Skip to main content

California State Route 160; the legacy of US Routes 40/50/99/99W/99E, Lincoln Highway, Victory Highway and CA 24

Over the Fourth of July Weekend I drove the entirety of both sections California State Route 160 on the North Sacramento Freeway and Sacrament/San Joaquin River Delta.  In addition, I drove the somewhat recently relinquished segment of CA 160 in downtown Sacramento.  CA 160 is made up of segments of historic highway corridors which once were parts of; the North Lincoln Highway, Victory Highway, US Route 40, US 50, US 99, US 99E and US 99W.

The present configuration of CA 160 was created during the 1964 State Highway Renumbering as a north/south highway.  CA 160 exists in two segments; the first on the North Sacramento Freeway from CA 51 (signed I-80 Business) south to downtown Sacramento and the second from I-5 in south Sacramento south through the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta to CA 4 in Antioch.  In 2002 the surface portion of CA 160 in Sacramento was relinquished but the highway is listed as having 59 miles as of 1995 according to on CA 160

CA 160 is comprised of some of the oldest State Highway corridors.  The North Sacramento Freeway part of CA 160 has origins as Legislative Route Number 3 which was defined during the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act as a highway originating in Sacramento northward to the Oregon State line.  The section of CA 160 south of Sacramento through the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta was part of LRN 11.  LRN 11 was first defined in 1895 over the Lake Tahoe Wagon Road east of Placerville.  The Sacramento River Delta portion of LRN 11 was added by the Legislature in 1933. on LRN 3 on LRN 11

The first Signed Highway over any segment of CA 160 was the North Route of the Lincoln Highway which was dedicated in late October 1913.   The North Lincoln Highway utilized the future corridor of CA 160 on the following alignment heading westward into Sacramento:

-  El Camino Avenue to Del Paso Boulevard
-  Del Paso Boulevard over the American River to 12th Street
-  12th Street to F Street
-  F Street to 15th Street
-  15th Street to L Street

The second generation North Lincoln Highway saw a minor shift in the alignment of Sacramento.  From the American River the North Lincoln Highway was realigned on 16th Street on a more direct run to L Street.  More details about the alignments of the Lincoln Highway can be found Official Lincoln Highway Map by the Lincoln Highway Association.

Lincoln Highway Official Map

By 1922 the alignment of the Victory Highway was finalized.  The Victory Highway essentially used the entirety of the future corridor of CA 160 as it followed the North Lincoln Highway into downtown Sacramento.  From downtown Sacramento the Victory Highway used the future 1933 extension of LRN 11 through the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta to Antioch.  The Clason Highway Map of California below (year undetermined) shows the Lincoln Highway and Victory Highway on the future corridor of CA 160.

1920s Clauson Highway Map of California

By November of 1926 the US Route System was created.  US Route 40 and US 99E were routed into downtown Sacramento on the corridor LRN 3/North Lincoln Highway/Victory Highway.  At L Street US 99E terminated whereas US 40/US 99W continued westward.  US 99 south continued east on L Street.  The early US Route alignments in Sacramento were likely signed by late 1927 and can be seen on the the 1930 State Highway Map City Insert.  The future 1933 addition to LRN 11 is also highlighted on 16th Street, Y Street and Freeport Boulevard.

1933 was a significant year for State Highway development as Legislative barriers preventing State Funds from being used in urban areas were removed.  Subsequently LRN 11 was extended through Sacramento and southward through the Sacramento River Delta to Antioch.   Similar extensions to State Highways and new Legislative Routes were added throughout California in 1933. Highway Chronology Phase III; A Significant System is Created (1933-1946)

In August of 1934 the Signed State Highways were announced in a Department of Public Works Guide.  CA 24 was announced on Page 32 as running from CA 7 over the Sierra Nevada Mountains via Oroville to US 99W in Woodland.

1934 Department of Public Works guide announcing the Signed State Highways

In October of 1935 CA 24 was announced in a Department of Public Works guide on Page 21 as being extended south through Sacramento and over LRN 11 to Antioch.

