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The Santa Ana Freeway is one of the principal freeways in Southern California, connecting Los Angelesmarker and its southeastern suburbs. The freeway begins at the four level Bill Keene Memorial Interchangemarker complex in downtown Los Angeles, signed as U.S. Route 101. From there, it proceeds one mile (1.6 km) east to the East Los Angeles Interchangemarker where it takes the designation of Interstate 5. Its alignment then generally goes northwest to southeast towards its junction with the San Diego Freeway, Interstate 405 (I-405) (informally referred to as the El Toro Ymarker), in Irvinemarker.

North of the East Los Angeles Interchangemarker complex, Interstate 5's name changes to the Golden State Freeway. South of its junction with the I-405, its name changes to the San Diego Freeway. (Interstate 405 ends at this junction.)

An abundance of landmarks, most importantly (Disneylandmarker and Angel Stadium of Anaheimmarker) along the Orange County portion of its route combines with a severe bottleneck beginning at the Los Angeles County border (shrinking from 12 to 6 lanes) to make it one of the most congested freeways in Southern California. The infamously busy intersection of the Santa Ana, Garden Grove, and Orange freeways in southwestern Orangemarker is nicknamed the Orange Crushmarker.


The Santa Ana Freeway is a bypass of the original state highway from Los Angeles to Santa Ana, which passed through Whittiermarker and mostly became SR 72 in the 1964 renumbering. Southeast of Santa Ana, this earlier highway, added to the state highway system in 1910 as Route 2, generally followed the present freeway from Tustinmarker past East Irvinemarker to El Toromarker. This route was marked as part of US 101 in 1928.

In 1933, the state legislature added a number of routes to the state highway system, including two that later formed parts of the Santa Ana Freeway. Route 166 began at the new Route 172 (now SR 60), at the corner of Indiana and Third Streets, and headed south on Indiana Street and east and southeast on Mines Avenue (Olympic Boulevard) and Anaheim-Telegraph Road (now Telegraph Road) to Route 171 (now SR 39) at the intersection with Los Nietos Road near Santa Fe Springsmarker. Route 174 began at Route 60 (then signed Alternate U. S. 101 now SR 1) in what now is known as Westchestermarker and followed Manchester Avenue and Firestone Boulevard (then under construction alongside the Southern Pacific Railroad's Santa Ana Branch) to Route 2 (then Los Angeles Street, now Anaheim Boulevard) in southern Anaheimmarker. A second piece began further southeast on Route 2, where it turned east on Chapman Avenue, and followed the shorter Santa Ana Boulevard diagonally to Route 2 (Main Street) in northern Santa Anamarker. In 1934, Route 166, except on Indiana Street, was marked as part of Sign Route 6 (which continued along Route 171 to Buena Parkmarker), and the entire length of Route 174 became Sign Route 10. (SR 6 was renumbered to SR 26 in 1937, when US 6 entered California; SR 10 was soon truncated to Anaheim Boulevard, as US 101 had moved from Route 2 to the shorter Route 174 in Santa Ana.)

A U.S. Route 101 Bypass was created by 1941, beginning at the intersection of Routes 166 (Indiana Street, soon moved to Downey Road ) and 2 (US 101 along Whittier Boulevard), and following Routes 166 and 174 to Route 2 (US 101) in Anaheim. The connection between Routes 166 and 174 was made via Route 168 (Rosemead Boulevard, then and now SR 19). This resulted in SR 10 being truncated further, to the intersection of Firestone and Rosemead Boulevards, though SR 26 continued to extend east on Route 166 to Buena Park.

A freeway connecting downtown Los Angeles with Orange Countymarker was planned by 1939, and was included in A Transit Program for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, published that year by the Metropolitan Transportation Engineering Board. To allow for its construction by the state, the definition of Route 166 was modified in 1941, changing the southeast end to Route 174 near Norwalkmarker; at the same time, the northernmost piece was changed from Indiana Street to Downey Road.

The entire Santa Ana Freeway began construction in 1947 and completed in 1956. Originally it was signed as US 101 before the segment of the 101 between the East Los Angeles Interchange and the United States–Mexico border in San Ysidro, Californiamarker was decommissioned in favor of Interstate 5. It was approved as a chargeable interstate in 1961. The Santa Ana Freeway and also portions of San Diego Freeway (before the freeway was built) south of El Toro Ymarker went up changing the U.S. 101 signs to Interstate 5 in 1964, including full length of Golden State Freeway which was originally signed as US 99.

