Interstate 80


Interstate 80 is a major transcontinental corridor connecting California and New York City. From the city of San Francisco to a few miles west of the Hudson River in northern New Jersey, I-80 traverses various terrain and states. Its highest point is located at Sherman Hill Summit in Wyoming between Laramie and Cheyenne at an elevation of 8640 feet. The highest point of Interstate 80 east of the Mississippi is near Milepost 111 in Pennsylvania.

Although Interstate 80 begins at U.S. 101 in San Francisco, original plans called for the Interstate to continue west through Golden Gate Park to the Pacific Ocean near the famous Ocean Beach area. This plan was halted due to community opposition.

In the east, Interstate 80 ends at its junction with Interstate 95 in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, as overhead signage shows. However, at I-80's eastern terminus, there is some debate as to whether or not it ends at the Hudson River or at Interstate 95. The exit numbering on Interstate 95 north of Interstate 80 in New Jersey seems to approximate what the I-80 numbering would be if it continued east to the George Washington Bridge. However, that numbering is actually what would be for I-95 if it had been completed as planned in New Jersey. It is a coincidence that the exit numbers are so close numerically.

Heading southbound on Interstate 95 toward Interstate 80 from the George Washington Bridge to I-80's eastern terminus, overhead signs are posted as I-95 to I-80. It should also be noted that while U.S. 46 ends at the George Washington Bridge, I-80 does not, which in turn causes more confusion.

High Priority Corridor

Interstate 80 in New Jersey is part of High Priority Corridor 63: Liberty Corridor.

Parallel and Former U.S. Routes

Interstate 80 largely replaced its companion U.S. routes in the West and parallels them in the East. Between San Francisco and Park City, Interstate 80 replaced U.S. 40. Sections of original U.S. 40 are still in use as local county roads in California, while many segments of U.S. 40 in Nevada were directly replaced by I-80. Today, U.S. 40 begins its easterly journey at its interchange with I-80 in Park City. Between Park City and Echo Junction, I-80 replaced U.S. 189 (and U.S. 530 before it). At Echo Junction, Interstate 80 met its companion for most of its country-country trek: U.S. 30.

U.S. 30 is the Lincoln Highway through Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. It closely parallels Interstate 80 in Wyoming and Nebraska, combining with the freeway in the least populated areas (such as the continuously merged portion of I-80 and U.S. 30 between Granger and Walcott in Wyoming, a distance of 170 miles). At Grand Island, Nebraska, U.S. 30 veers away from the freeway to the north of Lincoln and Omaha; Interstate 80 instead follows U.S. 34 between Grand Island and Lincoln and U.S. 6 from Lincoln to the Quad Cities via Omaha and Des Moines. Additionally U.S. 6 merges with I-80 several times through Iowa, and it closely parallels the freeway through Illinois before joining the freeway again in Lansing.

Meanwhile, Interstate 80 does not intersect U.S. 30 until Joliet. Having avoided Des Moines and the Quad Cities, U.S. 30 heads southeast to avoid Downtown Chicago. U.S. 30 continues on this trajectory en route to Fort Wayne, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; it does not intersect I-80 again. Interstate 80 instead remains close to U.S. 6 and U.S. 20 as they skirt the southern edge of the Great Lakes. I-80 is tolled through Indiana and Ohio, so the parallel U.S. 6 and U.S. 20 provide free alternate routes.

Bypassing Cleveland to the south, Interstate 80 leaves both U.S. 6 and U.S. 20, as they follow Interstate 90. For the first time, Interstate 80 follows a path that was not previously tread by a U.S. route (it followed the Keystone Shortway). Leaving the Ohio Turnpike at North Jackson, I-80 briefly parallels U.S. 62 through Sharon, then again finds itself without a companion U.S. route. This solo route continues for the most part across Pennsylvania, with the exception of U.S. 322 from Clarion to State College and a brief merge with U.S. 220 near State College. Finally entering New Jersey, Interstate 80 picks up U.S. 46, a route which is almost entirely located within New Jersey -- in fact, it never went any farther west than Pennsylvania 611 (former U.S. 611). U.S. 46 follows I-80 all the way to its end in Ridgefield Park.

Interstate 80 Split Routes

No other Interstate highway had as many split routes as Interstate 80. No fewer than five suffixed routes split from I-80 at varying intervals prior to 1980; none of these split routes remain today. These routes included (from west to east):

  • Interstate 80N from Portland, Oregon, to Echo Junction, Utah (now Western Interstate 84)
  • Interstate 80S from Denver, Colorado, to Big Springs, Nebraska (now Western Interstate 76)
  • Interstate 80N from Interstate 29 to Interstate 80 north of Council Bluffs, Iowa (now Interstate 680)
  • Interstate 80S from Norwalk, Ohio, to Camden, New Jersey (the portion between Norwalk and Westfield Center was not constructed; the rest is now Eastern Interstate 76)
  • Interstate 80N from Norwalk, Ohio, to northwest of Youngstown, Ohio (parts of which are now Interstate 480)

Planned Improvements

Long-range plans originally called for the expansion of Interstate 80 in Nebraska to three lanes from Lincoln west to near Kearney. The project schedule was divided into phases: Phase 1 - between Omaha and Lincoln originally slated for completion by 2012 (final work at Exit 395 wraps spring 2016); Phase 2 - between Lincoln and York originally proposed for completion by 2022; Phase 3 - between York and Grand Island originally proposed for completion by 2028; and Phase 4 - between Grand Island and Minden interchange (Exit 279, Nebraska 10) near Kearney originally proposed for completion by 2037.13 Work west of NW 56th Street and Lincoln was not highlighted on the Nebraska Department of Roads - I-80 Six Lane Expansion web page as of 2016.

