overcrossing (OC) to Santo Road OC. Roadway rehabilitation to mitigate highway settlement, construct auxiliary lane, Transportation  Management System (TMS), lighting, and roadside safety improvements. Programmed in FY21-22, with construction scheduled to start at the end of July 2022. *Construction capital and construction support  phases are NOT authorized  Total project cost is $44,970K, with $33,753K being capital (const and right of way) and $11,217K being support (engineering, environmental, etc.).
(Source: 2020 Approved SHOPP a/o May 2020)

In August 2016, the CTC authorized relinquishment of right of way in the city of San Diego (City) along Route 52 at Kearny Villa Road (11-SD-52-PM 6.9), consisting of collateral facilities. The City, by freeway agreement dated April 8, 1986, agreed to accept title upon relinquishment by the State. The 90-day notice period expires July 17, 2016. A portion of the original routing has been relinquished: between PM 12.6 and PM 13.1, per the March 2001 CTC Agenda.

In February 2008, the CTC relinquished a portion of the route in San Diego, at Sycamore Landfill Road northerly of Mast Boulevard (~ SD 12.871), consisting of relocated and reconstructed city streets and frontage roads.

Route 52 Coalition

Rte 52 SanteeIn July 2018, it was reported that the Santee City Council had been granted the authority to create a State Route 52 Coalition to fast-track needed changes to the route. The coalition will be a partnership between local and regional entities interested in immediate improvements to the highway. Members could include representatives from the region’s planning agency, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), San Diego County, the cities of San Diego, El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Chula Vista, the local and regional business community, and environmental groups such as Preserve Wild Santee. The stakeholders would fund efforts to highlight the need for immediate action on Route 52, working with decision-makers to influence the process and seek funding. Santee will be the clearinghouse for the process. The City Council says Santee commuters impacted by the route by being forced to sit on Mast Boulevard (SD 13.28) and Mission Gorge Road (SD 14.833) waiting for their turn to get onto Route 52 in the morning, then are stalled on the freeway waiting to exit during the evening commute. The year the freeway opened in 2011, there were an average of 70,000 daily trips taken as recorded at Mast Boulevard, according to statistics from the California Department of Transportation, That number jumped to 83,000 in 2016, Caltrans said. SANDAG’s 2035 vision includes widening Route 52 from two lanes each way to three lanes in each direction from Route 125 to I-805. The plan is said to include installing two reversible managed lanes for high occupancy use and single-occupancy use with a fee (similar to the ones on I-15) from Route 125 to I-805. But Santee, which has grown from 40,000 residents when it incorporated in 1980 to 53,000 as of the 2010 census and is growing exponentially says it can’t wait 17 more years.
(Source: SD Union Tribune, 8/1/2018)

In September 2018, it was reported that the "Highway 52 Coalition" was starting to get active. The coalition is a task force created by the city of Santee to deal with growing traffic congestion along the east-west freeway. Its aim is to bring together local and regional leaders to share in finding solutions to ease the gridlock, which local officials say threatens the economic health of the region. The coalition is very much in its infancy; its only members at present are Santee Mayor John Minto and City Manager Marlene Best. At the group’s first meeting, they told a packed crowd of Santee residents and outside parties that they are serious about improving commutes. East County, they said, has been an afterthought to those who make the decisions about where San Diego County dollars are spent. Other parts of the county have taken priority over Santee and other East County areas for too long, and the traffic issue is a regional challenge. At the meeting, information was shared from the San Diego Association of Governments, the region’s planning agency, and the California Department of Transportation that offered further insight into the congestion puzzle affecting Santee. Of 196,000 East County residents who are employed, 144,000 commute outside the area while 52,000 stay in East County. And of 115,000 jobs in East County, a little more than half (62,000) commute into the area from outside, including 14,000 people living outside of San Diego County. In Santee, 94 percent of 27,000 residents work outside the city. And of nearly 14,000 people with jobs in Santee, 88 percent live outside the city. At the meeting, representatives from SANDAG and Caltrans showed several planned changes along Route 52 as part of each group’s plans for the region in the next 15 to 30 years. SANDAG’s 2035 vision includes widening Route 52 from two lanes each way to three lanes in each direction from Route 125 to I-805. The plan is said to include installing two reversible managed lanes for high occupancy use and single-occupancy use with a fee (similar to the ones on I-15) from Route 125 to I-805. But Santee officials are getting impatient and don’t want to wait for changes to come in 2035 or 2050. The coalition said its ideas for improving commutes reflect some of what SANDAG and Caltrans envision, such as constructing a westbound travel land from Mast Boulevard to I-15; relocating the bike lane from the north side to the south side of Route 52, adding an eastbound auxiliary lane from I-15 to Santo Road; and creating an additional eastbound travel lane by re-striping to provide three travel lanes from Mast Boulevard to Route 125.
(Source: SD Union Tribune, 9/27/2018)

