Additional Info

Mileage

State California
Mileage 47.22
Cities San Jose, Oakland
Junctions Interstate 280, Interstate 238, Interstate 980, Interstate 80
Source: December 31, 2015 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-880 California Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
California San Jose 153,000 2002
California Milpitas 161,000 2002
California Fremont 189,000 2002
California Hayward 275,000 2002
California Oakland 256,000 2002
California northwest Oakland 118,000 2002
Source: Caltrans, Traffic Operations Program - Traffic and Vehicle Data Systems [2002]
Complete Interstate 880 AADT data.
The original Nimitz Freeway course through Oakland in 1977.
Interstate 980 was completed west to I-880 in 1985. I-880 north from I-980 was closed four years later due to the Loma Prieta earthquake. Interstate 980 took over as the through route to I-580 until the completion of the Cypress Freeway.

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Interstate 880 California

Routing

Interstate 880, known as California 17 until the mid-1980s, is the Nimitz Freeway between San Jose and Oakland. It generally follows the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. Originating at the interchange with Interstate 280 and SR 17 in San Jose, the freeway culminates its northerly journey at the Maze interchange (Junction Interstates 80 and 580) in Oakland.

Interstate 880 is generally six to eight lanes wide, with some older sections reconstructed and expanded in the South Bay area in 2002. Although damaged in the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, its connection to Interstate 80 was restored by 1999.

History

Interstate 880 was originally assigned to the Sacramento Bypass between 1963 and 1980. It was eliminated with the realignment of Interstate 80 around the capital city as approved by AASHTO on November 14, 1980. See the Interstate 880 (Decommissioned) California guide for additional details and photos.

This section of former California 17 was introduced into the state highway system as a result of Federal Highway Administration action in 1983 and passage of State Assembly Bill 2741 in 1984. AASHO approved the establishment of I-880 on June 20, 1983, and the route was completely signed by 1985. SR 17 still remains designated south of Interstate 280 on its way to Santa Cruz.

The double-decker section of Interstate 880 along the Nimitz Freeway was the site of a tragic collapse of the Cypress Structure in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, resulting in the deaths of 42 motorists. A large segment of I-880 reopened in Oakland on a completely new alignment in mid-1997, and by 1999, ten years after that calamity, Interstate 880 was reconstructed on a new alignment to connect to Interstates 80 and 580 in Oakland. Community input was taken to ensure that the new freeway would be less intrusive to Oakland neighborhoods. In terms of design, the former two tier section of the Nimitz Freeway was reconstructed into a viaduct with no double deck sections. The Nimitz Freeway through this area is known as the Cypress Freeway.

Between 1991 and 2010, Interstate 880 saw a wide variety of improvements that altered the face of the Nimitz Freeway. Some of the improvements were the result of the disastrous Loma Prieta Earthquake, while others were designed to improve capacity and safety implicit in an Interstate highway. Federal, state, and local funds paid for the Interstate 880 upgrades. Both Santa Clara and Alameda Counties passed transportation sales tax measures, with some proceeds earmarked toward I-880. The redesignation of California 17 into Interstate 880 also helped bring additional federal funds to the upgrade projects.

Projects undertaken were:

  • 2010 - Build new exit lanes from Interstate 280 to Interstate 880
  • 2006 - Rebuild Interstate 880/Coleman Avenue interchange
  • 1994 - Widen Interstate 880 over Caltrain tracks
  • 1998 - Rebuild U.S. 101/Interstate 880 interchange
  • 2003 - Widen Interstate 880 to six lanes between U.S. 101 and Montague Expressway (Santa Clara County Route G-4)
  • 1995 - Complete Tasman Drive overpass
  • 2005 - Open new ramps at California 237/Interstate 880 interchange
  • 1992 - Widen Interstate 880 from California 237 (Exit 8C) to Dixon Landing Road (Exit 10)
  • 2004 - Rebuild Dixon Landing Road over crossing
  • 2008 - Rebuild California 262 (Mission Boulevard)/Interstate 880 Interchange
  • 2008 - Construct carpool lanes from California 237 to California 262
  • 1998 - Widen Interstate 880 to eight lanes from Union City to Fremont; rebuild 12 interchanges
  • 2009 - Rebuild California 92/Interstate 880 Interchange
  • 2002 - Repave Interstate 880 from Santa Clara-Alameda County Line north to High Street (to California 77/42nd Street) Interchange in Oakland
  • 1997 - Demolish remains of former Interstate 880 structure (destroyed by Loma Prieta Earthquake) and open new Cypress Freeway link between Interstate 980 and Interstate 80/Interstate 580 east of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