Construction through 2022 reconfigures the concurrent section of Interstates 29 and 80 through Council Bluffs, Iowa and I-80 northeast to Exit 8 with U.S. 6 (Kanesville Boulevard). Work separates the two freeways onto a dual freeway. The West and East System Interchanges joining the two routes will be redesigned to eliminate of all left-hand movements with new high speed flyovers. Four local interchanges along Interstate 80 will also be redesigned.

Phase I of the East System Interchange was completed from July 2014 to March 2016. The westbound lanes will be finished by December 2017 while eastbound traffic will encounter construction through to August 2021. Prior work between 2008 and 2012 expanded the Missouri River Bridge to seven lanes with the option to restripe the bridge to accommodate ten overall lanes. See the Council Bluffs Interstate System Improvement Program web site from Iowa DOT for more details.



Within San Francisco, the western terminus of Interstate 80 was originally proposed to be at Interstate 280 (which was briefly considered as part of Interstate 480) in Golden Gate Park. The Western Freeway (I-80) would have originated at U.S. 101 / Central Freeway and traveled west toward the park, straddling Fell Street and Oak Street along the way. Once at the park, the freeway would have entered a major interchange with I-280, making an odd case where a parent route would have ended at one of its child routes. However, that situation never came to pass. The freeway was never built as a result of substantial protests, and the western terminus of Interstate 80 was retracted to U.S. 101 / Central Freeway.

The westernmost alignment proposed for Interstate 80 across San Franciso in 1960. I-480 was envisioned as an urban loop extending west from the Embarcadero double deck freeway to the Presidio and south to I-80.

Since the Central Freeway viaduct was mostly torn down, I-80 now ends at the series of U.S. 101 exits near Van Ness Avenue. This terminus is somewhat in dispute; some say that Interstate 80 actually ends at the Embarcadero exit. See the AARoads Guide for Interstate 80 in California for more history and information.

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was dedicated on January 14, 1939.9 The bridge initially carried U.S. 40-50 across the bay; it was later redesignated as part of Interstate 80.

The first iteration of the Yolo Causeway, which carries Interstate 80 over the Yolo Bypass west of Sacramento and east of Davis, was completed in 1916. This causeway was the first highway project in the state of California to be financed with the sale of highway bonds; it has been expanded since the original facility opened.

Development of large sections of the U.S. 40 freeway (now I-80) between San Francisco and Reno occurred by 1947, excepting certain sections (including much of the route in the mountains). The first Interstate in California to open using funds designated by the Federal Highway Act of 1956 was Interstate 80. In the Sierra Nevada northeast of Sacramento, U.S. 40 was converted into Interstate 80 between 1960 and 1964. The first 50 miles were built in 1960, and the ten-mile stretch over Donner Summit and through the Truckee River Canyon to the city of Truckee was constructed in 1964.8

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge, opened to traffic on November 12, 1936 as the route for both U.S. 40 and 50, carries Interstate 80 across San Francisco Bay. The span consisted of three segments: the western suspension bridge with four towers, the Yerba Buena Tunnel on Yerba Buena Island, and the eastern cantilever through truss bridge. Earthquake retrofitting between 1994 and 2004 reinforced the suspension bridge west from Yerba Buena Island, bringing the span to current specifications. The eastern span was not reinforced and instead was replaced during an 11-year construction project commencing in 2002. The new Bay Bridge, a single-anchored suspension bridge with a lone tower, opened to traffic on September 2, 2013. This span accommodates side by side traffic rather than a double deck like its predecessor. It ties into a new causeway from the east and includes a bike/pedestrian path to Yerba Buena Island. The old bridge closed on August 28, 2012 and dismantling efforts continue into 2016.


The last section of transcontinental Interstate 80 to be completed in any state was the segment west of Salt Lake City, Utah, between Redwood Road and 5600 West. This section was dedicated and opened to traffic on August 22, 1986, and it was the first transcontinental Interstate highway to be completed from coast to coast.7

Interstate 80 traverses the wide open expanse of the Great Salt Lake Desert between Wendover and Knolls, Utah. A 36.6 mile exit less stretch ensues west from Old Highway 40 in this scene. Photo taken July 3, 2016.


For a history of the completion of Interstate 80 in Wyoming, visit Interstate 80 - Wyoming.


A ribbon-cutting ceremony preceded a motorcade led by Governor Frank Morrison on August 12, 1961 to celebrate the completion of Interstate 80 between Omaha and Lincoln. The 52-mile stretch was dedicated at the Greenwood interchange.14 The final link of Interstate 80 in Nebraska to open was the section around Sidney, on October 19, 1974.7

Interstate 80 was widened from four to six lanes between Lincoln and Omaha. The 45-mile project extended from just west of Northwest 48th Street in West Lincoln (Exit 395) to the Nebraska 370 interchange in West Omaha (Exit 439). The project began in 2002 and was vastly completed on November 8, 201315, with the exception of eastbound lanes at Lincoln and the diverging diamond interchange (DDI) project at NW 48th Street (Exit 395). This work followed previous projects in the late 1990s and early 2000s that widened I-80 to six lanes between Nebraska 370 and Interstate 680, and to ten lanes between I-680 and Interstate 480.1

In early 2006, widening to six lanes was completed from Ruff Road (Milepost 429) to Nebraska 370 (Milepost 439). Expansion followed between the Nebraska 66/Mahoney State Park Interchange (Exit 326) and Ruff Road (Milepost 429). This included rebuilding/widening of the long twin I-80 bridges over the Platte River near milepost 427. As of December 2006, the new three-lane westbound bridge over the Platte River was under construction while traffic was maintained on the old twin two-lane bridges just to the south. The new eastbound span later opened on January 4, 2008, nine months ahead of schedule, as part of an overall eastbound lane opening between Mahoney State Park and Ruff Road. Removal of the old bridges and side work continued through to fall 2008. The $45-million project to replace the Platte River bridges started in August 2002.16

