California State Route 905

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State Route 905

Otay Mesa Freeway
SR 905 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Caltrans
Length8.964 mi[1] (14.426 km)
Existed1986 (from SR 117)[2]–present
Major junctions
West endOro Vista Road / Tocayo Avenue in San Diego
Major intersections
East endBoulevard Garita de Otay at the Mexican border near Otay Mesa
CountryUnited States
CountiesSan Diego
Highway system
I-880 I-980

State Route 905 (SR 905), also known as the Otay Mesa Freeway, is an 8.964-mile-long (14.426 km) state highway in San Diego, in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of California. It connects I-5 and I-805 in San Ysidro to the Mexican border at Otay Mesa. The entire highway from I-5 to the international border is a freeway with a few exits that continues east from the I-805 interchange before turning southeast and reaching the border.

SR 905 formerly followed Otay Mesa Road, which had been in existence since at least 1927. Before it was SR 905, the route was first designated as part of SR 75, before it was redesignated as SR 117. The freeway was completed between I-5 and Otay Mesa Road in 1976. The border crossing opened in 1985 after several delays in obtaining funding for construction on what would become SR 905. After becoming SR 905 in 1986, the highway was converted to first an expressway in 2000 and then a freeway in 2010 and 2011. Plans are for this highway to eventually become known as I-905.

Route description

SR 905 begins at the intersection of Tocayo Avenue and Oro Vista Road in Nestor. It begins as a freeway, intersecting with I-5 at a partial cloverleaf interchange. After interchanges with Beyer Boulevard and Picador Boulevard, the freeway then intersects I-805. Then, SR 905 veers southeast to parallel Otay Mesa Road, with interchanges at Caliente Avenue (in Pacific Gateway Park), Britannia Boulevard, and La Media Road. Following those interchanges, SR 905 also interchanges with the SR 125 toll road[3] and the SR 11 freeway, which is planned to be a toll facility that will serve a new border crossing east of Otay Mesa.[4] Immediately after, SR 905 turns south to its final interchange at Siempre Viva Road before the route ends at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry,[5] which large trucks must use to cross the border.[6]

SR 905 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System[7] and part of the National Highway System,[8] a network of highways that are considered essential to the country's economy, defense, and mobility by the Federal Highway Administration.[9] In 2022, SR 905 had an annual average daily traffic (AADT) of 82,000 vehicles between I-805 and Caliente Road westbound, and 2,450 vehicles around the Mexican border westbound, the former of which was the highest AADT for the freeway.[10]


I-805 northbound at the SR 905 interchange

What was known as the "Otay Mesa Road" existed as a dirt road by 1927.[11] A paved road connected San Ysidro to Brown Field and the easternmost ranches in the Otay Mesa area by 1935.[12] Discussions were held between San Diego County and National City over the maintenance of the road in 1950, since it was used by trucks travelling to the landfill.[13] The majority of SR 905, running in parallel with Otay Mesa Road from I-5 to SR 125, was added to the state highway system and the California Freeway and Expressway System in 1959 as Legislative Route 281,[14] and became part of SR 75 in the 1964 renumbering.[15]

Planning was underway for the extension of SR 75 east to the then-proposed SR 125 by 1963.[16] The California Highway Commission endorsed the routing for SR 75 in 1965 along Otay Mesa Road, away from future residential developments;[17] the route adopted weeks later would form an outer route along with SR 125 around San Diego.[18] There were plans as early as 1970 to have a highway heading southwest to a new border crossing that would bypass the Tijuana area.[19] The next year, James Moe, the state public works director, subsequently asked the California State Legislature to lengthen SR 75 to connect to this new crossing, rather than using I-5 to make the connection.[20]