Much of the interchange improvements involved removing weaving traffic patterns associated with cloverleaf ramps and replacing them with more modern designs. In total, nearly $2.5 billion was allocated on these projects. Longer range projects included possible extension of high occupancy vehicle lanes from California 237 to U.S. 101 and new ramps at the California 77/42nd Avenue/High Street interchange in Oakland, Washington Boulevard interchange in San Leandro, and The Alameda interchange in Santa Clara.1

Expansion of Interstate 880 between First Street and the Montague Expressway in San Jose widened the freeway from four to six lanes. Completed on On November 13, 2003, work began on the $74 million project in 2001. The new lanes were added in the median, replacing oleander bushes and a cable barrier. Engineers predicted at the time that the average travel speed along the 2.5 mile stretch of highway would increase from 9 to 51 MPH. The commute time was predicted to decrease by 18 minutes along the same stretch of highway.2

There are currently no plans to extend Interstate 880. However, a common misconception is that Interstate 880 ought to be extended south of Interstate 280 via California 17. Only the section of California 17 from Interstate 280 south to California 85 is Interstate-standard; the rest of the route to Santa Cruz is substandard, with cross traffic, limited sight distance, curves and narrow medians. There are no plans to upgrade SR 17 to freeway standards, even though accidents occur regularly along it.