Eastward Extension (~ SD 14.887 to SD 17.271)

[TCRP Project 84]In May 2001, the CTC considered TCRP Project #84. The project is to construct a new six-lane freeway to Santee by extending the existing Route 52 from its current terminus at Route 125, near Mission Gorge Road, to Route 67. The new freeway will provide an improved connection from the eastern areas of San Diego to the employment centers to the north and west. The original TCRP application programmed $45,000,000 of TCRP funds for “Unit 4,” Route 125 to Cuyamaca Street. “Unit 5,” Cuyamaca Street to Route 67, was to be funded from other sources, including State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Construction of “Unit 4” was delayed due to TCRP and STIP funding not being available. The STIP funds were programmed in Fiscal Year 2008-09 and the TCRP funds were on hold due to the previous suspension of allocating new funds. The current proposed construction for “Unit 4” and “Unit 5” has the projects on near concurrent schedules. The Region has fully programmed the capital portion of right-of-way acquisition with Transnet funds. The Transnet revenues will not begin to be collected until 2008 and the Region would need to advanced the funds through the use of bonds. In effort to reduce the finance charges associated with bonding, it is proposed to swap the TCRP funds with Transnet funds for right-ofway acquisition. Therefore, the funds that had been originally programmed for “Unit 4” construction could now be spent on “Unit 5” Right of Way. Demolition has begun for the extension from Route 125 to Cuyamaca Street. In April 2006, the CTC considered a proposal to amend the project application to: revise the project scope; redistribute $20,000,000 from Construction to Right of Way; and update the project schedule and funding plan. The current schedule for completion is: Phase 1: FY 1989/1990; Phase 2: FY 2007/2008; Phase 3: FY 2007/2008; Phase 4: FY 2010/2011.

The SAFETEA-LU act, enacted in August 2005 as the reauthorization of TEA-21, provided the following expenditures on or near this route:

As of March 2008, construction had begun on the eastward extension of Route 52. There is grading work being done at the Route 52/Route 125 interchange to install a roadway leading east from this interchange. There is also grading that appears to be for a future overpass being done on both sides of Cuyamaca Avenue along the El Cajon/Santee city limits (near Prospect). This section of Cuyamaca has the San Diego Trolley tracks down the center divide, which might require an extra-high overpass or a rather unusual ramp configuration if on-off ramps are planned there. In May 2008, work began on a new Fanita Drive bridge.

In February 2009, the CTC was noticed that Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) recommended that the Route 125 to Route 67 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) project be reprogrammed as a corridor, with funding levels to be based on the state funds previously allocated by the California Transportation Commission (Commission), including AB 608 adjustment, and available local and federal funds. This included the following segments:

In April 2011, it was reported that Route 52 had been completed to Route 67. There is a half exit WB at Fanita, a diamond plus a loop from Cuyamaca NB to Route 52 WB, a half-diamond EB to Magnolia, and a high speed wye at Route 67.

In May 2012, the CTC authorized relinquishment of right of way in the city of Santee along Route 52 from Olive Lane to Railroad Avenue (~ SD 15.851 to SD 16.888), consisting of collateral facilities.

