Category Image Finding CA 47 and CA 103 


Who knew there was a freeway down in south Los Angeles by the port? Today I drove down to see CA 47 and, after I read about its existence, CA 103. Both are down by the big Port of Los Angeles in the San Pedro area near the southern end of the 110 freeway, and this was the first time I'd been down that way. I'd always wanted to drive the southern part of the 110 but until today I never really had the chance (or burning inclination).

Basically, CA 47 begins at the Vincent Thomas Bridge, at the end of the 110, but I decided to pass up the exit for a bit and continue into San Pedro to see what it's all about. Very nice, very hilly, and there's a great overlook at the top of Gaffey street to view the port. 'Twas a bit overcast today so my view wasn't as spectacular as it might otherwise have been, but I was still impressed. Moreover, it felt kind of weird to be looking at a part of Los Angeles I'd never seen before. Driving back down the hill I took a little detour down to the water and Cabrillo Beach (check out the way cool web cam on the site!), a city park. Very cool little place right on the breakwater of the harbor.

Finally, I got back on the road to the Vincent Thomas Bridge and drove over it. It goes right by the cruise ship docks so you can get a good view of those massive ships. The bridge is quite large and it provide a great view once the weather clears up a bit. Once over the bridge there's a turn-off to CA 103, a short stretch of two-lane freeway that heads north out of the port area. However, today the northbound lane was closed when I arrived. Two CHP cars were sitting just sitting there behind the barrier and I thought perhaps it had something to do with Sept. 11. When I noticed that the southbound lanes were still open I grew even more confused. By this time I had ended up in Long Beach and headed north on the 710, and I figured I could get off the 710 and cut back on surface streets to the 103. Well, I did make it to the 103 and was able to get on the southbound 103 about a mile from its end at CA 47 (I basically went in loops all day -- I wish I had a map to show you). I then got back on the 47 toward the 710 because I really wanted to go north on 103 at least once and I thought I could maybe get on the north 103 via a street called Anaheim street (an exit on the 710 as well). Made my way off the 710 along Anaheim street toward the 103 and thought I was home free when I saw that that northbound entrance was also blocked by a CHP patrol car. Totally confused as to why the northbound 103 was closed while the southbound 103 remained open, I once again got on the southbound 103 to make the loop and try yet another entrance father north. However, at this point I saw a regular car go past me on the north 103 and I thought, "hmm. I wonder if it's open now?" Sure enough, as I came to the intersection with the 47 the CalTrans truck had just removed the road barriers and the CHP guys were gone. So at the next green light I flipped a U-turn and headed north on the 103. Yay! (and there was much rejoicing).

The 103 is rarely used (the much bigger 710 is just to the east) and it was empty today. Very nice to have a whole two-lane freeway to oneself. Interestingly, when you first get on the north 103 at the 47, the signs say "North CA 47" for about a mile, and then all of sudden, in the middle of the stretch, you see a sign "BEGIN CA 103." No intersection, nothing. The road just changes its name from CA 47 to CA 103. Imagine of the 405 suddenly changed to (oh, I don't know) 315. Wouldn't that be a good time giving directions to out-of-towners! Anyway, very strange little freeway.

Useful links: page on CA 47/103 pages on CA 47 and CA 103  

Posted: Sunday - December 07, 3 at 03:09 PM