The Ritchie Valens Memorial Highway was inaugurated on Aug. 25, 2018 with a screening of the movie La Bamba and a music festival featuring performances by a Valens tribute band led by Ernie Valens, Ritchie’s cousin.

The stretch of the 5 Freeway named for the rock star runs through Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley, which was Valens’ home town.

Ritchie was just 17 years-old when he died in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper after a concert in 1959.

Ritchie Valens is buried nearby at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery.

Interstate 5 Freeway between state Routes 170 and 118

The Ritchie Valens Memorial Highway