State Route 117

LocationSan Diego

Following this, in 1972, the legislature added a new SR 117, which extended this part of SR 75 southwest to the Mexican border near Border Field State Park, to the state highway system, and a southerly extension of SR 125 to the border at Otay Mesa to the state highway and Freeway and Expressway systems.[21] Two years later, planning began for the construction of the Otay Mesa crossing and the construction of SR 75 to connect it to I-5 and I-805.[22] Later, the Comprehensive Planning Organization (CPO), the local association of municipal governments, recommended using $4 million of federal funding for the construction of SR 75.[23][24] The CPO later endorsed expediting construction of the freeway before completion of the border crossing, so that the freeway would primarily serve border traffic, thus preventing land speculation in Otay Mesa.[25] While Mexican authorities wanted the crossing constructed in 1975, the CPO indicated that the funding for SR 75 would not be available until at least 1980, or even 1985.[26] Following this, Representative Lionel Van Deerlin attempted to accelerate the construction of the crossing, even though there was no funding for the highway.[27]

Construction began on the southern portion of SR 75 in mid-1974. In January 1976, the part of SR 75 between I-805 and Otay Mesa Road was opened to traffic.[28] On April 6, the next portion of the freeway opened. However, there were concerns about what to call the freeway, citing confusion with the northern portion of SR 75. The entire cost of the project was $6.3 million.[29] SR 117 was extended east to SR 125, replacing the southerly segment of SR 75, by the Legislature in 1976;[30] this took effect at the beginning of 1977.[31] Estimates for completing the freeway ran from $13.8 million to $28.5 million.[32]

In late 1977, the CPO made plans to push for adding SR 117 to the Interstate Highway System, to obtain additional federal funding.[33] By 1979, both San Diego city and county had allocated $6 million to construct a temporary way to access the border crossing along Otay Mesa and Harvest Roads.[34] Two years later, the City of San Diego indicated that the upgrade of Otay Mesa Road to a four-lane road would be the preferred option;[35] the state agreed to allocate $2 million towards the $10 million project, with the city contributing $6.4 million and the county adding $2.3 million.[36] The Federal Highway Administration approved the continuous roadway via SR 117 and SR 125 from I-5 to the border at Otay Mesa as a non-chargeable (not eligible for federal Interstate Highway construction dollars) part of the Interstate Highway System in October 1984.[37] The Otay Mesa border crossing opened on January 24, 1985.[38] The route number was legislatively changed to 905 in 1986,[2] and signs were updated in 1988. This change was to apply for other federal funding.[39] The original piece of SR 117, west of I-5, also became SR 905 with the rest of SR 117,[2] but the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has not constructed it.[5] In 1990, the portion from the future SR 125 to the border was adopted by Caltrans.[37]

Efforts were underway in 1997 to secure federal funding for the highway and other infrastructure near the Mexican border, largely supported by Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Bob Filner,[40] and Representative Bud Schuster, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, visited the region before giving informal approval to the proposal.[6] In 1999, Governor Gray Davis approved allocating $27 million in federal funding to complete the freeway.[41] Concerns were expressed by local residents and municipal officials regarding the apparent priority of SR 125 over SR 905 in terms of funding, especially since SR 125 was to be constructed as a toll road, and SR 905 would compete with the toll road enterprise.[42] In May 1998, Congress approved $54 million in funding for the completion of SR 905.[43]

Otay Mesa Road was widened to six lanes in 2000 for $20.5 million. Before, it had 50 percent more traffic than it was designed to handle;[44] it was considered by the San Diego Union-Tribune as "California's busiest trade route with Mexico." Traffic had increased by ten times, with the number of people dying in traffic accidents approaching five times the state average. The widening of Otay Mesa Road was considered a temporary fix for the problem.[45] The next year, the California Transportation Commission allocated $25 million of state funding towards completing the freeway.[46] The interchange with Siempre Viva Road opened on December 8, 2004.[47] Delays in the U.S. Congress approving federal funding in 2005 resulted in a delayed start to construction for the rest of SR 905.[48]

