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Interstate 580 from I-205 west to CA 13

This previous month upon making my return journey to the San Francisco Bay Area I took much of Interstate 580 west from I-205 near Tracy to CA 13 in Oakland.


The current route of I-580 is 76 miles long and is one of the most important freeways in California.  I-580 westbound stretches from I-5 in San Joaquin County west over Altamont Pass in Alameda County to I-80 in Oakland and over San Francisco Bay to US 101 in San Rafael of Marin County.  The route of I-580 occupies a historic corridor that carried highways such as; El Camino Viejo, Lincoln Highway, US Route 48 and US Route. I-580 even was meant to be one of the primary components to what would have been I-5W.

The first major highway over the present general corridor of I-580 was El Camino Viejo.  The El Camino Viejo was an inland alternate route to the Spanish Missions between Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay that was in common usage by the 1780s.  The route of the El Camino Viejo from Los Angeles traveled north through San Francisquito Canyon, Antelope Valley, Cuddy Canyon and San Emigdio to reach San Joaquin Valley.  The El Camino Viejo in San Joaquin Valley followed the west shores of Tulare Lake and the San Joaquin River close to modern day Tracy where it picked up what is the general vicinity of the I-580 corridor.  Rather than using Altamont Pass the route of the El Camino Viejo traveled west from modern day Tracy via Corral Hollow Pass to what is now Livermore.  The route of Corral Hollow Pass has been incorporated into Signed County Route J2.

The first real  automotive highway on the corridor of I-580 was Legislative Route Number 5.  LRN 5 occupied the current I-580 corridor from Tracy westward to downtown Oakland.  What became LRN 5 was part of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act routes which were approved by California voters in 1910.

CAhighways.org; Highway Chronology Chapter 1

The first signed highway on the I-580 corridor from Tracy west to Oakland was the Lincoln Highway by 1913.  The Lincoln Highway essentially was located on LRN 5 which ascended over the Diablo Range via Altamont Pass.  The Lincoln Highway was present on the route over Altamont Pass until 1928 when it was shifted alongside US 40 over the Carquinez Bridge.  This 1920 California State Highway Map shows the Lincoln Highway when it was routed over the I-580 corridor from Tracy to Oakland.

1920 California State Auto Trail Map

By 1926 the US Route system was created and the corridor of I-580 from Tracy west to Hayward became part of US Route 48.  Originally US 48 traveled south from Hayward to San Jose which left only the Lincoln Highway to depart northwest on LRN 5 to Oakland.  In 1929 US 101 was split into East/West branches around San Francisco Bay and US 101E was assigned to LRN 5 from Oakland to Hayward on the corridor of I-580.  US 101E and US 48 can be seen on the current I-580 corridor between Tracy and Oakland on the 1930 State Highway Map.

1930 California State Highway Map

By 1934 or 1935 US 50 was extended from Sacramento all the way west to Oakland where it terminated at US 40 along what is now MacArthur Boulevard and San Pablo Avenue.  The western extension of US 50 occupied the corridor of I-580 from Tracy west to Oakland which can be seen on the 1936 State Highway Map.

1936 State Highway Map

The current route of I-580 from I-5 west to I-80 in Oakland was originally slated to be I-5W.   Specifically the corridor of US 50 was selected to become I-5W in the 1947 version of the Interstate Highway system which ultimately never was built.  The present Interstate Highway system was approved by 1958.  I-5 was to run through Central California with the I-5E spur following the corridor of US 99 and I-5W following the corridor below:

-  Modern CA 132 west to I-580.
-  Modern I-580 west to I-80.
-  Modern I-80 east to I-505.
-  Modern I-505 to I-5.

The present route of I-580 from CA 132 west to I-205 was added to the State Highway system in 1957 as an extension of LRN 110 by the State Legislature according to CAhighways.org.

CAhighways.org on LRN 110

Since CA 132 west of US 99 was meant to become part of I-5W the route of LRN 110 became from it's west terminus and met US 50 in Tracy.  This can be seen on the 1958 State Highway Map.

1958 State Highway Map 

By 1959 the State Legislature approved widening LRN 110 into a bypass of Tracy which is when the final planned route of I-580 from I-5 to I-205 took form.  This can be seen on the 1960 State Highway Map.

1960 State Highway Map

What ultimately prevented I-580 from current I-5 west to I-80 becoming I-5W was likely the 1964 State Highway renumbering which discontinued the use of suffixed routes.  The present number of I-580 appears as a Legislative Route Number alongside US 50 between Tracy and Oakland on the 1964 State Highway Map.

