Fallbrook, CA Travel and Road Information

Table of Contents

Layout of Fallbrook Streets
Traffic Lights
Mistakes in Fallbrook Street Names
Mission Road Oddities
Loose Cow on Mission Road
Road Closures When It Rains

Accident Rates
San Diego County Highway construction plans

SR-76 Proposed Expressway Routes Through Fallbrook / Bonsall
Mission Road Widening To Four Lanes
New Bonsall Bridge across San Luis Rey at Camino del Rey
Massive Concrete Wall at Rainbow Creek on I-15

Traffic Counts
I-5 Construction near SR56 and Radar Use in County

Average L.A. Traffic Congestion
Current L.A. Traffic Conditions
Busiest San Diego Intersections
San Clemente Checkpoint on I-5
Current San Diego Traffic Conditions: Caltrans Speed Map and Star 100.7 Traffic Page

Travel Times and Distances From 1802 Acacia Lane

Layout of Fallbrook Streets

Downtown Fallbrook has streets named mostly for trees in alphabetical order running north from Fallbrook Street: (Fallbrook), Ash, Beech, College, Elder, Fig, (Alvarado), Hawthorne, Ivy, (Mission), Kalmia Streets. Apparently, there was also once a Juniper Street, perhaps the original name for Mission Street. For some reason, "D" was skipped. (NCT 11/4/99, B1)

Mistakes in Fallbrook Street Names

Karen Colterman, Village Life Editor of the Enterprise, in her 1 May 1997 Table Talk column in the Enterprise, points out the following errors in Fallbrook street names:

This is very different from the situation that is normal in geography and geology, where the local pronunciation and spelling rules. Thus the district of San Pedro in L.A. is pronounced san peed-ro, not san pay-dro, and the famous community of New Madrid, Missouri, where the biggest earthquake in the continental U.S. occurred in 1857, is pronounced new mad-rid, not new ma-drid. But that's the government for you....

I have also noticed that the sign at Winterhaven and Sunnycrest Ln. reads "Winterheaven"!

Mission Road Oddities

Karen Colterman, Village Life Editor of the Enterprise, was the inspiration for this section, with an earlier Table Talk column talking about the double intersection of Mission and Main.

Loose Cow on Mission Road

Karen Colterman reported in the 7/3/97 Enterprise that on 6/24/97 she hit a loose cow who was crossing Mission at night on east Mission Road just west of Live Oak Road. The suspect cow was not found, in spite of a search by sheriff's deputies and one of the photographers for the Enterprise, Dick O'Brien.

She reported in the 7/10/97 that one reader told her that the cow got free several months ago after being transported to Fallbrook by a local family. Capture attempts failed, and the cow has since been spotted as far down as Wilt Road, on Reche and north to East Mission.


Road Closures When It Rains

Road closures are so predictable that county personnel often put up the "flooded" signs well in advance of any flooding. Here's a list of some of the closures in recent history:

Accident Rates

PlaceTime IntervalNumber of AccidentsAccident Rate Per Million Entering Vehicles
Green Canyon Road and Winter Haven12/1/96 - 12/1/997, including 2 injury accidents1.54*
South Mission south of Clemmens12/1/97 - 12/1/992 
* significantly higher than statewide accident rate for similar intersections

See also The Accident Rate at Sharp Curves on Roads.

San Diego County Highway Construction Plans

The state of California plans to eventually extend the current 76 Expressway near I-5 10 miles eastward from Jeffries Ranch Road to Bonsall by 2005 and to I-15 by the year 2008 (1997 estimate) or 2010 (1998 estimate). This is part of a 1965 plan to give San Diego County better east-west routes.

Improvements to SR76 east of I-15 are not in SANDAG's 20 year plan released 3/26/99.

Over $500 million will be spent on these extensions by the year 2010. SR 52, 54, 56 and 76 will all be expanded to four lanes, with 56 and 76 connecting I-5 and I-15 and 52 and 54 ending at a new stretch of SR 125 near Santee.