Construction began on the part of SR 905 between Britannia Boulevard and Siempre Viva Road in April 2008, and from Brittania Boulevard to I-805 in July 2009.[49] Efforts were made to keep construction going despite a shortfall in funding from state bonds in 2009.[50] The part between Britannia Boulevard and Siempre Viva Road opened in December 2010.[49] The interchange with I-805 began to be upgraded in April 2011,[51] and the construction, which used $20 million in federal funding,[52] finished in February 2012.[49] The final freeway segment of SR 905 between I-805 and Britannia Boulevard opened on July 30, 2012. The entire cost of the project connecting I-805 to the border crossing was $441 million.[53]

Before being upgraded to a freeway between Britannia Boulevard and Siempre Viva Road, SR 905 directly connected with SR 125 via two at-grade intersections on Otay Mesa Road.[54] When Caltrans opened that segment of the SR 905 freeway in 2010, they omitted the interchange with SR 125, forcing traffic on SR 905 and SR 125 to exit their respective freeways and use Otay Mesa Road (which SR 905 followed at that time) to make the connection. To help fix this problem, a direct freeway-to-freeway interchange was planned, which also included the new SR 11 freeway once it was to be constructed,[55] with construction beginning in late 2015.[56] SR 11 is planned to be a toll facility that will serve a new border crossing east of Otay Mesa.[4] Ramps from SR 905 eastbound to SR 125 northbound, SR 905 westbound to SR 125 northbound, and SR 11 westbound to SR 125 northbound were completed on November 30, 2016, at the cost of over $21 million.[3] Prior to December 16, 2021, traffic on southbound SR 125 was forced to exit onto Otay Mesa Road at that toll road's then southern terminus in order to connect to SR 11 and SR 905.[5] Construction on the ramps for these connections began in 2018,[57] with the ramps from SR 125 southbound to SR 11 eastbound and SR 125 southbound to SR 905 eastbound being completed on December 16, 2021, at the cost of $74 million.[58] The ramp from SR 125 southbound to SR 905 westbound, which was still under construction at the time, was initially scheduled to open to traffic in 2023,[59] but was completed by July 27, 2022.[60] There are no plans to construct the remaining connections from SR 905 westbound to SR 11 eastbound and SR 11 westbound to SR 905 eastbound.


Interstate 905

Interstate 905

LocationSan Diego
Length8.964 mi (14.426 km)
NHSEntire route

Plans are for SR 905 to become I-905;[61] however, it could not be constructed with the same federal government funds that were used for constructing the rest of the Interstate Highway System. This is because I-905 was not constructed as of 1978, when the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978 provided that all Interstate construction authorized under previous amendments to the system would be funded by the federal government but additional highway mileage added under Office of the Law Revision Counsel (n.d.) 23 U.S.C. § 103(c)(4)– via Cornell Law School would not be funded from the same highway fund.[62][63]

Exit list

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

0.000.00Oro Vista Road / Tocayo AvenueAt-grade intersection
0.370.601A–B I-5 (San Diego Freeway)Signed as exits 1A (north) and 1B (south) westbound; signed as exits 1A (south) and 1B (north) eastbound; I-5 exit 3
0.971.561CBeyer BoulevardSigned as exit 1 eastbound; former US 101
1.562.512APicador Boulevard / Smythe Avenue
2.323.732B I-805 (Jacob Dekema Freeway)Signed as exits 2B (south) and 2C (north) westbound; I-805 exits 1B-C
3.886.244Caliente Avenue
4.917.905Heritage RoadProposed interchange[49]
5.949.566 Britannia Boulevard – Tijuana International Airport, Brown Field Municipal AirportAccess to Tijuana International Airport via Cross Border Xpress
6.9311.157La Media Road
SR 11 east
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; western terminus of SR 11

SR 125 Toll north (South Bay Expressway)
Southern terminus of SR 125
8.5313.739Siempre Viva RoadLast U.S. exit eastbound
8.8914.31Mexico–United States border (Otay Mesa Port of Entry)Continues beyond the international border as Boulevard Garita de Otay
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


