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California State Route 55: Map


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State Route 55 (SR 55), known locally as The 55, is an 18 mile (30 km) long north-south highway in the U.S. state of Californiamarker. It is known as the Costa Mesa Freeway (formerly the Newport Freeway). SR 55 runs between Newport Beachmarker in the south and State Route 91 at Anaheimmarker in the north.

Route description

This route is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System.

Starting at Finley Avenue on Newport Boulevard in Newport Beach, south of State Route 1, Route 55/Newport Boulevard is a 4-lane expressway for approximately three-quarters of a mile to its intersection with 17th Street in Costa Mesamarker. It then follows a traditional street routing through a retail and commercial section of Costa Mesa until its intersection with 19th Street. Following the 19th Street intersection, Route 55 becomes an eight-lane below-grade freeway that bisects the northbound and southbound lanes of Newport Boulevard until the Mesa Drive undercrossing. North of Fair Drive, Route 55 is an at-grade or above-grade freeway, with the exception of a one mile (1.6 km) stretch between the 1st Street/4th Street exit and the 17th Street exit in Santa Anamarker which is below-grade.

The segment on Newport Boulevard includes a limited-access interchange at State Route 1. The southbound side of the Costa Mesa Freeway does not have a direct link to northbound Interstate 5, the Santa Ana Freeway. Route 55 is known to be crowded due to it being the primary free link from job centers in Irvine, Santa Ana and Costa Mesa to State Route 91, which leads to commuter communities of the Inland Empire and other places northeast of Orange County.

SR 55 was the first freeway in Orange County to receive carpool lanes, opened in 1985. The stretch of the 55 between Fair Dr. and 19th Street in Costa Mesa was opened in 1990; plans to extend the 55 freeway south from 19th Street to State Route 1 were never realized, but in April 2007, the Orange County Transportation Authority approved funds to study the feasibility of extending the southern freeway portion of Route 55 in Costa Mesa south to 17th Street via tunnels or flyover ramps.

Route 55 from Route 91 to Costa Mesa is known as the Costa Mesa Freeway, as named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 177, Chapter 86 in 1976.


Route 55 was originally built in 1931 and was originally numbered as Route 43. It was built from the southern terminus of Route 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway) and continued northbound on the same route it follows today, through the cities of Newport Beachmarker, Tustinmarker, Costa Mesamarker, and Anaheimmarker, and then went eastward through Riversidemarker on what is known today as Route 91 to link with Interstate 215. In 1959 the freeway was renumbered as Route 55, and its route was shortened from Route 1 to the also-renumbered Route 91.

Today, Route 55 is a heavily-travelled corridor linking southern Orange Countymarker with Route 91, the main corridor between the Inland Empiremarker and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, as well as Interstate 5, the main north-south corridor for California. A HOV lane has been built along the entire route, with its own off- and on-ramps. However, congestion is still very prevalent throughout the day, as is the norm with many Orange County freeways; Route 55 experiences a peak daily traffic volume of 262,000 vehicles and 17,292 trucks.

The entire freeway section of Route 55, approximately , is called the Costa Mesa Freeway. It was formerly called the Newport Freeway, with the name being changed by the legislature in 1976. Caltrans did not begin changing signs to reflect the name change until the early 1990s.

Exit list

Note: Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured in 1964, based on the alignment as it existed at that time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage.

The entire route is in Orange Countymarker.
Location Postmile

# Destinations Notes
Newport Beachmarker 0.00 Newport Boulevard Continuation beyond SR 1
0.27 1 Interchange; former US 101 Alt.
Costa Mesamarker 1.51 East 17th Street
1.82 Harbor Boulevard
2.02 19th Street
South end of freeway
2 Newport Boulevard Northbound exit and southbound entrance
R2.77 3 Victoria Street, 22nd Street
R3.78 4 Del Mar Avenue, Fair Drive
R4.73 5A Northbound exit and southbound entrance
R4.73 5A via toll road
R5.34 5B Baker Street
R5.99 6A Southbound exit and northbound entrance
R5.99 6B Signed as exit 6 northbound
Santa Anamarker R6.99 7 MacArthur Boulevard, Main Street
R7.85 8 Dyer Road Signed as exits 8A (east) and 8B (west) southbound
R9.44 9 Edinger Avenue
Tustinmarker R9.96 10A McFadden Avenue – Tustinmarker Signed as exit 10 southbound
10.45 10B Northbound exit and southbound entrance; former US 101 north
10.45 11A Former US 101 sotuh
10.98 11B 4th Street, Irvine Boulevard
11.79 12 17th Street – Tustinmarker, Santa Anamarker Signed as exits 12A (east) and 12B (west) southbound
12.97 13
13.70 14 Chapman Avenue (CR S25 east) – Orangemarker Signed as exits 14A (east) and 14B (west) northbound
Orangemarker 15.24 15 Katella Avenue (CR S18 south) – Villa Parkmarker
16.98 17 Lincoln Avenue, Nohl Ranch Road Lincoln Avenue was former US 91 south / former SR 18 south
Anaheimmarker R17.88 18A Northbound exit and southbound entrance; former SR 14 north
R17.88 18B Northbound exit and southbound entrance; former US 91 north / former SR 18 north
R17.88 91 Express Toll Lanes Northbound left exit and southbound entrance


  1. CA Codes (shc:250-257)
  2. SR-55 Background and History
  4. California Department of Transportation, State Truck Route List (XLS file), accessed February 2008
  5. California Department of Transportation, Log of Bridges on State Highways, July 2007
  6. California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
  7. California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, State Route 55 Freeway Interchanges, Retrieved on 2009-02-05.

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