The just completed expansion of SR 76 west of Jeffries Ranch Road constructed two lanes in both directions, but the roadbed and overpasses were graded to handle future expansion to three lanes in both directions. An expressway was built rather than a freeway due to construction costs and environmental concerns. A freeway would have costed three times as much.

Although the plan is to build these roads with public money, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is also considering 6 of these highway segments as possible toll roads in order to make them freeways and to build them more quickly. There are currently no toll roads in San Diego County.

The idea is being floated as a trial balloon because SANDAG's recently adopted transportation plan requires $25 billion, but only $16 billion from existing taxes and fees is projected to be available by 2020.

The specific sections eyed as toll roads, all from 4-6 lanes, are:

Sources: NCT 8/3/98, B2; VN 4/1/99, 39.

Mission Road Widening To Four Lanes

The continuing saga of the $6.1 million (up from the original $4.3 million) Phase I widening of Mission Road from Peppertree Lane at the south end of downtown to Winterhaven at the High School, 1.2 miles, is now scheduled to end in June 2000 "at the earliest". It was originally supposed to be finished by "late 1999", but the hillslopes on the west turned out to contain too much water to support the designed-for slope.

The north and south lanes will be at slightly different elevations, separated by a tree-lined median containing underground power lines.

As of ~1997, over 21,000 cars passed through the current construction area in a 14-hour period every day, with 2,000 cars per hour at peak.

Once this construction is finished, the widening will start again to the north, from Pepper Tree Lane to Ammunition, 0.6 miles, which will make it difficult to fully appreciate the new four-lane highway! $2.4 million was budgeted in the 1998 TransNet Program, funded by the half percent sales tax approved by the voters in November 1997. This Phase II construction will begin in Fscal Year 2001-02.

Phase III from Winterhaven to Green Canyon is allocated $5 million between Fiscal Years 2004-05 and 2007-08. On June 15, 1999, $0.6 million was approved for a 2.21 mile stretch between SR-76 and Heller's Bend North. Dates for this construction were not give.

Sources: NCT 5/7/9, B1, B5; VN 7/1/99, 32.

New Bonsall Bridge across San Luis Rey at Camino del Rey

The current metallic "Bailey" bridge over San Luis Rey River at Camino del Rey was erected in 1993 after the previous bridge was swept away by the flooding river. Plans called for the current bridge to be moved to Shearer's Crossing, several miles east, after the new bridge is built alongside it in 1998.

The design came from a collaboration between the Bonsall Community Sponsor Group and the County Public Works Department. Chair Liza Norton called the design "a beautiful bridge", which apparently would not have happened without the involvement and protests of the Bonsall group.

The two-span bridge will be 400 feet long and 14 feet above the riverbed, which should survive a 100-year flood. The bridge will be colored a muted red and made out of steel and cement. There will be a bicycle lane and a railed pedestrian walkway. The cost will be $3.5 million, 80% provided by, of course, the federal government, with the rest paid by county gasoline taxes. $100,000 will be spent for landscaping.

An artist's rendering of the bridge is on display in the inner lobby of the Bonsall Post Office.

"7 of the 12 eucalyptus trees near Highway 76 will be removed due to the new bridge's increased span. They will be replaced by California sycamores, evergreens and red iron bark eucalyptus, interspersed with purple and white trailing african daisies, lining both sides of the bridge approach.

The triangular island between Camino del Rey and West Lilac Road, a few hundred feet from the east end of the bridge, will contain drought-resistant shrubbery and scaled-down versions of existing palm trees."

Construction finally began in Spring 1999, and is expected to be completed in Spring 2000.

Sources: NCT 5/30/97, B1, B5; NCT 5/27/99, B1.

