Telling a Story Through
Highway and Planning Maps
The History of Sacramento Freeway
This page attempts to give a brief summary of the development of the
freeway system in the Sacramento area.
|Figure 1. 1950s
Planning Map for the Freeway System in Sacramento
|Figure 2. 1958
Sacramento Trafficways Plan
(click on image for the full-size map. Full-size
image size: 104K)
|Figure 3. Sacramento
Area Excerpt from 1963 State Highway Map
Figure 1 shows a rough planning map for the Sacramento area from the
1950s (I don't have the exact date). The numbers on the map were provided
by Joel Windmiller. Figure 3 shows the 1963 State Highway map for
Sacramento. Comparing and contrasting these maps, one notices the
- LRN 3. This is the original routing of US 40 and US 99E into
Sacramento. This is now I-80 to the I-80/Business Route 80 (Route 51) split, Business Route 80
(Route 50) to the Business Route 80/Route 160 split, and Route 160 into downtown
- LRN 4. This is the original routing of US 99, now Route 99.
The portion from the S into Sacramento was cosigned with US 50, and is
approximately the same route. Within Sacramento, the surface street
routing is no longer part of the state system.
- LRN 6. This is the original downtown routing of US 40 and US 99W. The original surface streets are no longer part of the state
highway system, although a portion of this route is now part of Business Route 80. A
small part of this is part of unsigned Route 275.
- LRN 11. This is old State Sign Route 24, present day Route 160.
- LRN 50. This was the route of old Sign Route 24 and old Sign
Route 16 through Sacramento. It now is part of unsigned Route 84.
- LRN 54. This is Route 16 out of Sacramento. LRN 98.
This is Business Route 80, also known as Route 51. It carried US 99E from US 50 N to
- LRN 99. This is part of present-day unsigned Route 84.
- LRN 232. This is Garden Highway, and at one time was part of
Route 24. It is no longer in the state highway system. However, N of
what is shown on the map, this is the route for Route 99 to Marysville.
- LRN 238. This was the planned routing for I-5 into and out of
Sacramento. The actual route that I-5 takes now is quite different; see
- LRN 242. This is an interesting route. Originally proposed to
be the I-880 routing around Sacramento, due to a variety of factors (see
the page on Business Route 80), this ended up as the I-80 alignment around the city.
- LRN 247. The 1963 map shows LRN 247 as a route from LRN 4 (US 50/US 99; present-day Route 99) near Elk Grove to LRN 246 (Elkhorn Blvd)
near Antelope. This is on the books as Route 143; it was never
- LRN 248. This route was defined in 1959 as the route from LRN 238 (present-day I-5) near Sacramento to LRN 247 (Elk Grove Florin Road)
S of LRN 54 (Route 16). This is present-day Route 148 between I-5 and
The planning map shows some additional routes that were not on the 1963
map, either due to the area covered by the map, or for other reasons:
- Route 16. The segment of interest is defined to run from
Route 20 to Route 5 near Woodland via Rumsey and Woodland.
- Route 65. The "Eastside" Freeway, for the most part,
unconstructed (except for two portions: a piece in Sacramento, and a
highway between Bakersfield and Fresno). The unconstructed portion runs
from Route 198 near Exeter to Route 80 near Roseville on a route along
the easterly side of the San Joaquin Valley. The constructed portion
runs from Route 80 near Roseville to Route 70 near Marysville.
- Route 102. Defined to run from Route 5 near Elkhorn to Route 80 near Auburn. Unconstructed.
- Route 113. The segment of interest is defined to run from
Route 80 near Davis to Route 99 passing near Woodland.
- Route 244. This route, at the time of the planning map, ran
from Route 80 to Route 65 in Fair Oaks. Over time, this route has been
truncated; compare the planning map with the 1994 map. The route has
been truncated even further since 1994; it now only runs from Route 80
to Auburn Boulevard in Carmichael.
The 1958 Trafficways Map, prepared by De Leuw, Cather, and Company, shows
the following freeways and expressways:
(Source: Sacramento Bee, 2/6/1958, via email from
- WOODLAND FREEWAY—This freeway would lie along the east of the
Sacramento River in the redevelopment area of Sacramento, would cross
the American River near the existing bridge at the mouth of the river,
would extend northerly and westerly, through Natomas District, would
cross the Sacramento River at Elkhorn, and would thence extend westerly
to Woodland. This is perhaps an early routing for what became I-5.