1935 Department Public Works Guide announcing Signed Highway Changes

For reference the alignment of CA 24/LRN 11 between Sacramento and Antioch can be seen on the 1935 Division of Highways Maps Sacramento County and Contra Costa County.

1935 Sacramento County Highway Map

1935 Contra Costa County Highway Map 

The 1938 State Highway Map City Insert shows the first clear detail of CA 24 being routed through downtown Sacramento.  CA 24 westbound entered Sacramento co-signed with CA 16 east on LRN 50 over the I Street Bridge.  CA 24 west/CA 16 east made a jog down 5th Street to reach US 40/US 99W on L Street.  CA 24 westbound continued east on L Street to 16th Street where it reached the future corridor of CA 160 on LRN 11.  CA 24 westbound continued south on 16th Street, east on Y Street and took the Freeport Boulevard bypass out of Sacramento southward towards the Sacramento River Delta.  US 40/US 99E doesn't show alignment changes on the future corridor of CA 160 on LRN 3 north out of downtown Sacramento in 1938.

The 1940 State Highway Map City Insert shows significant changes to the routing of CA 24.  CA 24 west stayed on LRN 50 southward on 5th Street all the way to Broadway (formerly Y Street) where it connected with Freeport Boulevard.  US 50 appears to have been realigned into downtown Sacramento via Folsom Boulevard and Capitol Avenue to the future corridor of CA 160 on 16th Street where it met US 40/US 99/US 99E.  US 50 followed 16th Street and US 99 southward to Broadway where it made an eastern turn towards onto CA 24.  The multiplex of CA 24/US 50/US 99 would have been brief as the US Routes followed LRN 4 to Stockton Boulevard.  Note; the previous alignment of US 99 had it enter the City of Sacramento northbound via Stockton Boulevard, Alhambra Boulevard and L Street.

The 1944 State Highway Map City Insert below shows the planned US 40/99E bypass route of North Sacramento.

The 1948 State Highway Map City Insert shows the US 40/99E bypass of North Sacramento on the North Sacramento Freeway complete.

The 1951 State Highway Map City Insert shows a planned US 40/99W bypass route of West Sacramento and a new planned routing of US 99E east of Sacramento.

The 1955 State Highway Map City Insert shows significant changes to the highways through the city.  Regarding the future corridor of CA 160 the alignment of US 40/99E are show split onto one-way alignments.  US 40 East and US 99E North are shown exiting downtown Sacramento on 16th Street.  US 40 West and US 99E South are shown on 12th Street, F Street, and 15th Street. The full planned bypass route of US 99E east of Sacramento and a new route of US 99 are shown.

The 1956 State Highway Map City Insert shows a new routing of US 99E off the future corridor of CA 160 along 30th Street northbound and 29th Street southbound from Capitol Avenue.  US 50 was pulled out of downtown onto the new bypass of Sacramento off of the future corridor of CA 160.  US 99W is shown being extended to Stockton Boulevard via Broadway along the corridor of future CA 160 on 15th Street southbound and 16th Street northbound 

The 1958 State Highway Map City Insert shows that CA 24 and CA 16 were shifted onto one-way traffic patterns on 3rd Street and 5th Street.

In 1964 the California State Highway renumbering occurred.  The following changes appear on the 1964 State Highway Map City Insert related to CA 160:

-  US 99W on 15th Street/16th Street was legislatively re-designated as CA 160.
-  The route of CA 24 south of Sacramento was renumbered to CA 160.
-  US 40 north of downtown Sacramento was legislatively re-designated as CA 160. 

More globally the entire route of CA 160 first appears on the overall 1964 State Highway Map.  Interestingly CA 160 south of CA 12 near Rio Vista carried the Legislative Route Number of CA 84.  It was likely CA 160 south of CA 12 was simply intended a place holder for a completed CA 84. 

The 1965 State Highway Map City Insert shows that CA 160 was at minimum was co-signed with US 40 on the North Sacramento Freeway.  It is unclear if CA 160 was co-signed on US 99W on 15th/16th Street. 

The 1967 State Highway Map City Insert shows that US 40, US 99, US 99E and US 99W were eliminated which left only CA 160 running through it's corridor.  