Highway Guides

Southern Terminus - Interstate 280 - San Jose, California
Perspective from Interstate 280 north
The first indication of the pending interchange with Interstate 880 and California 17 (Exits 5B-C) along northbound Interstate 280 is this sign. Originally, Interstate 880 was signed as California 17, so the green overlay was placed in the 1980s cover the original California 17 shield and show the current pattern. Interstate 880 travels north toward Newark, Fremont, and Oakland, while California 17 travels south toward Santa Cruz. Photo taken 11/29/04.
The collector-distributor lane from the Leigh Avenue/Bascom Avenue interchange (Exit 5A) shows not only Interstate 280 north but also Interstate 880 and California 17 on the pull through sign. Photo taken 11/29/04.
The following interchange sequence sign shows the distance to the Interstate 880/California 17 interchange (Exits 5B-C). Photo taken 11/29/04.
The right two lanes become leave for southbound California 17 from northbound Interstate 280 (Exit 5B), while the number five lane serves the connection to northbound Interstate 880. Photo taken 11/29/04.
Northbound Interstate 280 reaches Exit 5C, Junction Interstate 880 north to Oakland. Interstate 280 continues northwest through Silicon Valley, then angles north toward Daly City and San Francisco. Photo taken 11/29/04.
The interchange between Interstate 280, Interstate 880, and California 17 is a stack interchange, with flyover ramps connecting the most heavily traveled connections. California 17 south of Interstate 280 was not converted into an Interstate highway due to the substandard nature of the freeway and expressway that connects San Jose with Santa Clara. Previous attempts to make California 17 into an Interstate standard freeway have not succeeded due to environmental and local opposition. Nevertheless, California 17 has a variety of challenges to keeping it safe, including problems that arise after heavy rains. Photo taken 11/29/04.
Perspective from Interstate 880 south
This photo shows Interstate 880 heading southbound approaching Junction Interstate 280 and California 17, although California 17 is not shown on the overhead signs. Photo taken 12/30/01.
Southbound Interstate 880 at Stevens Creek Road exit, approaching Junction Interstate 280. There is still no mention of California 17. Photo taken 12/30/01.
Finally, within a quarter-mile of Interstate 280, there is an overhead sign for California 17 southbound to Santa Cruz. Photo taken 12/30/01.
This photo was taken from the auxiliary lane to Interstate 280. Interstate 880 ends with this exit, and California 17 carries the freeway toward Santa Cruz. There is no END Interstate 880 signage present. Photo taken 12/30/01.
Interstate 280 north/south overhead signage from transition from southbound Interstate 880. Photo taken 12/30/01.
Perspective from California 17 north
The first indication of the pending interchange with Interstate 280 and Interstate 880 is this mileage sign along northbound California 17. Photo taken 11/29/04.
Interstate 280 travels east (south) to downtown San Jose as well as connect to U.S. 101 and Interstate 680. It heads west (north) toward the western edge of Silicon Valley and then north to Daly City and San Francisco, following a path well worn by the San Andreas Fault. This sign is the first indication of Interstate 880 north to Oakland. Photo taken 11/29/04.
The right two lanes connect to Interstate 280, while the left three lanes transition California 17 directly onto Interstate 880. Photo taken 11/29/04.
Northbound California 17 ends and Interstate 880 northbound begins at the offramp to Interstate 280. Photo taken 11/29/04.
Perspective from Interstate 880 north
Interstate 880 north reaches the exit for Interstate 280 north. The northbound freeway retains three through lanes. Photo taken 11/29/04.
Once on the ramp, the lanes split, with the right lane connecting to northbound Interstate 280 and the left lane connecting to Stevens Creek Boulevard and West San Carlos Street. The flyover ramp visible here connects northbound Interstate 280 with southbound California 17. Photo taken 11/29/04.
Northern Terminus - Interstate 80 - Oakland, California
Perspective from Interstate 80/Bay Bridge east
Interstate 80 leaves the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge a half mile ahead of Exit 8A for Interstate 880 (Cypress Freeway) south. The connection to I-880 was reconstructed in the early 1990s as a result of damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. The new route follows a looping path around neighborhoods that it used to cut through. Photo taken 03/27/16.
Two lanes depart Interstate 80 east at the wye interchange (Exit 8A) for Interstate 880 south to Alameda, Fremont and San Jose. Motorists continuing east on I-80 quickly encounter the Maze interchange with Interstate 580. Photo taken 03/27/16.
Interstate 880 begins from I-80 east along a viaduct leading southeast to Grand Avenue. The I-880 mainline stems south from the Maze interchange with I-580 otherwise. That direction is only accessible from I-80 east & 580 west. Photo taken 03/27/16.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 80 east
This set of signs was posted just east of the original San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. A lone overhead directs motorists to I-880 south in one half mile now. Photo taken 11/29/04.
These button copy signs were also replaced during construction of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The I-580 east connection with California 24 is highlighted to the left while I-880 is now signed as Exit 8A. Photo taken 11/29/04.
Perspective from Interstate 80 west & Interstate 580 east