1964 State Highway Map

I-5W was definitely signed in-field along the current corridor I-580 between Tracy and Oakland as evidenced by this work journal photo from the California Division of Highways.  The photo shows I-5W on the current MacArthur/I-580 freeway near Broadway in Oakland.

Division of Highways Work Journal showing an I-5W shield

I-580 is shown partially complete between what would become I-5 and I-205 on the 1966 State Highway Map.

1966 State Highway Map

I-580 appears signed in segments between I-5 and Oakland on the 1967 State Highway Map.

1967 State Highway Map

I-580 is shown complete between I-5 and I-205 on the 1969 State Highway Map.

1969 State Highway Map

The completed route of I-580 from I-5 west to I-80 appears between the 1970 and 1975 State Highway Maps.

1970 State Highway Map  

1975 State Highway Map 

By 1984 the route of I-580 was extended over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge which was former CA 17 to US 101.  The history of that particular segment of I-580 can be found on my previous blog.

November Bay Area Trip Part 4; Richmond-San Rafael Bridge/I-580

With all the history of I-580 dispensed of my route to I-580 westbound began on I-205 west approaching the Alameda County Line west of Tracy.




I-205 west traffic merges onto I-580 west after crossing the California Aqueduct.




I-580 west of I-205 is signed as 11 miles from Livermore and 43 miles from Oakland.



I-580 ascends a massive grade west of I-205 to the 1,009 foot Altamont Pass.  Altamont Pass has a massive wind farm which usually is quite active despite the low elevation in the Diablo Range.




















The Lincoln Highway, US 48 and US 50 used a lower route to the north on Altamont Pass Road.   Altamont Pass Road has a peak elevation of 741 feet which is considerably mild by California Standards.  The original alignment of the Lincoln Highway, US 48 and US 50 over Altamont Pass can be seen on the 1935 California Division Highways Maps of San Joaquin County and Alameda County.

1935 San Joaquin County Highway Map

1935 Alameda County Highway Map 

I-580 west on Altamont Pass is signed as the "CHP Officer John P Miller Memorial Highway."


I-580 west descends Alamont Pass into Livermore.












I-580 west has express toll lanes starting in Livermore.


I-580 west has plenty of button-copy shields still present on BGSs.


I-580 west meets CA 84 in Livermore at Exit 51/Isabel Avenue.





I-580 west enters Dublin approaching I-680.


I-580 west accesses I-680 via Exit 44B.





I-580 west is signed as being 7.5 miles away from Castro Valley at the I-680 junction.


I-580 west begins to ascend Hayward Pass alongside a Bay Area Rapid Transit line in the freeway median.  Oakland is signed as being 23 miles to the west.



As I-580 west descends from Hayward Pass it passes by several mountain side roadways and local parks.







I-580 west enters Castro Valley and meets Castro Valley Boulevard at Exit 37.  Castro Valley Boulevard is the former surface alignment of the Lincoln Highway, US 48 and US 50.





I-580 west truck traffic is advised to take I-238 west to I-880 to reach Oakland.  I-580 west meets I-238 at Exit 34.








I-580 west from I-238 to I-80 in Oakland is known as the MacArthur Freeway.   I-580 west first passes through San Leandro before entering Oakland.  Exit 29 is signed as access to the Oakland Coliseum and Oakland International Aiport.




At Exit 26A the route of I-580 west meets the CA 13 Warren Freeway.







 At Coolidge Avenue there is access to Peralta Hacienda Historical Park.




There are several important junctions along I-580 west in downtown Oakland.  At Exit 21A there is access to former US 50 on MacArthur Boulevard.  At Exit 19C accesses CA 24 east and at Exit 19D there is access to I-980 west.   At Exit 19B there is access to former US 40 on San Pablo Avenue.








Exit 19A accesses I-80 west onto the Bay Bridge headed towards San Francisco.  I-580 west jumps onto a wrong-way concurrency with I-80 east.




I-580 west/I-80 east enters Emeryville.


There is a fairly unique VMS showing times to major highways on I-580 west/I-80 east in Emeryville.


Exit numbering on I-580 west/I-80 east follows the mileage of I-80.  At Exit 10 I-580 west/I-80 east meets CA 13 at Ashby Avenue.  CA 13 on Ashby Avenue was the original alignment of CA 24.  I pulled off the Interstate from here to head towards former US 40 on CA 123/San Pablo Avenue.


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