Meanwhile, widening to six lanes through northwest of Lincoln between the U.S. 77 South / Beatrice Interchange (Exit 397) and the Interstate 180/U.S. 34 Interchange (Exit 401) was slated for completion in early 2007. Just east of here, widening/rebuilding of the mainline commenced in early 2007 for the section between Interstate 180 and the U.S. 77 North/56th Street Interchange (Exit 405). However, the actual interchange between Interstate 80 and Interstate 180 was not rebuilt until late in the overall project (2010-2012).12 Widening of I-80 between Exits 420 (Greenwood) and 426 was completed in July 2012.17

The DDI at NW 48th Street was built as part of I-80 expansion west from U.S. 77 (Exit 397) to NW 56th Street. The $30-million project runs from 2014 to 2016.18

Omaha-Council Bluffs

Interstate 80 across Omaha, from Harrison Street (near Exit 442) to the Iowa state line, was rebuilt over a ten year period starting in the spring of 1989. The $325-million overhaul included expanding I-80 from six to ten lanes between I-680 and I-480, correcting flaws with the original design of the interchange at Interstate 480 and the Kennedy Freeway (where the I-80 mainline narrowed to a single lane), rebuilding the I-80 and 680 interchange with c/d roadways to separate local traffic and other system wide improvements. Work was completed two months ahead of schedule in August 1999 with the final segment involving I-80 east and west of the 60th Street interchange (Exit 450).20,21,22

1956 plans for Interstate 80 provided for a route to traverse the Platte River across most of Nebraska, but did not specify whether the corridor would travel to the north or south of the waterway. The Iowa Highway Commission meanwhile opted for the I-80 mainline to run west from near Minden to the I-29 corridor at Loveland. Commissioners touted benefits to the Sioux City area while officials further south in Council Bluffs and Omaha were vehemently opposed, citing the need for improved connectivity to the growing Union Stock Yards in South Omaha. Adding to the debate was the north Omaha area and operators of the Mormon Bridge, which touted stimulating the Florence area and increasing revenue for the toll bridge.

Advocates pushing for the Council Bluffs and metropolitan Omaha corridor appealed to the federal government with the "Neola Diagonal," the angled alignment I-80 takes today southwest from Neola to I-29 at Council Bluffs. Federal officials initially regarded the Diagonal as a secondary route, while Iowa and Nebraska continued to argue over the path of the main route. The Iowa Highway Commission won out temporarily, as it opted to route I-80 to Loveland and construct it ahead of the secondary route. The Loveland section opened in December 1966 as Interstate 80N. The Neola Diagonal was completed three years later as the I-80 mainline.23


Interstate 80 was constructed in stages across the Hawkeye State. From west to east, the segments opened as follows:2

  • Nebraska State Line east to Interstate 29 North: December 15, 1972
  • Interstate 29 North to Iowa 192: November 1, 1970
  • Iowa 192 to U.S. 6: January 1, 1969
  • U.S. 6 to Interstate 680: December 22, 1969
  • Interstate 680 to U.S. 59: December 13, 1966
  • U.S. 59 to U.S. 71: December 16, 1965
  • U.S. 71 to Exit 75, Adair: September 5, 1960
  • Exit 75 to Iowa 25: November 28, 1959
  • Iowa 25 to U.S. 6 (Adel): September 5, 1960
  • U.S. 6 (Adel) to Interstate 235 East: December 13, 1966
  • Interstate 235 East to Douglas Avenue: September 21, 1958
  • Douglas Avenue to Iowa 28: November 8, 1958
  • Iowa 28 to Interstate 235 South: November 28, 1959
  • Interstate 235 South to Exit 159: October 8, 1962
  • Exit 159 to Iowa 146: November 16, 1962
  • Iowa 146 to Old U.S. 218: October 23, 1964
  • Old U.S. 218 to Iowa 1: November 15, 1963
  • Iowa 1 to Iowa 38 North: August 24, 1962
  • Iowa 38 North to U.S. 61: December 1, 1960
  • U.S. 61 to U.S. 67: November 25, 1964
  • U.S. 67 to Illinois State Line, including the Mississippi River Bridge: October 27, 1966

A proposal arose by 1991 to reroute Interstate 80 over I-280 from northwest Davenport to Colona, Illinois, with Interstate 74 trading places with the existing I-80 around the north and east sides of the Quad Cities. The renumbering was sought to improve safety by eliminating the TOTSO (turn off to stay on) movements at the cloverleaf interchange where Interstates 74, 80 and 280 meet in Illinois. It never came to pass because Iowa officials did not support the efforts from those in Illinois. See the Interstate 280 Iowa / Illinois guide for more details.


Much of Interstate 80 across northern Illinois was constructed in the early 1960s, with the route through south suburban Chicagoland opened to traffic by 1964. The section that Interstate 80 shares with Interstate 294 / Tri-State Tollway was constructed between 1956-1958, with the tollway opening in 1958. The original construction of the 83-mile section of the Tri-State Tollway (and the other original tollways) was funded by a bond issuance in the amount of $415 million by the state tollway commission (which was created in 1953).11 The Kingery Expressway section of Interstates 80 & 94 and U.S. 6 is the oldest section of I-80, having opened in 1950.10

The Tri-State Tollway was reconstructed between January 2005 and Fall 2006 from the Illinois 394 and Interstate 94 interchange in South Holland northwest to the U.S. 12-20/95th Street interchange in Oak Lawn.3 The project included the installation of an additional through lane on I- 80 and I-294. The Cal-Sag Channel Bridge near Alsip was planned for reconstruction, as were the Lincoln Oasis and the Markham Yard Bridge.