Legal definition

Routes 101 and 5 from Route 110 (Four Level Interchangemarker) to Route 405.

Control cities


Santa Ana — El Toro Y to Orange Crush Interchange

Los Angeles — Orange Crush Interchange to East Los Angeles Interchange

Civic Center — East Los Angeles Interchange to Alameda Street

Hollywood — Alameda Street to Four Level Interchange


Santa Ana — Four Level Interchange to Orange Crush Interchange

San Diego — Orange Crush Interchange to El Toro Y

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 numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.
County Location Postmile

# Destinations Notes
ORA 21.30-44.38
Irvinemarker 21.30 Continuation beyond I-405
22.21 94B Alton Parkway Signed as exit 94 southbound
22.80 Barranca Parkway Southbound exit and northbound entrance (HOV only)
23.12 95 Signed as exit 96B southbound
23.12 95 Southbound exit and northbound entrance
R23.94 96 Sand Canyon Avenue Signed as exit 96A southbound
R24.99 97 Jeffrey Road
R26.58 99 Culver Drive
27.59 100 Jamboree Road (to SR 261)
28.25 101A Tustin Ranch Road
R29.09 101B Red Hill Avenue – Tustinmarker
29.62 102 Newport Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance
30.26 103A Northbound exit and southbound entrance
30.26 103B Signed as exit 103 southbound
Santa Anamarker 30.90-
103C First Street, Fourth Street Signed as exit 104A southbound
31.76 104 Grand Avenue, Santa Ana Boulevard Signed as exit 104B southbound
32.46 105A 17th Street
33.09 105B Main Street, Broadway – Santa Anamarker Former SR 51 north/SR 73 south
Santa Anamarker,
34.00 106 Signed as exit 107B southbound
34.00 107A Southbound exit and northbound entrance
34.14 107A La Veta Avenue, Bristol Street Northbound exit is part of exit 106; serves Angel Stadiummarker
34.27 107A Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Orangemarker 34.94 107B Chapman Avenue Southbound exit is via exit 107C; former SR 51 south
35.19 107C State College Boulevard, The City Drive Former SR 250
35.59 109A Orangewood Avenue Northbound exit is via exit 107C
35.92 Gene Autry Way, Disney Way HOV only
36.26 109A Katella Avenue Signed as exit 109 northbound
36.61 109B Disney Way, Anaheim Boulevard Northbound exit is via exit 109; former SR 72
37.40 110A Harbor Boulevard Signed as exit 110 northbound
110B Disneyland Drive, Ball Road Northbound exit is via exit 110
38.92 111 Lincoln Avenue Former SR 214
39.51 112 Euclid Street
113 Brookhurst Street, La Palma Avenue Signed as exits 113A (Brookhurst Street, La Palma Avenue west) and 113B (La Palma Avenue east) northbound
41.50 114 Magnolia Avenue Signed as exit 114A southbound
42.10 113C Northbound exit and southbound entrance
42.10 114B Northbound exit is via exit 114
Buena Parkmarker 43.13 115 Auto Center Drive Northbound exit only (Currently under cronstruction)
43.43 116 (Currently under cronstruction)
44.26 117 Knott Avenue, Artesia Boulevard Former SR 91
Los Angeles
LA 5 0.00-16.88
LA 101 S0.00-1.57

