US Route 50 ("US 50") between Interstate 80 ("I-80") in West Sacramento east to the California State Route 51/California State Route 99 ("CA 51/CA 99") interchange in Sacramento presently carries a hidden designation of Interstate 305. This segment of US 50 is a significant historic corridor which once parts of; US 40, US 99W, and I-80.
Part 1; the history of the Interstate 305 designation on US Route 50
Prior to the development majority of the freeway system in the Sacramento Area the existing US Routes and State Highways were aligned through downtown via the State Capitol complex. This can be seen by examining the 1950 Division of Highways State Map City Insert.
The first leg of what would become US 50/I-305 appears on the 1951 Division of Highways State Map City Insert. A new planned freeway bypass for US 40/US 99W is shown as a proposed highway following south of Capitol Avenue in West Sacramento. This particular segment of US 40/US 99W was a segment of Legislative Route Number 6 ("LRN 6").
The completed West Sacramento Freeway is briefed in the July/August 1954 California Highways & Public Works. The West Sacramento Freeway is described as opening as a four mile realignment of US 40/US 99W from the eastern end of the Yolo Causeway to the Tower Bridge. The West Sacramento Freeway is cited to have cost of $4,500,000 dollars and was opened to traffic on June 15th, 1954. The article goes onto cite a provision for a future freeway crossing of the Sacramento River.
The West Sacramento Freeway can be seen as the new route of US 40/US 99W and LRN 6 on the 1955 Division of Highways State Map City Insert.
The planned extension of the West Sacramento Freeway east to the US 99E Freeway is shown on the 1963 Division of Highways State Map City Insert. The West Sacramento Freeway extension is shown as being designated as planned alignments of LRN 6 from the Sacramento River to 15th/16th Street and LRN 11 east to the US 99E Freeawy.
The West Sacramento Freeway, it's planned extension, and the US 99E Freeway are shown as being designated Route 80 on the 1964 Division of Highways State Map City Insert. This change occurred during the 1964 State Highway Renumbering due to the West Sacramento Freeway and US 99E Freeway being planned as the future route of I-80.
1967 Legislative Chapter 1350 spun a part of the West Sacramento Freeway from West Acres Road to the Tower Bridge off into a new designation of CA 275. This move was made due to the shift of I-80 onto the new connector over the Sacramento River east to what was the US 99E Freeway. The new route of I-80 bypassing south of downtown Sacramento can be seen on the 1969 Division of Highways State Map.
The new route of I-80 and CA 275 can be seen in greater detail on the 1975 Caltrans State Map. I-80 can be seen east of downtown Sacramento with a planned realignment of the US 99E Freeway grade. This realignment of I-80 over what had been US 99E largely was planned due to it not conforming to Interstate standards.
On September 24th, 1980 the State of California petitioned the AASHTO to redesignate I-80 between I-880 5.3 miles east as an extension of US 50 and administratively as I-305. The reasoning cited for the extension of US 50 and designation of I-305 was due to I-80 being rerouted onto the original I-880 north of downtown Sacramento. All of the original I-80 alignment through Sacramento is shown in States Maps to be signed as I-80 Business Loop. According the to CAhighways.org I-305 had been preemptively approved by the AASHTO in May of 1980.
The above application is shown to have been received by the AASHTO on October, 14th 1980.
The relocation of I-80 and extension of US 50 are shown to be approved by the AASHTO on December 1st, 1980.
The FHWA acknowledged the deletion of I-880, relocation of I-80, extension of US 50, and creation of I-305 in a February 6th, 1981 in a letter to the Caltrans Director. I-305 is cited as existing solely for administrative purposes between I-80 in West Sacramento east to the US 50/CA 99 interchange in Sacramento.
1981 Legislative Chapter 292 changed the west terminus of US 50 and designated CA 51. CA 51 was designated over former I-80 from the US 50/CA 99 interchange to Route 80 east of Sacramento. CA 51 was legislatively designated to be signed I-80 Business Loop but the extension of US 50 over FHWA I-305 would also be co-signed as such. The 1982 Caltrans Map shows the legislative changes in the Sacramento Area but field signage is shown not have been yet swapped.
In 1996 CA 51 and US 50/I-305 were designated the Capital City Freeway. In 2016 a re-signing project on US 50/I-305 deemphasized I-80 Business Loop along with the Capital City Freeway for the sake of route simplicity. Notably I-80 Business Loop signage can be still be found in places on US 50/I-305 and more so along frontage facilities.
Part 2; a drive on US Route 50/Interstate 305
US 50/I-305 eastbound begin near I-80 Exit 81 in West Sacramento.
As US 50/I-305 east begin traffic is notified that Ocean City, Maryland is 3,073 miles away.
US 50/I-305 east Exit 1 accesses Harbor Boulevard.
US 50/I-305 east Exit 3 accesses Jefferson Boulevard (former CA 84) which in turn is signed as access to downtown Sacramento. A I-80 Business Loop shield can be found approaching Exit 3.
US 50/I-305 east crosses the Sacramento River into the City of Sacramento. US 50/I-305 east Exit 4A accesses I-5.
US 50/I-305 east Exit 4B accesses 5th Street.
US 50/I-305 east I-5 picks up a multiplex of CA 99 south. US 50/I-305 east/CA 99 south Exit 5 accesses 15th Street.