State Route 1 in California
|Get started||Dana Point|
The Pacific Coast Highway refers to this page. For the road in Australia, see Pacific Highway.
According to bestitude, State Route 1, more commonly known as the Pacific Coast Highway, is a state route in the U.S. state of California. The road forms a north-south route along the California coast from Dana Point to Leggett and passes through the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Outside these urban agglomerations, the road mainly has a secondary function. US 101 runs parallel to it. Even further east is Interstate 5an alternative route. Large parts of State Route 1 run directly along the ocean, the road is one of the main tourist destinations in California. State Route 1 is 1,055 kilometers long, but is interrupted at some points by US 101.
The State Route 1 in Malibu.
Greater Los Angeles
State Route 1 begins in Dana Point at a junction with Interstate 5, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. State Route 1 is a coastal route through the vast metropolitan area of Los Angeles. Between Dana Point and Topanga Canyon, State Route 1 runs 120 kilometers through built-up areas, mostly parallel to Interstate 405. State Route 1 here is a busy city road with mostly 2×2 to 2×3 lanes and serves the numerous suburbs along the coast. Between Seal Beach and Palos Verdes Estate, State Route 1 runs a little further inland. The road continues through a tunnel under Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Interstate 10. begins at Santa Monicaon State Route 1. From here the road runs right along the coast. West of Topanga Canyon, the development is less dense and consists mainly of villas and mansions. The road runs along the famous Malibu.
Pacific Coast (Los Angeles – San Francisco)
The Bixby Creek Bridge in the Big Sur.
State Route 1 then runs along the Pacific coast. The first part beyond Santa Barbara is a busy road, the US 101 forms the main route here and is largely a freeway. State Route 1 passes through the larger towns of Oxnard and Ventura, then through Santa Barbara. Where the coast curves north, State Route 1 does the same, splitting off from US 101, which runs more inland. The most spectacular part of the route runs from Morro Bay to Monterey. There are hardly any places on the route here and the mountains rise steeply from the sea, there is hardly a beach. This part of the route is known as the Big Sur. The concrete Bixby Creek Bridge is a major attraction.
In the Monterey area, State Route 1 is a 2×2 lane freeway and runs right along the coast. A second stretch of freeway runs from Watsonville to Santa Cruz. This region is somewhat more populated and there is significantly more traffic than further south through the Big Sur. At Santa Cruz, most traffic goes north on State Route 17 to San Jose. Tourist traffic follows the coast towards San Francisco.
San Francisco Bay Area
Although the San Francisco Bay Area is a huge conurbation, State Route 1 only cuts a short distance through urban areas. The road follows the coastal route along the western side of the peninsula, where there is hardly any urbanisation. It is only just before San Francisco itself that the area has become urbanized with suburbs such as Pacifica and Daly City. The State Route 1 passes through the so-called Devil’s Slide. State Route 1 then crosses western San Francisco and is a busy 2×3 lane city highway here. State Route 1 and US 101 run between San Francisco and Marin, crossing the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
Pacific Coast (San Francisco – Leggett)
The second part of the coastal route runs from Marin City to Leggett. Again, the road runs through a sparsely populated area, actually almost immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the road leads through a quiet area, most urbanization is further inland along the US 101. The road runs along the Point Reyes National Seashore, a nature reserve. The road then leads through quiet Sonoma County and Mendocino County. On the route along the coast there is only one larger town, Fort Bragg. Here are occasionally wider stretches of coastline with sandy beaches, interspersed with steeper coastal areas. State Route 1 usually runs directly or at a short distance from the sea. The area is quite densely wooded with frequent nature parks. The northernmost stretch of State Route 1 turns inland and ends at Leggett on US 101.
The State Route 1 at Newport Beach.
Road number history
According to biotionary, before 1964, road numbers in California were not signposted. State Route 1 has only been so well-known since 1964, before that it had several administrative numbers and the names known to the public. The Highway 1 number was first assigned to the route in 1939. In the Los Angeles area, the road was also numbered US 101A, an alternate route from US 101, which began in San Diego at the time.
