Yeah, I remember you could drive from Las Venturas to Los Santos in about one minute on the highway in a decent car once that bridge unlocked. The smart thing about San Andreas' map was that there were very few direct routes like that, they put obstacles like mountains and rivers that roads had to go around, thus making the trips between cities feel longer. But that road between LV and LS broke the illusion of a massive world because it was a straight highway between two cities.
Thankfully they kept that road locked until much later in the game. I always liked taking the long way around anyway.