The 1977 State Highway Map City Insert shows a slight change to the route of CA 160 south of downtown Sacramento.  CA 160 southbound was routed onto a one-way configuration via the jog in Freeport Boulevard from Broadway whereas as northbound traffic was routed on 21st Street.  This dual on-way alignment of CA 160 remained as part of the highway until it was relinquished in 2002.

1977 State Highway Map City Insert

According to the legislative definition of CA 160 was extended from CA 12 near Rio Vista south to CA 4 in Antioch.  Although CA 160 had been signed over this segment since 1964 the 1981 legislative change finally reflected the field signage.  The 1982 State Highway Map was the first Edition to reflect the legislative definition of CA 84 being replaced by CA 160 between CA 12 south to CA 4.

1982 State Highway Map

As noted above the surface portions of CA 160 between the south end of the North Sacramento Freeway and I-5 were relinquished in 2002.  This change is reflective on the 2005 State Highway Map City Insert. 

In 2003 the City of Sacramento drafted plan to convert the jog in Freeport Boulevard which was CA 160 southbound and 21st Street which was CA 160 northbound back to two-way streets.  According to TheStranger on the AAroads Forum this change was completed circa 2011. 

Note; much of the information described above was ripped directly from the previous blog regarding former highway alignments in Sacramento.  Suffice to say with so many US Routes and surface State Highways there have been countless changes travel through Sacramento over the years.

Highways in and around Old Sacramento; US 40, US 99W, CA 16, CA 24, CA 70, CA 99, CA 275 and more

My approach to CA 160 southbound was on CA 51/I-80BL southbound.  At Exit 9B I pulled off of CA 51/I-80BL onto CA 160 on the North Sacramento Freeway.

CA 160 south on the North Sacramento Freeway begins at approximately Post Mile SAC 47.000.  Something immediately noticeable about the North Sacramento Freeway is the oleander bushes that populate the median.  The median plant growth is typical of pre-Interstate era freeway designs in California.

At Exit 47B CA 160 south on the North Sacramento Freeway accesses Royal Oaks Drive.

At Exit 47A CA 160 south accesses Canterbury Road and Leisure Lane.

CA 160 south on the North Sacramento Freeway crosses the American River where it becomes the at-grade 12th Street at Richards Boulevard.  The State Maintenance of CA 160 terminates immediately at the south bank of the American River at Post Mile SAC R44.456. 

Former CA 160 followed 12th Street southward below the Union Pacific Railways via the 1949 Southern Pacific Subway on a one-way alignment to F Street.  As noted above the North Lincoln Highway initially utilized the 12th Street alignment of former CA 160 in 1913.  Since 1987 (credit: TheStranger on the AAroads forum) the Sacramento light rail linne has been installed on 12th Street.

CA 160 south made a left hand turn onto F Street towards 15th Street.  F Street is presently aligned as a two-way street and even has a small roundabout.

CA 160 south made a right hand turn onto 15th Street and proceeded towards Capitol Avenue.

Capitol Avenue and 15th Street is aligned along the western grounds of the California State Capitol.  The California State Capitol Building was designed to resemble the U.S. Capitol Building and was under construction from 1861 to 1874.  These photos below of the State Capitol Building were taken in early 2019, hence the Christmas theme.

Former CA 160 south on 15th Street has a junction with US 50 at W Street.  Interestingly US 50 is still signed from former CA 160 south as I-80BL.  This is interesting considering the I-80BL signage disappeared from the freeway grade of US 50 years ago.

At Broadway former CA 160 south made a left hand turn.

Former CA 160 south followed Broadway eastward to Freeport Boulevard.

The jog in Freeport Boulevard appears to have been constructed when LRN 11 was extended in 1933 to avoid a rail crossing.  The Victory Highway would have had to use Y Street east over the railroad tracks and a turn south on what is now 21st Street.  Former CA 160 followed Freeport Boulevard to the junction with 21st Street.