A companion project undertaken between January 2005 and July 2007 was the reconstruction of the Kingery Expressway in Illinois and the Borman Expressway in Indiana. Average daily traffic flow on Interstates 80 & 94 was approximately 160,000 vehicles daily, with a quarter being large trucks.4 For the Kingery Expressway (Interstate 80-94 and U.S. 6), improvements included:

  • Revision and reconstruction of the Interstate 80, 94, 294, and Illinois 394 interchange
  • Expansion to eight through lanes for through traffic on Interstate 80
  • Reduction of weaving through reconfigured interchanges
  • Installation of sound walls, replacement lighting, and landscaping


Within Indiana, the Borman Expressway carries Interstates 80 & 94 and U.S. 6 through Hammond and Gary. Most of the same improvements considered for the Kingery Expressway were likewise included in the Borman Expressway upgrade. Construction began in 2003. Work ran through summer 2011 and included an $189-million upgrade to the Interstate 65 interchange.5 Another proposal is to construct a south Chicago bypass, the Illiana Expressway, that could divert traffic from Interstates 80 & 94 around the Chicago/Northeast Indiana metro area.


Most of Interstate 80 across the Buckeye State was constructed as part of the Ohio Turnpike, the origins of which predate the establishment of the Interstate Highway System in 1956. The Ohio state legislature created the Ohio Turnpike Commission in 1949, which was the first step in designing and constructing the east-west freeway. Construction began on October 27, 1952, and the toll road was completed on October 1, 1955 (a total of 38 months).6

159 miles of the Ohio Turnpike were expanded to six overall lanes in a nearly two-decade long project. First announced by the Ohio Turnpike Commission in April 1995, widening of the toll road was ultimately paid for by a toll increase of more than 80%. The new lanes run from U.S. 20 in Toledo east to the Interstates 76 & 80 junction outside Youngstown.

Work was slow with three sections entailing 59.3 miles completed by 1997. The initial 2000 completion date announced by the Turnpike Commission was moved back to 2004, then 2008. By 2004, expansion was completed except for three segments: I-280 to I-75, I-75 to U.S. 20 (Reynolds Road) and a four-mile stretch east of the Cuyahoga River. The I-280 to I-75 stretch in Toledo was finished in 2007, however the economic turn down of the late 2000s led the Turnpike Commission to defer funding from the remaining two sections to instead replace its toll collection system. E-ZPass was implemented along the turnpike in 2009 upon completion of the $50-million upgrade.

A $33.5-million contract added a third lane in each direction of Interstates 80 & 90 between I-75 and U.S. 20 started in early 2013. This added to the nearly $750-million total expenditure for the overall expansion project. The final 4.6 miles of the project were finished by November 2014.19


Just prior to Exit 111, Junction Pennsylvania 153 south of Penfield, westbound Interstate 80 approaches the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Interstate 80 reaches 2,250 feet above sea level at this point, which is located within Moshannon State Forest and sits along Pennsylvania's section of the Appalachian Mountains. At this point, Interstate 80 leaves the Chesapeake Bay watershed and enters the Allegheny River watershed. Photo taken 09/01/05.

The Keystone Shortway, which carries Interstate 80 across Pennsylvania, was completed and fully opened to traffic on September 17, 1963. The last segment to be opened to traffic was the section from Stroudsburg to Scotrun.7

