U.S. Highways > Highway 395

The Keys Creek Bridge


On Old Highway 395, at the base of Shearer’s Grade, north bound motorists first cross the Keys Creek Bridge and then almost immediately they cross the San Luis Rey River Bridge.  These two bridges almost look like one crossing, but they are two separate bridges.   
Beginning in the Rincon Indian Reservation, Keys Creek flows west to northwest, through Keys Canyon and empties into the San Luis Rey River.  The modern realignment of US Highway 395 crosses near the mouth of Keys Creek.     
Work had begun on the realignment of US Highway 395 from Escondido to Rainbow in 1943.  The new route could not be open until the two bridges were completed.  Bridge construction began in January 1946.  $150,000 was allocated for the project.  The San Luis Rey River Bridge was 650 feet and the Keys Creek Bridge was 150 feet.
On April 17, 1948, the 19 ½ mile highway from Escondido to Rainbow was officially open.  Soon the bridges became a bottleneck for highway travelers as highways 395 and 76 intersected north of the river crossing.  It was not until the opening of Interstate 15 in the early 1970s that the bottleneck was finally broken. 
During the 1992-1993 flood seasons, extensive damage occurred to the foundation of the San Luis Rey River Bridge.  The bridge was closed and necessitated a $4.5 million bridge replacement.
Today local residents of Bonsall and Fallbrook drive over the newly constructed San Luis Rey River Bridge, not realizing that they are also traveling over the Keys Creek Bridge.  It would be nice if there was a sign identifying this small forgotten bridge.   

This is near the 15? So, Keys Creek was the channel near the south side of the current channel, and San Luis Rey was on the north side?

Jeffrey forwarded a couple pics for me to post.

First, the Keys Creek Bridge on 1949 US 395 south of the San Luis Rey River:

Second, the San Luis Rey River bridge near State Route 76:


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