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State Route 85

Click here for a key to the symbols used. An explanation of acronyms may be found at the bottom of the page.

Routing Routing

Rte 85From Route 101 near Bernal Road in San Jose to Route 101 near Moffett Boulevard in Mountain View.

Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

In 1963, this route was defined as "Route 101 near Ford Road to Route 101 near Mountain View."

In 1968, Chapter 282 added the following, which did not change the definition of the route:

Mathilda Avenue, which is part of Route 85 in the City of Sunnyvale, is hereby declared to be a city street within the meaning of Sections 189 and 190, and is eligible for an allocation of funds for grade separation pursuant to Section 190.

The legislature finds and declares that although Mathilda Avenue is presently a portion of Route 85, the commission has approved an alternate routing, the department has commenced acquisition of the property necessary for right-of-way along the new route, and Mathilda Avenue will be returned to the City of Sunnyvale within a few years. Because of the heavy traffic congestion at the intersection of Mathilda Avenue and the Southern Pacific Company's railroad tracks, it is necessary that Mathilda Avenue be eligible for a grade separation allocation as soon as possible.

In 1988, Chapter 106 changed the origin to be "Route 101 near Bernal Road in San Jose"

As freeway, the first section of this route opened was from I-280 near Cupertino to US 101 near Mountain View; it opened in 1965.
(Source: San Jose Mercury News, 12/7/15)

The Route 85 freeway was first planned in 1965, but there was no money to complete the $785 million project until 1984 when Santa Clara County became the first county in California to tax itself to build a state project. The new freeway was completed in 1994. The Santa Clara County Traffic Authority, which existed for 10 years while the tax was in place, was created to team with Caltrans to oversee work. It was composed of nearly two dozen local leaders, such as city council members, supervisors, and public works officials. It approved cost-saving moves, such as scrapping plans to build an expensive tunnel between Route 85 and I-280, not building interchanges at Quito Road and Prospect Road, and building half an interchange at Winchester Boulevard. It also approved a truck ban and metering lights. Some extra costs were approved. Los Gatos and Saratoga wanted to avoid excessive noise and insisted that the freeway be built below grade at an eventual additional cost of $60 million. However, the cost saving measures also lead to the original dirt center median — a 46- to 50-foot-wide strip of dirt with no protective barrier — that was within Caltrans regulations then that no guard rail was required for a median of 45 feet or wider unless there was a high rate of head-on collisions on that freeway. As the freeway did not exist, there was no history of such collisions. However, within three years, seven people were killed on Route 85 in median-related incidents, several by drunk drivers who lost control and sped through the unprotected dirt median, slamming head-on into opposing traffic. Those deaths lead Caltrans to adopt a new policy that added median barriers to 400 miles of highways throughout the state.
(Source: Mercury News, "The story of the Highway 85 decision that saved money and cost lives: Roadshow", 8/23/2020)

In 1992, a 4 lane, 2 mile section in San Jose from Santa Teresa Blvd east to Cottle Road opened. In 1993, the route was extended a mile east (S) to Great Oaks Blvd, and a mile west (N) to Almaden Expressway. The opening of these sections coincided with the opening of Route 87 from Almaden Expressway south to Route 85. The final sections from Almaden Expressway to Route 280 and the short, ¾ mile gap between Great Oaks Blvd and US 101 opened Oct. 19, 1994.
(Source: SJMN, 12/7/15)

Originally, there was a traversable maintained routing from Route 9 to I-280 along De Anza Blvd and Saratoga-Sunnyvale Rd. It was immediately relinquished when the freeway was completed in 1994, although the state agreed to repave it before handing it over to the cities of Cupertino and Saratoga. This relinquishment was before the California Transportation Commission in July 2000. As of 2007, there were still a significant number of remaining postmiles, especially in Saratoga.

Prior to the 1994 opening of the Route 85 freeway, only the Cupertino portion (between Homestead and Bollinger) of De Anza was signed as "De Anza Boulevard". To the north, the road was known as Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road and Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road to the south. The Route 85 exits were originally signed as Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road but were changed to the current "De Anza Boulevard" shortly after the freeway opened when the city of San Jose agreed to change the name to De Anza Blvd so now within the city limits of Cupertino and San Jose, the road is known as De Anza Blvd. Saratoga's portion, starting at Prospect Road retains the old name, Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road.
(Source: Myosh_Tino on AAroads, 6/20/2018)

Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

This route was only proposed in 1963; it was unsigned. It was the "under construction" routing for LRN 114, defined in 1959. The old surface routing was defined in 1933. The portion of the route between Saratoga and US 101 was part of the original signed Route 9 before 1964.