Highway Guides

Western Terminus - West End of Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge/Embarcadero - San Francisco, California
Perspective from Interstate 80 west
At the west end, Interstate 80 has one of the most spectacular endings of any Interstate highway. The freeway leaves Oakland via the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which is a double-deck, through steel truss bridge for the first segment. Here, westbound Interstate 80 enters the superstructure of the cantilever portion of the span, which features two supporting towers. Photo taken 07/06/07.
On the cantilever span, Interstate 80 leaves Oakland and Alameda County and enters the city and county of San Francisco. The bridge construction began on July 9, 1933, and it opened to traffic on November 12, 1936, as part of U.S. 40-50. Interstate 80 replaced U.S. 40-50 legislatively in 1964, and signs were removed in the ensuing decade. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Leaving the cantilever portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Interstate 80 reaches Exit 4, Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island, a difficult left exit (very sharp ramp). From here, the freeway passes through a tunnel bored into the rock of Yerba Buena Island, then connects with the picturesque suspension span. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Interstate 80 passes through the Yerba Buena Island tunnel and emerges on the suspension bridge portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Photo taken 07/06/07.
The first signs for downtown San Francisco exits appear on westbound Interstate 80 at the middle anchorage of the suspension portion of the San Francisco Bay Bridge west of Yerba Buena Island. Fremont Street is a right exit; Harrison Street was a left exit that is closed as of 2007 due to the replacement of the western approach to the Bay Bridge. Temporarily, signs point to the left exit to 5th Street. Photos taken 07/06/07 and 08/28/03.
Leaving the suspension portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Interstate 80 west enters the western approach, which is a skyway that keeps the freeway above ground level all the way to its western terminus at U.S. 101. Upon leaving the bridge, the first exit is Fremont Street and Folsom Street to the Embarcadero. Note that the sign bridge was replaced in 2006-2007, and all the older signs are now gone. Photos taken 07/06/07, 08/28/03, and 10/15/00.
A tall new skyscraper was under construction at the time this photo was taken, adding a new dimension to the view of San Francisco upon departing the Bay Bridge. The next exit connects to Folsom Street and Fremont Street, which are the best route currently to the Embarcadero, Fisherman's Wharf, and other waterfront attractions. The Folsom-Fremont exit is also the site of the former California 480/Embarcadero Freeway interchange. The former California 480 freeway spur was dismantled after sustaining fatal damage during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Photo taken 07/06/07.
The left two lanes of Interstate 80 west become exit only for Exit 2A, Fifth Street. The Fifth Street exit is the original end of the western approach to the Bay Bridge; it was also the route U.S. 40-50 took off the bridge to their joint terminus at U.S. 101. Today, the original approach is an offramp to Fifth Street, and Interstate 80 continues west for another couple of miles. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Westbound Interstate 80 reaches Exit 2C, Fremont Street and Folsom Street. Traffic wishing to access Fisherman's Wharf, tourist attractions at Pier 39, and AT&T (formerly PacBell or SBC) Park (home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team) may exit here or use either Exit 2B (to Harrison Street once it reopens) or Exit 2A, Fifth Street (left exit). The right exit to Fremont Street leads into downtown San Francisco, including the financial district, Chinatown, and the commercial area along Market Street. The Fremont Street exit also connects to Interstate 280. Originally there was to be a direct Interstate to Interstate connector between Interstate 80, Interstate 280, and California 480. However, with the demise of California 480 and the construction of AT&T Park (formerly Pacific Bell Park), it appears unlikely that Interstate 280 will be directly connected with Interstate 80 at any time soon. Photos taken 07/06/07 and 08/23/03.
Prior to the demolition of the original western approach to the Bay Bridge, a left exit used to be located here for Exit 2B, Embarcadero and Harrison Street. Exit 2B (Harrison Street) was located just a few hundred feet west of Exit 2C, Fremont Street. Traffic currently (2007) must use Fifth Street instead of Harrison Street. This will change once the bridge approach project is complete. Before the Exit 2B (Harrison Street) interchange was closed, this interchange was the first signage for U.S. 101 and the final westbound reassurance shield for Interstate 80. The 2007 photo also shows the gore point of Exit 2C, which shows just how closely spaced Exits 2C and 2B are. Photos taken 07/06/07, 08/23/03, and 10/15/00.
Back on the north (right) side of the elevated freeway, the ramp to Fremont Street and Folsom Street (Exit 2C) is an elongated ramp that used to serve as part of the California 480 interchange complex. Now it is just a distributor lane into downtown San Francisco. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Shortly thereafter, a temporary exit sign is posted for Exit 2A, 5th Street. This exit used to be signed as the connection to U.S. 101 north, but now that the Octavia Boulevard project is complete, U.S. 101 traffic may continue west to the Central Freeway spur. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Westbound Interstate 80/James Lick Skyway reaches Exit 2A, 5th Street. As noted earlier, the last sign indicated that 5th Street was a left exit from Interstate 80. In 2003, the 5th Street exit was signed as a connection to U.S. 101 north. Back when U.S. 40 and U.S. 50 entered the city via the Bay Bridge, they took this exit to meet U.S. 101 as a surface street. Today, the former main line is now a left exit that connects to U.S. 101 and Van Ness Avenue. Even though this exit is for U.S. 101 north, Interstate 80 continues for another mile past this point via the right three lanes. And to add to the confusion, there is another exit for north U.S. 101 at the actual end of Interstate 80 westbound. Some of this confusion was alleviated when this sign was taken down; however, now there is no sign at all for this offramp. Photos taken 07/06/07 and 08/23/03.
As Interstate 80 skirts the southern boundary of downtown San Francisco, it follows a raised viaduct for its entire length from the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge west to its junction with U.S. 101 at the Central Freeway. Known as the James Lick Skyway, Interstate 80 rides along a structure with some sections that predate the Interstate Highway System. In fact, the sections that approach the bridge were once part of transcontinental U.S. 40-50; neither of these routes enter San Francisco today. The guardrail and age of the concrete belie the age of this section of Interstate 80. Photos taken 07/06/07 and 11/29/04.
Westbound Interstate 80 reaches Exit 1C, Ninth Street. Note the addition of exit numbers to this sign between 2004 and 2007. Ninth Street leads north to the Civic Center. This is the last exit along westbound Interstate 80; the next exit is for north/south U.S. 101. Interstate 80 is one of a handful of Interstates that end at a U.S. route. Others include Interstate 43 at U.S. 41-141 in Green Bay; Interstate 55 at U.S. 41 in Chicago, Interstate 95 at U.S. 1 in Miami, and Interstate 96 at U.S. 31 in Muskegon. Photos taken 07/06/07 and 11/29/04.
U.S. 101 follows city streets between the Central Freeway spur and the Golden Gate Bridge approach, and this yellow warning sign advises trucks not to use U.S. 101 north due to limited sight distance and turning radius. At one time, U.S. 101 was planned for a freeway north to the Golden Gate Bridge; this freeway is very unlikely for construction due to the high density of communities at the northern end of the peninsula. U.S. 101 travels on the Central Freeway for a short distance, but it quickly exits onto Market Street to reach Van Ness Avenue. A portion of the Central Freeway was demolished recently, thus shortening the freeway segment of U.S. 101 within the City of San Francisco. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Westbound Interstate 80 ends as the left three lanes default onto Exit 1A, Junction U.S. 101 south and the right two lanes transition to Exit 1B, Junction U.S. 101 north to Octavia Boulevard, Van Ness Avenue, and the Golden Gate Bridge. These are new signs (note addition of exit numbers between 2004 and 2007); the 1993 photo shows the button copy porcelain enamel signs that used to be found here. There is no END Interstate 80 shield assembly or signage. Photos taken 07/06/07, 11/29/04, and by Kelly Kawamoto (11/7/93).