La Miradamarker 1.21 118 Valley View Avenue – La Miradamarker
Santa Fe Springsmarker
1.68 Alondra Boulevard No exit ramps
Santa Fe Springsmarker,
2.41 119 Carmenita Road
3.44 120A Rosecrans Avenue – La Miradamarker Signed as exit 120 southbound
Norwalkmarker 3.64 120B Firestone Boulevard Northbound exit and southbound entrance; former SR 42
4.41 121 Norwalk Boulevard, San Antonio Drive – Norwalkmarker Former SR 35
122 Imperial Highway, Pioneer Boulevard
Santa Fe Springsmarker,
6.38 123 Florence Avenue
6.85 124
Downeymarker 8.31 125
8.95 126A Paramount Boulevard – Downeymarker
9.70 126B Slauson Avenue – Montebellomarker No northbound entrance
10.88 128A Bandini Boulevard, Garfield Avenue
Commercemarker 11.55 128B Washington Boulevard – Commercemarker
12.80 129 Eastern Avenue, Atlantic Boulevard Former SR 15
12.92 130A Atlantic Boulevard south, Triggs Street
13.78 130C Northbound exit and southbound entrance
13.78 130B Northbound exit is via exit 130A
13.89 130B Eastern Avenue Northbound exit only
14.25 131A Olympic Boulevard Southbound exit and northbound entrance; former SR 26 / SR 245
14.80 131B Ditman Avenue Southbound exit and entrance only
Los Angelesmarker 14.94 131 Indiana Street Signed as exit 132 southbound; former SR 165
15.1 132 Calzona Street Northbound exit and entrance only
16.05 133 Grande Vista Avenue Northbound exit and southbound entrance
16.05 133 Euclid Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance
16.47 134A Northbound exit and southbound entrance
16.47 Southbound exit and northbound entrance
16.59 134B Soto Street No exit number southbound
5 16.88
101 S0.00
Northbound exit and southbound entrance; north end of I-5 overlap; south end of US 101
S0.02 134C Seventh Street Signed as exit 1A southbound
S0.62 1A Fourth Street Signed as exit 1B southbound; no northbound entrance
S0.91 1B First Street Signed as exit 1C southbound; no southbound entrance
S1.2 1C Cesar Chavez Avenue Northbound exit only
1D No southbound entrance; left exit southbound
0.1 1E Mission Road No northbound exit
0.39 2A Vignes Street Northbound exit and entrance only
0.76 2B Alameda Street – Union Stationmarker No southbound exit
0.87 2B Los Angeles Street No northbound exit
1.01 2C Spring Street Northbound exit only
1.08 2C Broadway Southbound exit and northbound entrance
1.32 3A Grand Avenue, Temple Street Northbound exit is part of exit 3
1.57 3 Northbound exit and southbound entrance
1.57 Continuation beyond SR 110


  1. Ben Blow, California Highways: A Descriptive Record of Road Development by the State and by Such Counties as Have Paved Highways, 1920 ( or Google Books), pp. 165, 194-195
  2. California Highways and Public Works, United States Numbered Highways, January 1928
  3. : "Los Angeles, Indiana and 3rd Streets, to the Huntington Beach-Whittier Road near Santa Fe Springs." "State Highway Route 60 via Manchester Avenue to State Highway Route 2 near Miraflores." "State Highway Route 2 near Orange County Hospital to Main Street, Santa Ana, via Santa Ana Boulevard."
  4. : "Route 166 is from Route 172, at the intersection of Indiana and Third Streets, in Los Angeles, to Route 171 near Santa Fe Springs." "Route 174 is from: (a) Route 60 via Manchester Avenue to Route 2 near Miraflores. (b) Route 2 near Orange County Hospital to Main Street, Santa Ana, via Santa Ana Boulevard."
  5. California Highways and Public Works, State Routes will be Numbered and Marked with Distinctive Bear Signs, August 1934
  6. H.M. Gousha Company, Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1935
  7. Richard F. Weingroff, U.S. 6: The Grand Army of the Republic Highway
  8. H.M. Gousha Company, Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1939
  9. H.M. Gousha Company, Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1941: SR 10 overlaps US 101 Bypass to Anaheim
  10. H.M. Gousha Company, Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1942: SR 10 has been truncated
  11. Division of Highways, Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1944
  12. Los Angeles Times, Super-Road Hearing Set, September 8, 1939, p. 20
  13. Ann Forsyth, Reforming Suburbia: The Planned Communities of Irvine, Columbia, and The Woodlands, University of California Press, 2005, ISBN 0520241665, p. 61
  14. : "Route 166 is from Route 172, at the intersection of Downey Road to Route 174, near Norwalk."
  15. California Department of Transportation, State Truck Route List (XLS file), accessed January 2008
  16. California Department of Transportation, Log of Bridges on State Highways, July 2007
  17. California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
  18. California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, I-5, accessed January 2008

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