Rte 85 Route Adoptions 101 to AzuleAround 1958, the CHC announced that it was considering adoption of routings for the Serra Freeway near its southern terminus in San Jose. One section of freeway extends from US 101 S of Ford Road in San Jose to Sign Route 9 (Saratoga-Sunnyvale Rd) S of Azule, a distance of 15.5 mi. From US 101 the recommended route runs W across Cottle Road to the S and parallel with Downer Ave to the vicinity of Snell Road where it swings N. It then runs N of and roughly parallel with Downer Ave, Kooser Road, and Los Gatos-Alamaden Road to Sign Route 17 (Route 17/I-880). It then continues W to Sign Route 9 (Saratoga-Sunnyvale Rd), crossing Saratoga Ave about midway between Campbell and Saratoga.
(Source: Los Gatos Times-Saratoga Observer, 10/25/1958 or 1959, via Joel Windmiller, 2/23/2023)

Rte 85 Azule to Mountain View RoutingIn 1956, public hearings were conducted for "Sign Route 9" (future Route 85) between Azula (Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road) and the Bayshore Freeway. Azule is located at the railroad crossing on Sign Route 9 between Saratoga and Cupertino. The proposed freeway (which is hard to map to present routings due to street changes and the orientation of the map) runs roughly along the lines of Stevens Creek and westerly of the present highway, just N of Moffett Field. As of 1956, Sign Route 9 (now Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road and Matilda Ave, as the state signage for Sign Route 9 in this area was dropped in the 1964 renumbering) met the Alviso-Mountain View Road (future Route 237) just S of Moffett Field.
(Source: 1956 Newspaper Article via Joel Windmiller, 2/13/2023)

The tricky part is the portion between Route 17 and US 101 in San Jose. There is some evidence that the original definition of LRN 239 used what was Route 85 for a time. Nathan Edgars noted on some Wikipedia work pages that (note: I've changed Nathan's route notation to the notation used here):

The initial definition of [LRN 239] (mostly I-280) said "to [LRN 2] near San Jose". This is inconclusive, but other evidence shows that it used what is now [Route 85] southeast of [Route 17]: the 1959 law creating the F&E System included "[LRN 239] from [LRN 2] south of San Jose to [LRN 5]"; the rest was added by the clause including Interstates. The 1961 law creating [LRN 292] ([Route 87]) specified that it was to end at "[LRN 239] in the vicinity of Pearl Avenue". [LRN 239] was moved in 1961 to "the junction of [LRN 68] and [LRN 69]", and was removed from the F&E System descriptions, as that was part of I-680. At the same time, the F&E System description of [LRN 114] (and [LRN 114] itself) was extended to cover this. Presumably what is now I-880, and was then I-680, between I-280 and US 101 was [LRN 5] until 1961. This would have replaced the old surface routing, which was closer to current I-280 than I-880. [LRN 5] was moved to present I-280 between [Route 17] and US 101 in 1961, replacing part of [LRN 115] (which had been moved there in 1959).

Route 85 was not defined as part of the initial state signage of routes in 1934. It is unclear what (if any) route was signed as Route 85 between 1934 and 1964.

Status Status

US 101 near Bernal Road to Route 17 near Los Gatos

In March 2013, the CTC relinquished right of way in the county of Santa Clara along Route 85 at Alameda Plaza Way (04-SCl-85-PM 6.2), consisting of collateral facilities.

TCRP Project #127 will complete the Route 85/Route 87 interchange (~SCL 6.133). It will also add two direct connectors for SB Route 85 to NB Route 87, and from SB Route 87 to NB Route 85.

In February 2009, the CTC approved relinquishment of right of way in the city of San Jose along Route 85 from Meridian Avenue to Union Avenue (~ SCL 7.301  to SCL 9.279), consisting of relocated or reconstructed city streets, and frontage roads. They also approved relinquishment of right of way in the county of Santa Clara along Route 85 on Branham Lane between 0.1 mile west of Standish Drive and Union Avenue, consisting of a frontage road (~ SCL 8.969 to SCL 9.279).