After Exit 1B, Junction U.S. 101/Central Freeway north, the remaining lanes of westbound Interstate 80 swing southwest, preparing to meet the merging traffic from southbound U.S. 101 via Exit 1A. At that merge point, Interstate 80 ends its westerly journey and joins U.S. 101 en route to San Jose and Los Angeles. For a time, it was considered that Interstate 80 would continue west of here via the unconstructed freeway through Golden Gate Park; fortunately for park denizens, that highway was never built. Photo taken 08/23/03.
Traffic from westbound Interstate 80 merges with southbound U.S. 101/Central Freeway at this point. The freeway turns south, with the next exit being the interchange with Cesar Chavez Street (formerly Army Street). Photo taken 08/28/03.
Perspective from U.S. 101 north
U.S. 101 winds northward between the Bernal Heights and Bayview neighborhoods beyond the exchange with Interstate 280 to meet the western end of transcontinental Interstate 80 in 2.25 miles. Photo taken 03/27/16.
A second interchange sequence sign with I-80 appears after the Cesar Chavez Street interchange, one mile south of the split from U.S. 101. U.S. 101 runs between the Inner Mission and Potrero Hill communities through to the ensuing Vermont Street off-ramp (Exit 433A). Photo taken 03/27/16.
Passing under 23rd Street along U.S. 101 north. U.S. 101 branches westward at forthcoming I-80 for the Central Freeway spur west to Van Ness Avenue. Seventh Street (Exit 1) is the first off-ramp of Interstate 80 east. Photo taken 03/27/16.
A junction I-80 shield assembly normally reserved for a side street appears on the U.S. 101 freeway mainline. U.S. 101 exits itself to join the Central Freeway west to Van Ness Avenue for the continuation to the Golden Gate Bridge. The number two lane also comprises a left-hand exit for Ninth Street and the Civic Center. Photo taken 03/27/16.
Beyond Interstate 80 and the Central Freeway, U.S. 101 follows Van Ness Avenue, a major route through the city, to Lombard Street and the Golden Gate Bridge. Busy Van Ness Avenue is six lanes wide, but nearly every major intersection is governed by a traffic signal. Trucks are not advised on the route. Photo taken 03/27/16.
The skyline of the City by the Bay spreads across the horizon as Interstate 80 east begins via Exit 433B. The Central Freeway takes U.S. 101 west toward the Octavia Boulevard exit. This section of U.S. 101 was formerly planned as part of I-80 from when the freeway was proposed to extend west along the Fell Street/Oak Street corridor to Golden Gate Park and California 1. Photo taken 03/27/16.
Historical Perspective from U.S. 101 north
Note that in 2004, U.S. 101 was temporarily omitted on signs for the Central Freeway, with U.S. 101 through traffic directed instead onto the Seventh Street exit from I-80 east. This was done to reduce traffic flowing onto the Central Freeway stub. Photo taken 11/29/04.
During the early and mid 2000s, U.S. 101 north was temporarily detoured onto Seventh Street from I-80 due to the Octavia Boulevard construction project. Upon completion of the project, U.S. 101 was restored on the Central Freeway alignment. Photo taken 11/29/04.
Signs at the I-80 east and U.S. 101 northbound partition were also altered due to the Octavia Boulevard construction project. Photo taken 11/29/04.
Perspective from Octavia Boulevard south
In the early 2000s, Octavia Boulevard was constructed in place of the demolished northernmost segment of Central Freeway. Traveling south on Octavia Boulevard through the new parkway section, a pair of trailblazer shields are posted for Interstate 80 and U.S. 101 after Haight Street and prior to Market Street. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Southbound Octavia Boulevard transitions directly onto the Central Freeway after passing the intersection with Market Street. The Central Freeway travels initially as an unnumbered route before picking up U.S. 101 south. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Perspective from U.S. 101 south
A loop ramp brings U.S. 101 south onto the Central Freeway from Van Ness Avenue. The elevated roadway proceeds east from there directly to Interstate 80. Overtaking the James Lick Freeway south, U.S. 101 forms an important corridor for the West Bay communities of San Bruno, San Mateo, Menlo Park and Palo Alto. Photo taken 07/06/07.
A left-hand ramp takes motorists from U.S. 101 (Central Freeway) south onto Interstate 80 (James Lick Freeway) east. I-80 travels through South of Market and Yerba Buena to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge into Alameda County. The city of Oakland is an eight mile drive to the east across the Bay Bridge. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Perspective from Interstate 80 east
Exit 1 quickly departs I-80 east for Seventh Street after the split with U.S. 101 (Central Freeway) north. The second and final exit on the San Francisco Peninsula follows in a half mile for Fourth Street and the Embarcadero. This was the former end of California 480, which in the mid-1960s was designated Interstate 480. SR 480 (Embarcadero Freeway) partially collapsed in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. It was demolished by 1993. The unconstructed connection with Interstate 280, which currently ends near AT&T Park, would have met I-80 near that same point. Photo taken 03/27/16.
The first shield for Interstate 80 east stands between the travel lanes ahead of Exit 1. Photo taken 03/27/16.
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 95 - Ridgefield Park, New Jersey
Perspective from Interstate 95/New Jersey Turnpike (eastern branch) north
Interstate 95/New Jersey Turnpike splits into two segments between Interstate 280 and U.S. 46 in northeastern New Jersey. The eastern branch provides a connection to New Jersey 495/Lincoln Tunnel, then connects to Interstate 80 west. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Northbound Interstate 95/New Jersey Turnpike (eastern branch) reaches Exit 16E, Junction New Jersey 3 northwest to Clinton and Junction New Jersey 495 east to the Lincoln Tunnel. Note the absence of New Jersey 495 shields on the turnpike mainline. Photo taken 08/29/05.
A third set of shields for the Lincoln Tunnel interchange (Exit 16E) is posted on northbound Interstate 95/New Jersey Turnpike. The exit is two lanes. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Looking at the exit lanes from the Interstate 95/New Jersey Turnpike mainline after the toll plaza, a single New Jersey 495 shield is posted on a roadside sign with the control city of Lincoln Tunnel. New Jersey 3 travels northeast toward Clinton from here, while New Jersey 495 aims for Midtown Manhattan. Photo taken 08/29/05.
After the Lincoln Tunnel interchange and prior to the Vince Lombardi Service Area, the left lane of the eastern branch becomes exit only for the connection to Interstate 80 west to Hackensack and Paterson, while the right lanes continue north on Interstate 95. Signage along the New Jersey Turnpike is unique in that it features flip-able panels. These types of signs can be changed to display differing routes and control points depending on traffic flows, patterns, or construction as needed. This particular sign bridge faces northbound Interstate 95 travelers as the New Jersey Turnpike prepares to come to an end at U.S. 46. U.S. 46, Exit 18E/W of the Turnpike, is approximately one mile to the north. This particular set of signs saw replacement by the end of 2000. Photos taken 08/29/05 and 03/00.
After the Vince Lombardi Service Area, the left two lanes of northbound Interstate 95/New Jersey Turnpike (eastern branch) provide access to Interstate 80 west, while the right two lanes continue north to U.S. 46 and the George Washington Bridge. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Perspective from Interstate 95/New Jersey Turnpike (western branch) north
The New Jersey Turnpike sees a split in roadways between Kearny northward to the northern terminus. The turnpike split allows traffic to disperse between a western branch that serves Clifton and through travel needs (to Interstate 80 and the George Washington Bridge) and an eastern branch that links the Turnpike with New Jersey 495 and the Lincoln Tunnel at Union City and Secaucus. This dated overhead used to guide northbound Interstate 95 motorists onto the western branch of the Turnpike. Traffic destined for Interstate 80 west, U.S. 46 between Fort Lee and Ridgefield Park, or the George Washington Bridge of Interstate 95 is advised to take the western branch of the Turnpike. This sign was replaced. Vidcap taken 08/93.
Perspective from Interstate 95/New Jersey Turnpike north
The exit ramp to Interstate 80 is two lanes wide and follows Interstate 95 north past the U.S. 46 interchange (which is the final exit for the New Jersey Turnpike). Photo taken 08/29/05.
