Skip to main content

November Bay Trip Part 1; Interstate 205

This previous week I decided it was time to get out of town to explore more of the San Francisco Bay area.  After some early morning fog along California State Route 99 I made my way west on CA 120 and I-5 to the first highlight of the trip; Interstate 205.






Interstate 205 is a mostly unremarkable 13 mile highway running from I-5 in San Joaquin County west to I-580 in Alameda County.  I-205 starts in San Joaquin Valley at I-5 and climbs into the Diablo Range at I-580.





The only city of significance on I-205 is Tracy.





The only significant junctions on I-205 are with it's business loop and County Route J4 at Grant Line Road.  For some reason J4 was signed as J5 from I-205 in error.





Near the western terminus I-205 enters Alameda County and crosses the California Aqueduct.






I-205 terminates at I-580 in the Diablo Foothills.  Neither Interstate has any reassurance shields which I found odd.


On the surface there isn't too much to I-205 but there is a hell of backstory with the alignment history.  The original alignment that became I-205 first ran on what is now the I-205 Business Loop on 11th Street which was part of the first US 48.  US 48 was one of the original US Routes and ran through Tracy until 1935 when it was replaced by an extended US 50.  The shift can be seen on the 1934 and 1936 California State Highway Maps.

1934 State Highway Map 

1936 State Highway Map

US 48 was always an oddity given it was a short intrastate US Route.  The route carried an important corridor but in my opinion was much better served by US 50.  USends covers the history of US 48 on their website.

USends on US 48

I-205 was completed by 1970 and US 50 was shifted off of 11th street to multiplex it.  US 50 was cut back to Sacramento by 1972 which left the I-205 designation alone.  I-205 can be seen appearing between the 1969 and 1970 state highway maps while USends has a good piece on US 50.

1969 State Highway Map

1970 State Highway Map

USends on US 50


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Relief Route That Wasn't: The Never Built I-70 Bypass in the Mid-Mon Valley

In June 1963, a small blurb in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read that The Westmoreland Engineering Company was awarded a $24,060 bid to study the proposed construction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  The study was to see what the construction and right-of-way costs "...to modernize the existing highway to Interstate requirements within eight months." (1)  This small, non-attributed, three paragraph article came less than a decade after the completion of a four lane highway that linked the Mid-Mon Valley to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This would be the start of a 15 year process to upgrade and improve Interstate 70 - a process that ultimately never produced a single foot of new highway.

This is the story, albeit brief, of the I-70 that never came about.

Background:
What is now known as Interstate70 from Washington to New Stanton began as a connecting highway for the region to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Known as the "Express Highway", construct…

Independence Boulevard - Charlotte's First Urban Highway

Today, the major pieces of Charlotte's highway network include the Outerbelt (I-485), Interstates 77 and 85, and the Brookshire and Belk Freeways (I-277), but nearly sixty years ago Charlotte's first major urban highway project would begin.  The construction of Independence Boulevard in the 1940s and early 1950s would give Charlotte and North Carolina its first urban expressway, and would usher in a new era of highway building throughout the state.
With the help of former mayor, Ben Douglas - who sat on the State Highway Commission in the 1940s - the push for building Independence Blvd. began.  In 1946, city residents passed a $200,000 bond issue that would go along with over $2 million in federal funding.  The highway would open in two stages in 1949 and 1950.  When a grade separated interchange was built at South Blvd. and Morehead St. in the mid 1950s, Independence Blvd. was completed. (1)  Although the highway was not a fully controlled access highway, it gave motorists an …

The Bigelow Blvd. / Crosstown Expressway (Interstate 579) Ghost Ramp Mystery Explained

For nearly five decades, many Pittbsurgh-area motorists, when leaving the old Civic Arena or exiting off the Crosstown Expressway onto Bigelow Boulevard, have wondered what exactly the ghost ramp in the above photo was for.  Where was it to have come from?  When and why did they stop?  Will it ever be built?
The original plans for the Crosstown Expressway included a full interchange with Bigelow Boulevard.  However, these plans never came to fruition.  The only ramps that were built were from I-579 North onto to the Bigelow and from Bigelow Boulevard/PA 380 West to I-579 South.  The above ramp was to have come from I-579 South, and depending on what older map of Pittsburgh you have over or under the existing roadway, and on to Bigelow/PA 380 East.  It never came to be, and the HOV ramp to what was once the Civic Arena has basically eliminated the need for completing this interchange.


The two photos above show the retaining wall with the ghost ramp and how it would have connected onto…