In August 2009, the CTC approved relinquishment of right of way in the city of Campbell along Route 85 on South Bascom Avenue (~ SCL 10.382), consisting of a reconstructed city street. The County of Santa Clara, by freeway agreement dated December 11, 1990, agreed to accept title upon relinquishment by the State, the street at that date lying within an unincorporated area of the county and has since been annexed by the city. The 90- day notice period expired July 8, 2009, without exception.

In April 2009, the CTC approved relinquishment of right of way in the city of San Jose along Route 85 on South Bascom Avenue, Samaritan Drive, and National Avenue (~ SCL 10.382), consisting of relocated or reconstructed city streets. They also approved relinquishment of right of way in the town of Los Gatos along Route 85 on Los Gatos Boulevard, Samaritan Drive, and National Avenue, and along Route 17 on Lark Avenue, consisting of relocated or reconstructed city streets.

Route 17 near Los Gatos to I-280 near Cupertino

A small portion near SCL R12.0 was up for relinquishment in the city of Campbell [May 2002 CTC Agenda Item 2.3c].

In December 2004, the CTC considered relinquishment of right of way in the City of Cupertino, at Cleo Avenue (~ SCL R16.01), consisting of a cul-de-sac. The City, by freeway agreement dated October 15, 1990, agreed to accept title upon relinquishment by the State and by letter dated August 27, 2004, waived the 90-day notice requirement and agreed to accept title upon relinquishment by the State.

I-280 near Cupertino to US 101 near Mountain View

In August 2011, the CTC approved $12,010,000 in SHOPP funding for repairs near Sunnyvale and Mountain View, from 0.3 mile north of Stevens Creek Boulevard Overcrossing to the Route 85/US 101 Separation (~ SCL R17.999 to SCL R23.763), that will rehabilitate 33.0 lane miles of roadway to improve the ride quality, prevent further deterioration of the traveling surface, minimize costly roadway repairs and extend the pavement service life.

Note that the termination of Route 85 is near Shoreline Blvd, but Moffet is the state legislative definition.

General Route 85

Route 85 HOT Lanes

85 HOT LanesIn November 2014, the VTA considered a plan to convert the existing high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Route 85 from US 101 in South San Jose to US 101 in Mountain View to allow single-occupancy vehicles to pay a fee during rush hour to join carpool, clean-air vehicles, motorcyclists and transit buses in the relatively faster lane. Route 85 currently has six lanes, including a carpool lane in each direction. If the project is approved and implemented, single-occupant vehicles would be able to begin using FasTrak, electronic technology that Bay Area motorists are already using on local toll bridges. Motorists would find overhead signs alerting drivers to the upcoming express lanes. Signs will also be erected telling drivers the price to enter the approaching lane. The express lanes' exit will be situated to give drivers adequate distance to change lanes prior to reaching the interchange. A double white line would be painted alongside the express lane to prevent drivers from moving in and out of the lane and to prevent weaving issues. The full cost of the project if it were to include the second-lane component is approximately $170 million. During the meeting, however, the VTA voted to temporarily suspend the project. Despite the recommendation of a VTA member of a single-lane conversion, the board approved a motion by San Jose District 10 director Johnny Khamis to postpone the project and direct staff to prepare a side-by-side comparison of the one lane versus two lanes plan and conduct additional community outreach.
(Source: San Jose Mercury News, 10/30/2014, 11/13/2014)

In May 2015, it was reported that Los Gatos was joining the suit over widening the freeway from Route 87 to I-280, using the median for double carpool lanes. The plan is to convert the diamond lane on the entire length of Route 85 into an express lane that solo drivers can jump into for a toll. Light rail runs in the median on Route 87 from Route 85 to downtown San Jose, and BART uses the median to run trains along the center of I- 580 and eventually Route 4, but those plans were hatched when those freeways were built. When Route 85 was designed, the median from Route 87 to I-280 was reserved for mass transit, according to agreements signed in 1989. That may be a pivotal issue in the lawsuit. It was also noted that intersections were originally planned for Prospect and Quito roads.
(Source: San Jose Mercury News, 5/19/2015)