- INDUSTRIAL PARK FREEWAY— This freeway would lie between North B
Street and the American River and would connect the Roseville Freeway
and the Woodland Freeway. It would be a bypass route around the north
side of the central business district. This is almost like Richards
- SAN JOAQUIN FREEWAY—This freeway would be along the west-side of
the Sacramento River extending southerly from Broadway. As the name
implies, it would extend southward reaching Stockton and the San-Joaquin
Valley. This appears to correspond to I-5.
- MARYSVILLE FREEWAY—This freeway would extend northward from the
proposed Woodland Freeway along the approximate line of El Centro Road.
It would be the principal route between Sacramento. and Marysville. This
corresponds to Route 99.
- DAVIS FREEWAY—This is the existing freeway leading from Davis
through West Sacramento and over the Tower Bridge. It would be widened
and would connect with the proposed Woodland Freeway at the west end of
the Capitol. This corresponds to US 50 (and Route 275).
- EL DORADO FREEWAY—This is the often discussed East-West Freeway
through the City of Sacramento. It would connect with the Davis Freeway
in West Sacramento; cross the Sacramento River in the vicinity of R
Street; run between S and.T Streets to Alhambra Boulevard and thence
proceed slightly to the south and finally reach 65th Street in the
vicinity of 2nd Avenue. lt would cross the railroad in the vicinity of
Brighton and connect with the presently adopted freeway route to serve
US 50 traffic. This is US 50.
- ROSEVILLE FREEWAY—This Is the presently planned freeway to
extend North and South through.the City in.the.vicinity of 29th and 30th
Street, connecting.the the Elvas Bridge. This was the original route for
I-80, now Business Route 80 (Route 51).
- STOCKTON FREEWAY—This is the South Sacramento Freeway. It
corresponds to the southern portion of Route 99.
- ARCADE FREEWAY—This is a circumferential freeway around the
northerly and easterly portion of the metropolitan. area. In the north,
it would follow the approximate alignment of Grand Avenue and the
northern limits of Del Paso Park. It would follow an easterly route,
thence swinging south to cross the American River near Garfield Avenue
and terminate at the El Dorado Freeway in the vicinity of Bradshaw Road.
This is roughly the current I-80 and unconstructed Route 143.
- FRUITRIDGE FREEWAY—Like the Arcade Freeway in the north and
eastern portion of the metropolitan area, this freeway would serve in
the southern portion as a circumferential tie. It would terminate on the
east at Jackson Freeway (Route 16) and would thence cross westerly along
the approximation of the Central California Traction right of way and
would then go to the north of the Municipal Airport (now the Sacramento
Executive Airport). It would cross the Sacramento River near Oak Hall
Bend and would connect with Jefferson Boulevard (Route 84) west of the
river. From the name, it might correspond to Fruitridge Road, but it
doesn't seem to have been in the state highway system.
- JACKSON FREEWAY—This is the newly adopted freeway routing to
Jackson. It closely parallels the existing Jackson Road. This would be a
freeway routing for Route 16.
- ELKHORN-NORTH HIGHLANDS EXPRESSWAY—This route would serve as an
east-west bypass across the northerly portion of the metropolitan area.
It would tie with the Woodland Freeway near Elkhorn and with Roseville
Freeway at Spruce Avenue. It would be adjacent to the new-northerly
extension of McClellan Air Force Base. It appears to correspond to
Elkhorn Blvd, and may have been proposed Route 102.
- SPRUCE AVENUE EXPRESSWAY—This expressway would lie approximately
along the alignment .of Spruce Avenue. At the north end it would tie to
Roseville Freeway at the same junction point as the previously described
Elkhorn-North Highlands Expressway. In effect, it .would be an extension
southward of this circumferential facility. It would terminate at the
proposed Arcade Freeway. This was part of unconstructed Route 143.
- NORTH SACRAMENTO-RIO LINDA EXPRESSWAY—This is, in reality, a
realigned route to serve in place of the present Rio Linda Boulevard. It
would tie in with the major freeway facilities near the old Globe Iron
Works and would extend northward to the Sutter County. This doesn't
correspond to a state highway.
- AUBURN BOULEVARD-ROSEVILLE ROAD—This would essentially be the
highway along the Southern-Pacific Company tracks to McClellan. It would
connect with Arden Expressway on the south, and would extend to Grant
Line Road on the North. It doesn't appear to correspond to a state
highway, although it does parallel Business Route 80/I-80.