In October 2013, the CTC relinquished right of way in the city of Santee along Route 52 at Cottonwood Avenue (~ SD 16.749), consisting of collateral facilities.

Naming Naming

The portion of this routing that is completed to freeway standards is named the "Soledad Freeway". It has also been known as the "San Clemente Canyon Freeway". This naming appears to be from local usage based on location.
(Source: Rte 52 TCS Planning Document)

Named Structures Named Structures

Citizens for 52 BridgeThe EB Route 52 to NB I-15 connector, bridge 57-0968G (SD 007.24), in the City of San Diego is named the "Citizens for 52 Bridge".  In 1979 Assembly Member Jim Ellis formed "Citizens for 52", an organization of more than 1,000 volunteer citizens, whose purpose was to initiate and support the completion of Route 52 in San Diego County. Out of a genuine concern for public safety, the Citizens for 52 committee under the able leadership of cochairpersons MJ Hegeness and ET Woodie Miller dedicated untold time energy and thought throughout the arduous and often discouraging process to include Route 52 in the state transportation improvement program. On January 30 1980 the Citizens for 52 Committee made, in the words of one California Transportation Commissioner, one of the best presentations ever made before the commission. Because of their dedication, persistence, self sacrifice, intelligence and confidence in our system of government, all California citizens benefited from the completion of Route 52. Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 122, Chapter 62 in 1988.
(Image source: AARoads)

Deputy Sheriff Kenneth James Collier Memorial BridgeThe Oak Canyon Bridge on Route 52 in Santee (Bridge 57-0981, SD 011.80), located between PM SD 11.662 and SD 11.799, is officially named the "Deputy Sheriff Kenneth James Collier Memorial Bridge" This structure was named in honor of Kenneth James Collier, who was born June 4, 1970, in Portsmouth, Virginia, and moved to San Diego with his family in 1977. He grew up in the Santee area and graduated from Santana High School in 1988. Collier attended Grossmont College and California State University, San Diego, where he majored in administration of justice, and he first became intrigued with a career in law enforcement through conversations with deputies coming to and going from the Santee Sheriff's station near where he worked. Collier began his law enforcement career with the San Diego County Marshal's Office in 1997, working as a field service officer and later a court service officer. In 2000, the marshal's office merged with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, where Collier continued on as a court service officer. In August 2001, he was hired as a Detention Court deputy sheriff and continued to serve in detention facilities, the Detentions Training Unit, and the Court Services Bureau. In July 2006, Ken Collier was hired as a law enforcement deputy sheriff and joined the Santee station in September 2006. Deputy Collier was described by his supervisors as a steadfast and dependable people person, and he received a commendation for his dedication and dependability, as well as an Exemplary Performance Certificate. He was well liked and respected by his colleagues. Deputy Collier is survived by his fiancee, Karen Li, whom he was to marry on what would have been his 40th birthday, June 10, 2010, in Kauai, Hawaii, his sister Nancy Robinson, and his brother Lauren Collier. Deputy Collier was killed in the line of duty, at 39 years of age, in the early morning hours of February 28, 2010. Shortly after 3:00 a.m., Deputy Collier and his ride-along sheriff's dispatcher, Ryan Debellis, came upon a driver heading eastbound in the westbound lanes of Route 52 in the City of Santee. Deputy Collier advised dispatch and attempted to overtake the wrong-way driver by driving his patrol vehicle in the center median shoulder when it struck a bridge abutment. After rolling several hundred feet, Deputy Collier was ejected into a ravine that Mr. Debellis also managed to reach moments before the patrol vehicle burst into flames, Despite the valiant efforts of fellow deputies and officers from all over the county, emergency medical responders, and hospital personnel, Deputy Collier succumbed to his injuries. Mr. Debellis made a full recovery. The fact that a suspect was arrested and will be charged is of little consolation for the tragic loss of Deputy Collier to his loved ones, friends, colleagues, and the community he served. Named by Assembly Concurrant Resolution (ACR) 175, 9/14/2010, Resolution Chapter 157.
(Image source: Find a Grave)

