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Thousands help dedicate SR 52

Dignitaries, the Santee community, and an estimated 20,000 people from all over the region gathered March 19 to dedicate the final piece of State Route 52, connecting SR 125 with SR 67 and completing the highway from Santee all the way to La Jolla more than half a century after it was first envisioned.

Expected to open to traffic later this month, the new road will create a straight shot to the coast for many East County residents and travelers, offering easy access to job centers and recreational activities. It also will take as much as 20 percent of the traffic off Interstate 8, as well as relieve congestion on surface streets in Santee such as Mission Gorge Road, Mast Boulevard, and Prospect Avenue.

“We’ve been working very hard for a very long time to see this day,” SANDAG First Vice Chair and Santee Councilmember Jack Dale said. “This project is not only a huge benefit to the City of Santee, it is a key element of our regional transportation system and an important asset to the entire community.”

Planners have envisioned SR 52 stretching all the way into East County since the 1950s. Working in close partnership with SANDAG and the City of Santee, Caltrans has built the freeway in sections over the course of the decades – steadily moving eastward. This final piece is 3.5-miles long and passes through the center of Santee.

'This long-awaited project is a great example of how state and local agencies work together to reduce congestion for San Diego motorists,' Caltrans District 11 Director Laurie Berman said.

The project completes the 17.7-mile link from SR 67 all the way to I-5. Construction began in 2008 and cost approximately $520 million – paid for with the TransNet half-cent sales tax, state, and federal funds.

The dedication ceremony was held on the freeway on Saturday, March 19. After dignitaries cut the ribbon on the new highway, the public was invited to ride bikes, run, and walk on the new lanes, as well as enjoy a free street fair thanks to the event’s exclusive presenting sponsor San Diego Gas & Electric, as well as major event sponsors, including KSON-FM, Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill, Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Nation, AECOM, Flatiron, MTS, Simon Wong Engineering, and SKANSKA.

The highway project is being delivered by the California Department of Transportation and SANDAG. SANDAG worked with the City of Santee and the Santee Chamber of Commerce to organize the community event.

Project Manager(s)

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or