Massive Concrete Wall at Rainbow Creek on I-15

I always wondered why there was such a massive concrete wall along the west side of I-15 south where it crosses Rainbow Creek. Was there a nudist camp there that had to be protected from sightlines by the new freeway? Was there a steep drop-off there that needed such a strong safety measure? Was there an influential landowner there that was able to get Caltrans to build such a massive noise-containment wall?

I finally accidentally found the answer. The wall is to prevent mountain lions from trying to cross the freeway there! Apparently, too many lions were being killed trying to cross the freeway, so the wall was put in.

To answer your next question: yes, we have mountain lions in Fallbrook. The danger posed to humans by mountain lions is extremely low. In fact, you are much more likely to die while crossing the street in Fallbrook than at the jaws of a mountain lion. See Mountain Lions in the Fallbrook Area.

Source: Robert Fisher, USGS / SDSU (expert on wildlife habitat), talk at Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, 7/30/00.

Traffic Counts

These are daily traffic volumes:

CountsDirection of Travel CountedRoadDate
North + South27.28 miles of I-15 from Via Rancho Parkway to Riverside County Line1998
29,000East + West0.46 miles of SR76 from Olive Hill Road to S. Mission Road1998
25,000East + West2.88 miles of SR76 from North Santa Fe Ave. to Vista Way1998
24,000East + West2.57 miles of SR76 from Vista Way to Olive Hill Road1998
21,030North + SouthS. Mission Road south of Clemmens Lane8/95
17,500East + West0.29 miles of SR76 from Old Highway 395 to I-151998
East + West4.51 miles of SR76 from S. Mission Road to Old Highway 3951998
East + West34.73 miles of SR76 from I-15 to SR791998
1,270WestWinter Haven and Green Canyon Road9/99

These numbers confirm the impression that most people have that about half the traffic on SR76 east of Rancho Santa Fe is due to Fallbrook, and about half is due to I-15 traffic, presumably from the Temecula area.

All of the listed roads above except for the ones listed below have a Level of Service rating of A - C, meaning that the traffic is less than 0.79 times the capacity of the road, which means that traffic flows at or near free-flow conditions. The exceptions are these portions of SR76:

All of these sections are rated D - E, meaning a traffic flow to capacity of 0.79 - 1.00, resulting in speeds of 0.3 - 0.5 of free-flow speeds, and requiring more than one traffic light signal cycle to pass through an intersection.

Sources: VN 1/27/00, 15; 2/3/00, 17.

I-5 Construction near SR56 and Radar Use in County

From May 1997 through 1999, radar will be used to enforce the speed limit on I-5 in the construction area near SR56 at Carmel Valley Road. This is the first use of radar on freeways in SD County. Warning signs will be posted from Del Mar Heights Road to Sorrento Valley Road.

Radar is used on SR67, 78, 79 and 94 by the CHP.

Busiest San Diego Intersections

"San Diego City Traffic Engineers rank the intersection of La Jolla Shores Drive and Torrey Pines Road as San Diego's second busiest during the summer. On Fridays about 5 p.m., cars can be backed up as far as the eye can see on Ardath Road toward I-5."

Source: SDUT 5/3/97, B1.

Lindbergh Field (SD Airport) has continuing congestion due to construction, scheduled for completion later in 1997. Traffic jams occur frequently on peak travel days, including Fridays and Sundays. Source: SDUT 4/7/97, B2.

San Clemente Checkpoint on I-5

The San Clemente checkpoint is the busiest of more than 20 permanent and temporary Border Patrol checkpoints. More than 55,000 vehicles pass through it each day (NCT 4/22/97, B4), or 100,000 motorists pass by each day (SDUT 4/22/97, B1).

During peak traffic, according to the Border Patrol, waiting times can be as long as 15 minutes.

A lane near the middle of the freeway will be opened this summer for pre-screened frequent checkpoint crossers.

Source: NCT 4/22/97, B4; SDUT 4/22/97, B1.

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Copyright © 1997-2004 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 30 August 2004.