Border Patrol Officer Neil Wilkie Hepburn Memorial BridgeThe bridge on Route 52 that crosses over West Hills Parkway in Santee, California (likely 57-0983, ~ SD 013.80) is named the "Border Patrol Officer Neil Wilkie Hepburn Memorial Bridge". This bridge was named in memory of Border Patrol Officer Neil Wilkie Hepburn, born in Dundee, Scotland, on July 3, 1972. He immigrated to the United States on May 27, 1981, and settled in the desert of southern California. In 1996, Border Patrol Officer Hepburn became a United States citizen and graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in criminal justice. While at San Diego State University, he participated in the marching band and symphonic band. In 1998, Border Patrol Officer Hepburn joined the United States Border Patrol and served with Horse Patrol, a specialized unit of the United States Border Patrol, at the Imperial Beach Station for 8 years. He was known for his ability to "MacGyver" everything. Border Patrol Officer Hepburn served as a supervisor at Campo Station I-8 Check Point, as an emergency medical technician, and as a supervisor of the canine program. Border Patrol Officer Hepburn was learning to play bagpipes with other border patrol agents, was a member of the Tierrasanta Parent-Teacher Association, and volunteered as an AYSO soccer coach and as a little league baseball coach in Tierrasanta. Border Patrol Officer Hepburn lost his life tragically in a head-on collision with a drunk driver while on his way home from work in the early morning hours of September 7, 2007, on Route 52 in San Diego. Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 144, Resolution Chapter 133, on 9/5/2008.
(Image source: Find a Grave, Flikr)

Commuter Lanes Commuter Lanes

HOV lanes are planned for this route (by 2011) between I-805 and Route 125.

Exit Information Exit Information

Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

Freeway Freeway

[SHC 253.1] Entire route. Added to the Freeway and Expressway system in 1959.

Scenic Route Scenic Route

[SHC 263.1] Entire route.

In May 2016, it was reported that, after more than four years of efforts by local environmentalists and community leaders to convince the state to take action on a 25-year-old resolution, Caltrans and the City of San Diego have signed Route 52 as a Scenic Highway. The designation applies to a stretch from mile post 9.5 near Santo Road in San Diego to mile post 13 near Mast Boulevard in Santee. The highway passes through Mission Trails Regional Park. According to CalTrans, “Route 52 traverses an impressive open-space system that preserves San Diego’s diverse natural history. Notable scenic features include: Mission Trails Summit which divides the coastal plain from inland valley and Cowles Mountain, the highest point in the City of San Diego (1,592 feet). From within MTRP, views on clear days extend from sea level to over 6,000 feet in Cuyamaca State Park and the Cleveland National Forest.”
(Source: East County Magazine, May 2016)

Classified Landcaped Freeway Classified Landcaped Freeway

The following segments are designated as Classified Landscaped Freeway:

County Route Starting PM Ending PM
San Diego 52 0.00 5.62
San Diego 52 6.13 9.88
San Diego 52 13.00 13.58
San Diego 52 13.89 14.71
San Diego 52 14.71 15.50
San Diego 52 15.50 17.30
San Diego 52 17.30 17.50

Statistics Statistics

Overall statistics for Route 52 (as of 1995):

Pre-1964 Legislative Route Pre-1964 Legislative Route

The route that would become LRN 52 was first defined in the 1919 Third Bond Act, running from Tiberion to Alto. It was codified into the highway code in 1935 as the same thing, "Tiberion to Alto".

In 1947, Chapter 1233 changed the terminus from "Alto" to "[LRN 1]", making the route from LRN 1 to Tiburon. It ran from US-101 near Mill Valley to Tiberon. It corresponds to present-day Route 131.


Acronyms and Explanations:


Back Arrow Route 51 Forward Arrow Route 53

© 1996-2020 Daniel P. Faigin.
Maintained by: Daniel P. Faigin <webmaster@cahighways.org>.