The last exit of the New Jersey Turnpike proper for U.S. 46, one mile south of Interstate 80. U.S. 46 branches eastward as a limited access highway to U.S. 1 and 9 at Fort Lee. Westbound, U.S. 46 crosses the Hackensack River into Ridgefield Park before encountering Hackensack itself at Interstate 80. Incidentally, the button copy sign to the right and flip-able sign to the left also saw replacement by late 2000. Photo taken 03/00.
As seen from the transition ramp to Interstate 80 west, northbound Interstate 95 meets U.S. 46 at this offramp. This is the final exit for the New Jersey Turnpike; for a short duration north of here, Interstate 95 is a free road (at least until the George Washington Bridge, which is tolled). Photo taken 08/29/05.
A small roadside sign advises that through traffic to Interstate 80 should choose LOCAL lanes (right) or EXPRESS lanes (left lane). Photo taken 08/29/05.
Use the left lane to follow Interstate 80 express lanes west to Paterson and the right lane to follow Interstate 80 local lanes west to Hackensack. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Meanwhile, over in the main lanes, signage for through Interstate 95 traffic presents a similar choice: upper deck (express) or lower deck (local, to Interstate 87) over the George Washington Bridge. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Local and express configurations are identified for both Interstate 80 and Interstate 95 as the split between the two major Interstate routes approaches. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Traffic for Interstate 80 turns west, while traffic for Interstate 95 turns east. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Turning west, the left lane connects to the express lanes, while the right lane connects to the local lanes. This marks the beginning of transcontinental Interstate 80. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Interstate 95 southbound, as it departs from the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey, encounters several exits in a short span. Before Interstate 95 encounters Interstate 80 and the New Jersey Turnpike, exits for U.S. 1, 9, 9W, 46 and New Jersey Routes 4 and 67 are in place. This photograph looks at the original button copy signage over Interstate 95 declaring that Interstate 80, the Garden State Parkway, and New Jersey Turnpike are accessible ahead. This sign saw replacement by late 2000 (see next photograph). Photo taken by Jim K. Georges (07/98).
Interstate 95 southbound at the same overpass Pictured in the above photograph. New reflective signage shows a diagram depicting the exit orientation of Interstate 95 Express versus Local. Traffic bound for Fort Lee, Englewood, and other area communities must utilize Interstate 95 Local. There is no access to U.S. 1, 9, 46 or New Jersey 4 from Interstate 95 Express. Also visible in this photograph, though partially cut-off, is the exit signage for the southern terminus of U.S. 9W and New Jersey 67. This first New Jersey exit for Interstate 95 travelers connects with the Palisades Interstate Parkway as well. The limited access highway provides a scenic drive between Fort Lee and Interstate 87/287 near New City, New York. Interstate 80 is accessible from both Interstate 95 Local and Express. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (11/25/01).
Original button copy signage on Interstate 95 southbound in advance of the Express/Local split. These trapezoidal type signs used to be found throughout Interstate 95 from Fort Lee eastward onto the Cross-Bronx Expressway. Very few remain however, as this one like many others, saw replacement. Note also how New Jersey 17 was slipped almost conspicuously onto the left-hand panel. New Jersey 17 is an extension of the lengthy New York 17 that stretches throughout the Southern Tier of New York State. The state highway intersects Interstate 80 at Exit 64, four miles after Interstate 80 begins. Photo taken by Jim K. Georges (07/99).
Nearing the Interstate 95 Express/Local split is this last advance guide signage. The Express/Local system is designed to allow through traffic minimal interference from on and off-ramps and the merging traffic that they create. Therefore, the Express lanes only see interchanges at major junctions (such as the Garden State Parkway). There are four segments of Local/Express systems used in the Garden State. Photo taken by Jim K. Georges (07/99).
Interstate 95 and New Jersey 4 overhead signage on Interstate 95 Local southbound. These newer signs use the New Jersey Turnpike style format with the Exit number enclosed within the guide sign itself (instead of being posted above the guide sign on a separate panel). Note also that between Fort Lee and Interstate 80, Interstate 95 appears to use Interstate 80 mileage based exit numbers. This is actually not the case, as the numbers are in coincidence with Interstate 80 mileage to the Pennsylvania state line at the Delaware Water Gap. The actual mileage for the exit numbers is tabulated using the never built Interstate 95 alignment between Princeton and New Brunswick. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (07/00).
This sign bridge shows signage for a slip ramp to Interstate 95 Express from Interstate 95 Local southbound. Ramps such as this allow traffic that enters Interstate 95 Local the accessibility to move over to the Express lanes. Vidcap taken 08/93.
After passing the U.S. 1/9/46 and New Jersey 4 confluence, Interstate 95 Express and Local prepare to encounter Interstate 80. The lanes themselves become Interstate 80 Express and Local westbound. The lanes for Interstate 80 are signed as Exit 69 from Interstate 95, one mile higher than the mileage of Interstate 80 to the Pennsylvania state line (last exit on Interstate 80 eastbound is Exit 68A/B). Photo taken by Jim K. Georges (07/98).
Another set of Interstate 80 west and Interstate 95 south/Exit 69 guide signs. These are placed over the Interstate 95 Express lanes southbound. Note the connections to U.S. 46 (first exit on Interstate 95 southbound beyond Interstate 80) and the Garden State Parkway (Exit 62 of Interstate 80). Photo taken by Jim K. Georges (7/99).
Perspective from Interstate 80 east
Several miles to the west of the Interstate 80 terminus, the freeway eastbound splits between Express and Local lanes. The Express version of Interstate 80 sees no exits between the split and Interstate 95. This setup is also used on Interstate 76 in Camden, Interstate 78 through Newark, and continues from Interstate 80 onto Interstate 95 (considered separate because of the designation switch from Interstate 80) to Fort Lee. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Although still six miles away from Interstate 95, Interstate 80 Local guide signage includes Interstate 95 and New Jersey Turnpike trailblazers throughout. This photograph looks at eastbound at Exit 62B at the Fair Lawn/Lodi exit. New Jersey 17 is added to the left-hand guide signage because of the approximately to the state route (Exit 64). Photo taken 08/29/05.
Even at local/express crossover ramps, Interstate 80 guide signage includes Interstate 95 and New Jersey Turnpike trailblazers throughout. These signs are located prior to Exit 63, To New Jersey 17. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Interstate 80 Local eastbound as it nears Exit 68A for Interstate 95 southbound. Similar to the format on the Local lanes, the continuation of Interstate 80 eastbound into Interstate 95 northbound is shown as Exit 68B, although motorists never actually exit. Photo taken 08/29/05.
One-half mile to the west of the actual terminus, an Interstate 80 ends/Interstate 95 begins panel is in place. NJDOT uses this format commonly throughout the Garden State when one route designation ends at another. The south end of Interstate 676 sees an example of this type of sign. Photo taken 08/29/05.
View of signage for Interstate 95, New Jersey Turnpike, and U.S. 46 located in express lanes as seen from local lanes of Interstate 80. Photo taken 08/29/05.
The split of Interstate 95 bound traffic between Exits 68A and B marks the eastern end of Interstate 80 after a 2,900 mile plus journey across 11 states. The first New York City exit is just five miles to the east. For Interstate 80 Express motorists, Exit 68A is the last chance to exit in the state of New Jersey, as there are no exits between here and New York City. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Traffic that does not exit onto Interstate 95 south/Exit 68A is defaulted onto Interstate 95 northbound (Exit 68B). Interstate 95 continues the Express/Local system, so traffic still may exit between here and the George Washington Bridge. The bridge itself is four miles to the east. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Interstate 80 (local lanes) concludes as Interstate 95 north and south split ahead; the left three lanes follow Interstate 95 toward the George Washington Bridge. Traffic on the Interstate 80 Express lanes sees Exit 68A as the last New Jersey exit and thus continues unabated to the George Washington Bridge. U.S. 46, shown on every Exit 68A guide sign, represents the only exit between Interstate 80 and the New Jersey Turnpike on Interstate 95 southbound. Photo taken 08/29/05.