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  2. ^ a b c California State Assembly. An act to amend Sections 318, 341, 343, 360, 366, 370, 374, 388, 389, 403, 425, 468, 548, 624, 2104, and 2107 of, to add Section 632 to, and to repeal Sections 322.1, 355.1, 417, and 622.2 of, the Streets... 1985–1986 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 928, p. 3216.
  3. ^ a b Stewart, Joshua (November 30, 2016). "New roads between border, South Bay Highways, completed". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  4. ^ a b Hawkins, Robert J. (January 11, 2011). "Hearing Set on Border Highway and Crossing". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. B2. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Google (July 28, 2022). "California State Route 905" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Arner, Mark (August 5, 1997). "Funds pursued to extend I-905 to border". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. B2.
  7. ^ "Article 2 of Chapter 2 of Division 1". California Streets and Highways Code. Sacramento: California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  8. ^ Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: San Diego, CA (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  9. ^ Natzke, Stefan; Neathery, Mike & Adderly, Kevin (June 20, 2012). "What is the National Highway System?". National Highway System. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
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  11. ^ "Tijuana River Flood Passes Peak; No Danger to Track". The San Diego Union. February 17, 1927. p. 14.
  12. ^ San Diego County (Map). Automobile Club of Southern California. 1935. § H5–H6.
  13. ^ "Otay Mesa Road Offered to County". The San Diego Union. January 1, 1950. p. A3.
  14. ^ California State Assembly. An act to amend Sections 306, 320, 332, 351, 362, 365, 369, 374, 382, 388, 397, 407, 408, 409, 410, 415, 422, 435, 440, 446, 453, 456, 460, 467, 470, 476, 487, 492, 493, 494, 506, 521, 528, and 529... 1959 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 1062, pp. 3115, 3121.
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  16. ^ "State Hearing Slated On South Bay Freeway". The San Diego Union. January 31, 1963. p. G6.
  17. ^ Staff (April 30, 1965). "County Freeway Routes OK'd". The San Diego Union. p. B14.
  18. ^ California Division of Highways (July–August 1965). "New Routes Adopted". California Highways and Public Works. 44 (7–8): 19. OCLC 7511628.
  19. ^ "City Council Airs New 805 Route". The San Diego Union. August 26, 1970. p. B1.
  20. ^ Staff (August 15, 1971). "Route 75 Extension Recommend As A Link To New Port Of Entry". The San Diego Union. p. B14.
  21. ^ California State Assembly. An act to amend Sections 263.3, 263.8, and 415 of, and to add Section 486 to, the Streets and Highways Code, relating to state highways. 1972 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 1216, pp. 2345, 2351.
  22. ^ "Road Studies For Border Entry Urged". The San Diego Union. February 16, 1974. p. B2.
  23. ^ "CPO Backs 11 Area Road Jobs". The San Diego Union. April 24, 1974. p. B8.
  24. ^ "New Name For CPO Supported". The San Diego Union. April 24, 1974. p. B8.
  25. ^ "CPO Asks Delay On Border Gate". The San Diego Union. October 6, 1974. p. B1.
  26. ^ Murphy, Vi (July 3, 1975). "Otay Mesa Gates Face Long Delay". The San Diego Union. p. B5.
  27. ^ Staff (July 20, 1975). "Van Deerlin Seeks To Push Second Border Crossing". The San Diego Union. p. B3.
  28. ^ Staff (January 29, 1976). "Segment Of State 75 Completed". The San Diego Union. p. B3.
  29. ^ "Freeway Link Opens". The San Diego Union. April 7, 1976. p. B1.
  30. ^ California State Assembly. An act to amend Sections 143.2, 186, 253.1, 253.2, 253.4, 253.5, 253.6, 263.1, 263.5, 263.7, 311, 312, 333, 360, 374, 375, 378, 381, 384, 388, 411, 417, 422, 440, 441, 460, 506, 559, 563, 582, and 620 of, to add... 1975–1976 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 1354, p. 6177.
  31. ^ "State 75 Freeway Becomes 117". The San Diego Union. January 9, 1977. p. B6.
  32. ^ "2nd Border Gate Project Pushed". The San Diego Union. January 9, 1977. p. B2.
