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Jacob Dekema, Who Connected California With Freeways, Dies

(AP) - Jacob Dekema, a former Caltrans director who reshaped Southern California by building hundreds of miles of freeways, has died at 101.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Dekema died April 16 from natural causes at an assisted living facility in San Diego.

The newspaper says Dekema was known as "Mr. Caltrans" for the role he had in constructing the region's intricate network of highways and connectors - an accomplishment often cited as helping inspire the nation's interstate-highway system.

Dekema's legacy is particularly visible in San Diego County, which had 25 miles of freeway when he arrived in 1955. By the time he retired a quarter of a century later, there were 485 miles of interstate.

In 1982, Interstate 805 in San Diego was named the Jacob Dekema Freeway.

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