Former CA 160 south continued on Freeport Boulevard past the western grounds of Sacramento Executive Airport.  Sacramento Executive Airport opened in 1930 as the City run Sutterville Aerodrome.  Sutterville Aerodrome was converted into a U.S. Army Airfield during World War II before re-designated as Sacramento Municipal Airport.  Commercial flights at Sacramento Municipal Airport ended in 1967 when Sacramento Metropolitan Airport opened.

Former CA 160 on Freeport Boulevard south of Sacramento Executive Airport is adorned with rose bushes in the median.

At Freeport Boulevard and Florin Road I noticed this somewhat amusing add pertaining to opioid addiction.  The add almost makes it seem like opioid addition is fun.

At Freeport Boulevard and Pocket Road/Meadowview Road signage of CA 160 south resumes.

Freeport Boulevard crosses under I-5 and approaches Consumnes River Boulevard near the south City Limit of Sacramento.  As Freeport Boulevard exits Sacramento State Highway Maintenance resumes at Post Mile SAC 35.045.  Consumnes River Boulevard is notable given it was built by the City of Sacramento directly over the planned alignment of CA 148.  Maintenance of CA 160 resumes in the community of Freeport which essentially now a ghost town along the Sacramento River. 

Freeport dates back to 1862 when the community was built by the Freeport Railroad Company.  The concept of Freeport was that the port on the Sacramento River was tax free and would bypass Sacramento by way of the Freeport Railroad.  The Freeport Railroad was a 10 mile line which operated from 1863 to 1865 before it was bought out by the Central Pacific Railroad.

From the Freeport Bridge at Post Mile SAC 34.076 CA 160 south enters the Sacramento River Delta and is signed as 28 miles from Isleton.  The Freeport Bridge connects to Signed County Route E9 over the Sacramento River.  The Freeport Bridge is a bascule span which opened to traffic in 1930.  The Freeport Bridge is just one of numerous draw spans either on CA 160 or connecting to it in the Sacramento River Delta.

South of the Freeport Bridge CA 160 ascends onto the levees alongside the west bank of the Sacramento River.  At Post Mile SAC 26.238 CA 160 south enters the community of Hood and has a significant intersection at Hood-Franklin Road.  Hood dates back to 1910 and was named after Southern Pacific Railroad engineer William Hood.  The previous Southern Pacific Line through Hood can be seen on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Sacramento County linked above.

From Hood CA 160 south is signed as 4 miles from Courtland and 44 miles from Antioch.

CA 160 south of Hope ascends the levees of the Sacramento River once again.  Mount Diablo can be seen off in the distance to the south along CA 160.  At Post Mile SAC 22.045 enters Courtland.

Courtland dates back to 1870 when a Steam Ship landing was founded by Courtland Sims.  Courtland is mostly known for the local Pear Fair which has been hosted annually since 1972.  Courtland does have some interesting derelict structures such as the abandoned courthouse on Riverside Drive.

From CA 160 in Courtland the 1939 Sutter Slough Bridge can be seen across the Sacramento River.  The Sutter Slough Bridge is one of the last swing spans left in California and is 397 feet in length.

CA 160 south of Courtland meets River Road at the Paintersville Bridge at Post Mile SAC 21.1.  River Road continues south and is access to CR E13 southward through Locke  to Signed County Route E11 in Walnut Grove.

CA 160 south crosses the Sacramento River onto Sutter Island via the Paintersville Bridge.  The Paintersville Bridge is a 588 foot long bascule span which opened to traffic in 1923.  The Paintersville Bridge is named after a community of the same name which was located on the west bank of the Sacramento River.  Paintersville was established in 1879 when Levi Painter sub-divided the land the community was planned on.

CA 160 south on Sutter Island follows the west bank of the Sacramento River to Steamboat Slough Bridge at approximately Post Mile SAC 19.800.  The Steamboat Slough Bridge is a bascule span opened in 1924 and is a similar design to the Painterville albeit only 342.9 feet in length.  CA 160 south upon crossing the Steamboat Slough Bridge enters Grand Island.