  33. ^ "CPO Eyes State 117 Action". The San Diego Union. November 22, 1977. p. B1.
  34. ^ "An Old Border Problem Seen In New Gates". The San Diego Union. September 10, 1979. pp. B1, B3.
  35. ^ Rangel, Jesus (March 12, 1981). "County Reaffirms Commitment To 2nd Border Crossing". The San Diego Union. p. B8.
  36. ^ Kozub, Linda (November 2, 1982). "State Vows $2 Million For Border Crossing Road". The San Diego Union. p. B1.
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  39. ^ Hughes, Joe (December 30, 1988). "Freeway gets new name in quest for more funds". Evening Tribune. San Diego. p. B2.
  40. ^ Braun, Gerry (March 4, 1997). "Bill is aimed at border 'choke points'". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. A3.
  41. ^ "Governor backs federal funds for construction of Route 905". San Diego Union-Tribune. June 17, 1999. p. B11.
  42. ^ Arner, Mark (March 15, 1998). "Route 125 appears winner in freeway war". The San Diego Union. p. B1.
  43. ^ Meinert, Dori and Otto Kreisher (May 23, 1998). "$100 million OK'd for area road projects". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. B1.
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  45. ^ Arner, Mark (June 1, 1997). "Fear and loathing defines driving on old Otay Mesa Road". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. B1.
  46. ^ "$25 million OK'd for South Bay freeway". San Diego Union-Tribune. June 8, 2001. p. B2.
  47. ^ Branscomb, Leslie (December 9, 2004). "1st segment of state Route 905 makes its debut - Roadway to help ease border traffic". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. B7.
  48. ^ Wilkie, Dana (May 23, 2005). "Federal highway aid tie-ups delay cures for congestion". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. A1.
  49. ^ a b c d "SR 905 Fact Sheet" (PDF). Fact Sheets. San Diego Association of Governments. July 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 26, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  50. ^ Schmidt, Steve (February 11, 2009). "Freeway work to go on despite crunch". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. B3.
  51. ^ Hawkins, Robert (April 6, 2011). "Overhaul Launched For 805-905 Interchange". The San Diego Union. p. B2.
  52. ^ Hawkins, Robert (October 5, 2010). "$20 Million Marked for 805-905 Junction". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. B2.
  53. ^ Jose Luis Jiménez (July 27, 2012). "New Border Freeway Set To Open To The Public". KPBS. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  54. ^ Thomas Brothers (2009). San Diego County Road Atlas (Map). 1:22,800. Chicago: Rand McNally. pp. 1231, 1251, 1271, 1291, 1311, 1331, 1351.
  55. ^ Kuhney, Jen (July 19, 2012). "New Freeway Segment at Border Celebrated". U-T San Diego. p. B2.
  56. ^ City News Service (October 26, 2015). "Construction Begins On Otay Mesa Border Freeway Connection". KPBS. San Diego. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  57. ^ "SR 905/SR 125/SR 11 Northbound Connectors Project Fact Sheet" (PDF). California Department of Transportation. October 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 3, 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  58. ^ Mendoza, Alexandra (December 17, 2021). "New freeway connectors set stage for Otay Mesa East border project". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Jeff Light. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  59. ^ Meyer, Matt; Sarkissian, Jacqueline (December 16, 2021). "New freeway ramps make it easier to reach border, future port of entry". Nexstar Media Group. KSWB-TV. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  60. ^ Mendoza, Alexandra (July 26, 2022). "Connector complete". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. B1. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
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  62. ^ Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978, Pub. L.Tooltip w:Public Law (United States) 99–599
  63. ^ DeSimone, Tony (June 4, 2012). "Expansion of Mileage". Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
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External links