The construction of State Route 1 started as a regional initiative in several places, starting with the issuance of road construction bonds in 1910. The road was seen as an integral route from the First World War. One of the trickiest parts to build was the route through the Big Sur, the mountainous coastal region south of Monterey. 33 concrete bridges were required, of which the Bixby Creek Bridge was the largest. The route through the Big Sur was finally built between 1919 and 1937.
The coastal route between Santa Monica and Oxnard was opened in 1929. The route over the Devil’s Slide near San Francisco was completed in 1917. The Los Angeles suburban route was gradually expanded from a rural coastal road to a multi-lane urban boulevard during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Later, the region also urbanized in the south, around Laguna Beach.
There were originally plans to extend State Route 1 further north along the coast to Eureka. The US 101 runs quite far inland here. Because of the difficult terrain, it was decided at the time to have State Route 1 bend to US 101 at Leggett. The area to the north has no main road, it is sometimes called the ‘Lost Coast’ because there are only a few villages and the region is very isolated. It’s the only major portion of California’s coastline that isn’t developed with roads and places.
The first section of the highway opened in 1948 in Santa Cruz, but it is unclear whether the route was already completely grade separated at that time. In 1968 the highway opened through Monterey. In 1973 and 1976, the beach highway was extended north from Monterey to Castroville. The route between Pacifica and Daly City near San Francisco opened in two phases in 1965 and 1968.
Originally there were plans to upgrade the entire route between Oxnard and Santa Cruz to freeway. This proved virtually impossible in the Big Sur, after which the plans were scrapped in 1971. After that, US 101, which runs inland, was gradually expanded into a freeway, a process that has not yet been completed. Between 2005 and 2013, the Tom Lantos Tunnels were constructed at the Devil’s Slide, just south of San Francisco.
The opening dates of the parts of State Route 1 that have been developed as a freeway.
Monterey – Castroville
|399A Pacific Grove – Carmel Highway||404 Fremont Boulevard||8 km||00-00-1968|
|404 Fremont Boulevard||408 Imjin Parkway||8 km||00-00-1973|
|408 Imjin Parkway||418 Castroville (CA-156)||16 km||00-00-1976|
Watsonville – Santa Cruz
|433B Rio Del Mar Boulevard||441||13 km||00-00-1948|
|423 Salinas Road||427 Airport Boulevard||6 km||00-00-1967|
|433A Freedom Boulevard||433B Rio del Mar Boulevard||1 km||00-00-1967|
|432 San Andreas Road||433A Freedom Boulevard||2 km||00-00-1969|
|427 Airport Boulevard||432 San Andreas Road||8 km||00-00-1974|
Pacifica – Daly City
|505 Sharp Park Boulevard||508 CA-35||5 km||00-00-1965|
|508 CA-35||510||3 km||00-00-1968|
Typically 35,000 to 45,000 vehicles drive daily between Dana Point and Long Beach, rising to 40,000 to 65,000 vehicles in Torrance and a peak of 109,000 vehicles at the Los Angeles International Airport. The section in Santa Monica north of I-10 is extremely busy at 80,000 vehicles, gradually dropping west to 20,000 vehicles in Malibu and 10,000 vehicles south of Oxnard.
10,000 to 25,000 vehicles drove in the Lompoc region, followed by the quiet part through the Big Sur, where usually only 2,000 to 5,000 vehicles drove per day. This rises to a maximum of 80,000 vehicles in Monterey and 98,000 vehicles in Santa Cruz. The west coast portion of the San Francisco Peninsula typically handles 4,000 to 9,000 vehicles, rising to 49,000 vehicles in Pacifica and up to 111,000 vehicles in San Francisco. The San Francisco city route handles between 60,000 and 67,000 vehicles per day and is one of the busiest non-motorway corridors in the United States.
North of San Francisco, State Route 1 is mostly a quiet road, with generally 1,000 to 4,000 vehicles outside the larger towns. There were 31,000 vehicles in Fort Bragg, only 600 vehicles north to Leggett.
Because the Glendale Freeway has less through importance, the intensities are lower and it is one of the least congested freeways in this part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Merely merging onto I-5 is often problematic.