CA 160 south on Grand Island follows the west bank of the Sacramento River to the Walnut Grove Crossing Bridge/Signed County Route J11 in Walnut Grove at Post Mile SAC 14.174.  The Walnut Grove Crossing Bridge is a bascule span which opened to traffic in 1950 and had replaced the earlier 1916 structure.  The Walnut Grove Crossing Bridge has a total length of 301.9 feet and is named for the community which it is located in.  Walnut Grove was founded in 1850 at the height of the California Gold Rush and was named after the groves of walnut trees which used to be located nearby. 

Back in 2017 I visited the ghost town of Locke on Signed County Route E13 and drove much of the route of Signed County Route J11.

Disaster Tourism Part 8; CA 160 and CR J11 in the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta

CA 160 south is signed as 9 miles from Isleton exiting Walnut Grove.

CA 160 south continues along the west bank of the Sacramento River to a junction with CA 220 in Ryde at Post Mile SAC 11.459.  Ryde dates back to 1892 and was named after a community of the same name on the Isle of Wight.

CA 220 is one of the two remaining State Highways with a ferry segment.  CA 220 connects from Grand Island to Ryer Island via the J-Mack Ferry.  The J-Mack Ferry and Real McCoy II on CA 84 were covered in this previous blog.

California Ferry Routes; CA 84 Real McCoy II Ferry and CA 220 J-Mack Ferry

South of Ryde CA 160 south is signed as a Scenic Highway.

CA 160 south follows the west bank of the Sacramento River on Grand Island with Mount Diablo becoming more and more apparent in the distance.  At Post Mile SAC 5.98 CA 160 south crosses the Isleton Bridge to the east bank of the Sacramento River and Isleton Road.  The Isleton Bridge is a bascule bridge which opened to traffic in 1923 and is 624 feet in length.

Of note; CA 12 used to multiplex CA 24 from the Isleton Bridge to the Rio Vista Bridge.  The alignment history of CA 12 in the Sacramento River Delta can be found on the blog below.

CA 12 and the drive to Stay Alive in the Sacramento River Delta

At Post Mile SAC 4.58 CA 160 south enters Isleton.  Isleton was founded in 1874 and became a significant stop for Chinese to settle by 1875 along with most of the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta.  Isleton had several major floods in the late 19th century and early 20th century.  The population of the city seems to have fallen through the floor from a documented approximate 2,000 even by the 1930s to about 800 today.

CA 160 south of Isleton is signed as 21 miles from Antioch.

At Post Mile SAC R0.00 CA 160 south reaches CA 12 at the eastern foot of the Rio Vista Bridge.  The weird Post Mileage is reflective of the legislative definition of CA 160 once terminating at CA 12 between 1964 through 1981.

The Rio Vista Bridge on CA 12 is a vertical lift span which was gradually built upon the site of an earlier bascule bridge between 1943 and 1960.  The Rio Vista Bridge is 2,890 in length and has a 135 foot clearance when it's vertical span is raised.  The Rio Vista Bridge is infamous for long delays due to freight shipping traffic on the Sacramento River and averages about 20,000 vehicles a day.  Various studies have been conducted to research a replacement span but none have had much viability or much public support.  The photo below was taken from the western span of the Rio Vista Bridge on CA 84.

CA 160 south of CA 12 follows the east bank of the Sacramento River to the Three Mile Slough Bridge at Post Mile SAC L7.052.  The Three Mile Slough Bridge is a 749.1 foot long vertical lift bridge similar to the Rio Vista Bridge which was completed in 1949.  CA 160 south upon crossing the Three Mile Slough Bridge enters Sherman Island.


CA 160 south crosses through Sherman Island with the Antioch Bridge coming into view.  At Post Mile SAC L2.638 CA 160 south meets the original alignment of the Victory Highway to the Victory Bridge at Sherman Island Cross Road.