  1. Ryan Wanek, personal email, "Update to I-80 page on," 12/09/04 and the official Nebraska Department of Roads webpage
  2. "Iowa Completion Status of Interstate System as of January 1, 1982." Iowa Department of Transportation.
  3. Tri-State Tollway: Interstate 294 South Reconstruction - official site
  4. Kingery Expressway Reconstruction - official site
  5. "After seven years Borman Expressway backups in rear view mirror." Indiana Economic Digest, August 19, 2011.
  6. Ohio Turnpike History - official site
  7. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System: Previous Interstate Facts of the Day by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
  8. California Celebrates 50 Years of the Interstate Highway System by Caltrans (California Department of Transportation).
  9. Images of America: The Bay Bridge by Paul C. Trimble and John C. Alioto, Jr., Arcadia Publishing, 2004.
  10. Encyclopedia of Chicago: Expressways by Dennis McClendon of the Chicago Historical Society
  11. Encyclopedia of Chicago: Tollways by David M. Young of the Chicago Historical Society
  12. Ryan Wanek, personal email, "Re: More Updates from Nebraska," 12/19/06
  13. "Completion of I-80's western leg is pushed to 2037." Omaha World-Herald, December 18, 2006
  14. "Photofiles: Interstate 80 dedication in 1961." Journal Star (Lincoln, NE), November 7, 2013.
  15. "I-80 Construction Project Almost Done." WOWT (Omaha, NE), November 5, 2013.
  16. "New, wider stretch of I-80 opens." Journal Star (Lincoln, NE), January 4, 2008.
  17. "East and west closer to meeting on widened I-80" Journal Star (Lincoln, NE), October 18, 2012.
  18. "State, city ready to begin work on diverging diamond at Northwest 48th Street" Journal Star (Lincoln, NE), January 27, 2014.
  19. "2 decades later, widening of turnpike finally finished - New lane open between Maumee, Perrysburg exits" The Blade (Toledo, OH) November 13, 2014.
  20. "Rebuilding of Interstate Is Set to Begin in 1987." Omaha World-Herald (NE), September 8, 1985.
  21. "Decade of Work Money and Traffic Limit Speed of I-80 Rebuilding." Omaha World-Herald (NE), April 5, 1989.
  22. "I-80 Upgrade Is Complete Billions of Pounds of Concrete, Decade of Work Improve Road The Rebuilding of Interstate 80 in Omaha." Omaha World-Herald (NE), August 24, 1999.
  23. "Eisenhower Envisioned Highway Plan in 1919." Omaha World-Herald (NE), June 29, 1986.

Page Updated September 15, 2016.

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