This signage along Westbound Interstate 80 and Eastbound Interstate 580 is the first sign indicating the approaching Maze Interchange with Interstate 880 along the southbound Eastshore Freeway (confusingly signed as east Interstate 580 and west Interstate 80). Photo taken 12/30/01.
This next sign assembly shows that Interstate 580 and 880 traffic should remain in the left lanes, while Interstate 80/Bay Bridge traffic should remain in the right lanes. The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to the left have direct access to Interstate 80 west even though they are on the left. Interstate 580 and 880 do not have direct HOV access at this time. The westbound Interstate 80 HOV lanes require three occupants to be considered a carpool. Note the recently replaced signage for Interstates 580 and 880; this is the new standard for signage initiated by Caltrans in 1999. Photo taken 11/26/04.
No trucks are permitted on eastbound Interstate 580 after the Grand Avenue exit. This impacts Interstate 880 by making it into the only truck route between Oakland and the South Bay; a connection for trucks en route to the Central Valley and Los Angeles via eastbound Interstate 580 may use Interstate 238. I-238 serves a major purpose by offering the primary truck route from Oakland and northwestern Alameda County to the Central Valley. Watch for merging trucks through this area. Photo taken 11/26/04.
This sign reflects the exact lane allocation for each of the three roads: Interstates 580, 880, and 80 from left to right. No mention is made of access to California 24 at this interchange, but other signs recommend using Interstate 580. Photo taken 11/26/04.
Sign assembly for the three routes, next to flyover for carpool/HOV lane from left side of freeway. This is the beginning of the Maze Interchange. Interstate 80 exits from the Eastshore Freeway at this point, while Interstate 580 and 880 traffic continue south before separating. Photo taken 11/26/04.
Entering the infamous Maze Interchange, the left lanes connect to Interstate 580 east to Hayward and Tracy, while the right lanes connect to Interstate 880 south to Alameda and San Jose. Photo taken 11/26/04.
These reflective signs (placed in 2000) show the split between Interstate 580 eastbound and Interstate 880 southbound. This marks the beginning of Interstate 880 as an extant route, traveling along the eastern shore of the bay via the Nimitz Freeway. There are no BEGIN signs located here. Photo taken 11/26/04.
Perspective from Interstate 880 north
Northbound Interstate 880 passing under the Interstate 980 viaduct. After the Market Street exit, there are only two exits remaining: Grand Avenue and Westbound Interstate 80 (toll). Photo taken 11/26/04.
The San Francisco Exit along Northbound Interstate 880 is actually the interchange with westbound Interstate 80. The next exit is 7th Street and Grand Avenue in Oakland. Photo taken 11/26/04.
Northbound Interstate 880 at 7th Street and Grand Avenue in Oakland. Compare this stretch of freeway with the new Cypress Viaduct section just ahead. Photo taken 11/26/04.
Northbound Interstate 880 splits between Interstate 80 west to San Francisco (left exit) and Interstate 80 east/Interstate 580 west to Sacramento and San Rafael (Marin County). Photo taken 11/26/04.
This roadside sign advises that the right lanes should be used to connect to Interstate 80 east en route to Emeryville and Berkeley. The left lanes of northbound Interstate 880 will transition directly onto the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (westbound Interstate 80) en route to San Francisco. Photo taken 11/26/04.
Northbound Interstate 880 reaches the split in the route, where the left lanes travel northwest to meet Interstate 80 west to San Francisco, while the right lanes angle north to join with northbound Interstates 80 and 580. This section was completed in the late 1990s as part of the Cypress Freeway. There are no END signs present at this interchange. The ramps leading from this point form a wye as Interstate 80 is still a good distance north of this point. Photo taken 11/26/04.
Perspective from Interstate 880 north Connection to Interstate 80 west
Interstate 880 narrows on the viaduct to two lanes plus HOV as it approaches Interstate 80. Photo taken 08/24/03.
The Cypress Viaduct flies above Oakland as northbound Interstate 880 approaches the bay bridge. On clear days like this one, the City of San Francisco is visible across the bay. Photo taken 08/24/03.
The HOV ramp departs from the Cypress Viaduct to the left as an on-ramp merges from Grand Avenue to the right. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge mainline toll plaza lies just beyond the forthcoming merge of I-880 north onto I-80 west. Signs here however omit the toll rate. Photo taken 08/24/03.
A second HOV ramp departs from the north end of Interstate 880. This ramp is restricted to buses only. Photo taken 08/24/03.
Perspective from Interstate 880 north Connection to Interstate 80 east & 580 west
On the other branch, Interstate 880 north follows an elevated route to connect it with Interstate 80 eastbound and Interstate 580 westbound. The ramp flies over the top of the Maze Interchange, avoiding much of the traffic and ramps below. Photo taken 11/26/04.
The three-lane transition ramp includes one high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane as well as two through lanes. San Francisco Bay comes into view to the west as the ramp continues on its bridge over the Maze Interchange. Photo taken 11/26/04.
As the transition ramp from northbound Interstate 880 descends from its heights, it merges onto eastbound Interstate 80 and westbound Interstate 580 on the left. Photo taken 11/26/04.

Sources:

  1. "Nimitz Construction reaches final stretch." Contra Costa Times, May 8, 2005.
  2. "Two new lanes to unplug bottleneck near 101." San Jose Mercury News, October 11, 2003.

Page Updated April 5, 2016.