The original crossing of the San Joaquin River was the Victory Bridge which was opened to traffic January 1st of 1926.  The Victory Bridge was named after the Victory Highway and was considered the final piece of the nation-wide Auto Trail which spanned from New York City west to San Francisco.  The Victory Bridge was a K-through Truss design which featured a vertical lift span.  The Victory Bridge was constructed by the American Toll Bridge Company which went onto build the Carquinez Bridge.  The Victory Bridge was a private toll facility which was purchased by the State of California in September of 1940.  As the decades progressed the Victory Bridge was plagued by collisions with shipping freight traffic on San Joaquin River but the span remained as part of CA 24 until it was replaced by CA 160 during the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.  Funding for a replacement span to the Victory Bridge was approved legislatively in 1972.  By December of 1978 the Antioch Bridge opened to traffic and is the present structure crossing the San Joaquin River.   Photos the Victory Bridge can be seen on on the link below. on the Victory Bridge

The Antioch Bridge is a concrete girder deck design which is 9,504 feet in length.   The Antioch Bridge doesn't have a draw span since it features a maximum clearance of 135 feet above the San Joaquin River.  Northbound CA 160 traffic is required to pay a $6.00 dollar toll to cross the Antioch Bridge.  The Antioch Bridge is the only State Maintained Toll Bridge that features a two-lane alignment.  Mid-span CA 160 south enters Contra Costa County at Post Mile CC 1.326.  The Antioch Bridge is signed as the "Senator A Nejedty Bridge."

At the Wilbur Avenue Exit CA 160 south becomes a freeway again in Antioch.

Access to Main Street and 18th Street is signed from CA 160 south Exit 1A.

CA 160 south terminates at the junction for CA 4.


Unknown said…
Nice write up! One mention about the five bascule bridges between Freeport and Isleton: All are (Joseph B.) Strauss Trunnion double-leaf design, and you can tell by the width of the roadways which ones were built first. Also, the state-maintained bridges are painted a muted yellow color, while the Sacramento County bridges (Freeport / Walnut Grove) are green.

Popular posts from this blog

Paper Highways: The Unbuilt New Orleans Bypass (Proposed I-410)

  There are many examples around the United States of proposed freeway corridors in urban areas that never saw the light of day for one reason or another. They all fall somewhere in between the little-known and the infamous and from the mundane to the spectacular. One of the more obscure and interesting examples of such a project is the short-lived idea to construct a southern beltway for the New Orleans metropolitan area in the 1960s and 70s. Greater New Orleans and its surrounding area grew rapidly in the years after World War II, as suburban sprawl encroached on the historically rural downriver parishes around the city. In response to the development of the region’s Westbank and the emergence of communities in St. Charles and St. John the Baptist Parishes as viable suburban communities during this period, regional planners began to consider concepts for new infrastructure projects to serve this growing population.  The idea for a circular freeway around the southern perimeter of t

Hernando de Soto Bridge (Memphis, TN)

The newest of the bridges that span the lower Mississippi River at Memphis, the Hernando de Soto Bridge was completed in 1973 and carries Interstate 40 between downtown Memphis and West Memphis, AR. The bridge’s signature M-shaped superstructure makes it an instantly recognizable landmark in the city and one of the most visually unique bridges on the Mississippi River. As early as 1953, Memphis city planners recommended the construction of a second highway bridge across the Mississippi River to connect the city with West Memphis, AR. The Memphis & Arkansas Bridge had been completed only four years earlier a couple miles downriver from downtown, however it was expected that long-term growth in the metro area would warrant the construction of an additional bridge, the fourth crossing of the Mississippi River to be built at Memphis, in the not-too-distant future. Unlike the previous three Mississippi River bridges to be built the city, the location chosen for this bridge was about two

Memphis & Arkansas Bridge (Memphis, TN)

  Like the expansion of the railroads the previous century, the modernization of the country’s highway infrastructure in the early and mid 20th Century required the construction of new landmark bridges along the lower Mississippi River (and nation-wide for that matter) that would facilitate the expected growth in overall traffic demand in ensuing decades. While this new movement had been anticipated to some extent in the Memphis area with the design of the Harahan Bridge, neither it nor its neighbor the older Frisco Bridge were capable of accommodating the sharp rise in the popularity and demand of the automobile as a mode of cross-river transportation during the Great Depression. As was the case 30 years prior, the solution in the 1940s was to construct a new bridge in the same general location as its predecessors, only this time the bridge would be the first built exclusively for vehicle traffic. This bridge, the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge, was completed in 1949 and was the third