- ARDEN EXPRESSWAY—This expressway would closely approximate the
present location of Arden Way. It would cross-through North Sacramento,
cross the SP track-on a new separation structure, and would terminate at
Watt Avenue. It is not in the state highway system.
- MADISON EXPRESSWAY— This is an east-west facility in the outer,
metropolitan area. designed to tie from Greenback Lane to the south and
west to the.heavier freeway-type facility. This doesn't correspond to a
state highway route.
- CHARMICHAEL-FAIR OAKS EXPRESSWAY—This expressway route would
provide an east-west route from Fair Oaks to the proposed Arcade Freeway
at Spruce Avenue. It might correspond to the unconstructed Route 244.
- ROSEVILLE-SLOUGHHOUSE EXPRESSWAY—This is a north-south facility
on a line roughly through-Fair Oaks. It would extend from Placer County
on the north to Sloughhouse near the Jackson Freeway. It would skirt the
easterly boundary of Mather Field. This might be unconstructed Route 65.
- WATT AVENUE EXPRESSWAY—Watt Avenue would follow its present
alignment and would also extend south, with a bridge across the American
River. It would tie from.the new El Dorado Freeway on the south to the
Sutter County line on the north. It doesn't appear to be in the state
- PERKINS-ELK GROVE EXPRESSWAY—This would be an extension
southward of the Watt Avenue expressway crossing over the American
River. It would tie Florin and Elk Grove into the major east-west
highway facilities. From Florin to Elk Grove it would roughly follow the
present alignment of Florin-Elk Grove Road. This is roughly Route 143
near Florin-Perkins Road.
- ROUTIER EXPRESSWAY This is a continuation southward of the Arcade
Freeway. It would begin at El Dorado Freeway, and extend southward
crossing the Jackson Freeway. It would tie on the south to the
Florin-Elder Creek Expressway. It is roughly Route 160.
- FAIR OAKS BOULEVARD EXPRESSWAY—This is the present Fair Oaks
Boulevard alignment with some change at. the easterly end where it
intersects Arcade Freeway. This is not a state highway.
- 65th STREET EXPRESSWAY—This expressway is partly within the
city, and its southern section joints Stockton Boulevard and the
Florin-Elder Creek Expressway Some of the alignment requires acquisition
of new right of way. This is not a state highway, but was converted to
- FLORlN-ELDER CREEK EXPRESSWAY—This expressway-would terminate at
San Joaquin Freeway on the west and would follow the alignment of Florin
Road to the east. It would then hew a little more to the north along the
alignment of Elder Creek Road. It would terminate on the east at Routier
Expressway. It is roughly Route 148.
- FREEPORT EXPRESSWAY—This is the present Freeport Boulevard. It
would extend southward from the portion recently reconstructed and would
connect with the San Joaquin Freeway. It is Route 160.
- EL CENTRO EXPRESSWAY would be an extension southward of the existing
El Centro Road and would cross the Sacramento River on a.new movable
bridge. It would tie the Sacramento-Yolo Port area directly to the
Woodland Freeway. This doesn't correspond to a state highway.
- HARBOR BOULEVARD-INDUSTRIAL BOULEVARD—This is a southerly
extension of the El Centro Expressway in the port area. It ties to Park
Boulevard north of the proposed barge canal serving the Port Bridge. It
doesn't correspond to a state highway.
- JEFFERSON BOULEVARD—The proposed expressway would save the port
district. It would approximate its present alignment. It was Route 84.
Contrast the planning maps with the map in Figure 4, which is the 1994
State Highway inset map for Sacramento:
|Figure 4. 1994 State
Highway Map Inset for Sacramento
This map shows that Route 102, Route 143, Route 148, and Route 65 are
undetermined, and unlikely to be built. It shows a new Route 256, which
wasn't defined in 1963. Other routes exist (such as Route 84 or Route 275), but are unsigned. Contrasting this with a 2000 map (alas, no longer
available), one can see a significant change in Route 102. There was a
planned realignment from the Auburn-Folsom-Rio Linda-Elkhorn routing of
Route 102 (which would've crossed I-80 twice and paralleled Folsom Lake
and Elkhorn Boulevard/Greenback Lane) in 1994 as contrasted to the
mid-1990s plan of a direct route from Auburn to Elkhorn/Natomas crossing
through undeveloped areas in Sacramento and Placer County.
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