In June 2015, it was reported that the Los Altos City Council on June 9 supported establishing a working group to explore options for the corridor (other than express lanes). According to the current plan, solo drivers with FasTrak accounts would be able to pay a toll and use the carpool lane on Route 85. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority project covers Route 85 from US 101 in Mountain View to south San Jose. Caltrans, the highway’s owner and operator, approved the project’s final environmental document and found no significant impact. But Cupertino, Saratoga and Los Gatos recently filed separate lawsuits against Caltrans and the VTA for “failing to prepare an adequate environmental impact report” for the proposed Route 85 project. Los Altos did not formally comment on the environmental document at that time. The VTA is in the midst of implementing its Silicon Valley Express Lanes Program, which includes the project on Route 85. The project converts approximately 27 miles of existing carpool lanes to express lanes, extending between US 101 in Mountain View and Bailey Avenue on US 101 in south San Jose. The project also adds a second express lane between Route 87 and I-280 in the median and converts the existing carpool direct-connector in south San Jose to an express-lane connector. If the project continues on schedule and with adequate funding, the VTA anticipates opening the express lanes late 2018.
(Source: Los Altos Online, 6/24/2015)

In June 2015, the CTC approved for future consideration of funding a project in Santa Clara County that will convert High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on Route 85 to express lanes and add an express lane in each direction. The project is not fully funded. The project is programmed for the Project Approval and Environmental Document phase in the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s Federal Transportation Improvement Program with local and federal funds. The estimated cost is $170,000,000 for capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2018-19. (map above is from CTC proposal)

In August 2015, it was reported that there will be eight northbound and nine southbound locations for the Route 85 express lanes. Northbound, they'll be at US 101 in South San Jose, Cottle Road, Almaden Expressway, Union Avenue, Winchester Boulevard, Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, Homestead Road and Middlefield Road. The nine southbound access areas will be at US 101 in Mountain View, El Camino Real, Stevens Creek Boulevard, Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, Quito Road, Union Avenue, Camden Avenue, Blossom Hill Road and Metcalf Road.
(Source: SJ Mercury News, 8/25/2015)

In June 2016, it was reported that a plan to construct toll lanes in the median of Route 85 median could be abandoned, after city leaders made clear that the undeveloped strip of land dividing the congested highway ought to be reserved for transit rather than solo drivers. In June 2016, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) board of directors agreed to put a half-cent sales tax measure on the November ballot. If passed, the tax would generate $6.5 billion over 30 years, and would help to pay for myriad transportation projects throughout the region. The resolution to put the measure on the ballot, which was approved on June 2, includes carving out $350 million in tax revenue to go toward improving traffic flow along Route 85, one of the county's most congested highways. However, the resolution explicitly calls for a transit lane, as contrasted to a HOT lane. A project development schedule for improvements on Route 85 show that the next two years will be primarily dominated by a lengthy environmental clearance of the transit lane project. Construction is expected to begin by the summer of 2020.
(Source: Mountain View Voice, 6/30/2016)

In November 2016, it was reported that the idea of extending light rail along Route 85 may gain steam instead of adding a second carpool lane between Route 87 and I-280. The 2016 Measure B sales tax would earmark $350 million for the Route 85 corridor and a trolley line on Route 85 could go as far north as US 101 in Mountain View.
(Source: Mercury News, 11/3/2016)

Express Lane PhasingThe 2018 STIP, approved at the CTC March 2018 meeting, also appears to create a number of PPNOs for this project. On Route 85, there is PPNO 2015F Route 85 Silicon Valley Express Lns Program-Ph4-Civil; and 2015G Route 85 Silicon Valley Express Lns Program-Ph4-ETS. According to the VTA page on the program, the Route 85 portion will convert approximately 24 miles of existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV or carpool) lanes to express lanes and will add a second express lane between Route 87 and I-280 in the median. The project will also convert the existing HOV direct connector in south San Jose from US 101 to Route 85 to an express lane connector. Based on the map from VTA (see above), Phase 4 runs from the start of the route at US 101 to Route 87 (~ SCL 0.0 to SCL 5.193); it also appears to include the portion on US 101 from 101 SCL R25.292 to SCL R26.873.

In May 2019, the CTC approved the following allocation for a locally administered STIP project: $600,000 04-SCL-85 R0.0/R5.2. Route 85 Silicon Valley Express Lanes Program - Phase 4 - Civil. Convert existing carpool lanes to express lanes on Route 85 from US 101 south (in San Jose) to Route 87, including the existing US 101/Route 85 HOV to HOV direct connector ramps and the approaches to and from US 101. R/W funding. PPNO 04-2015F. ProjID 0417000232. The CTC also approved the following allocation: $8,600,000 04-SCL-85 0.0/5.2. Route 85 Silicon Valley Express Lanes Program - Phase 4 ETS. Develop and install Electronic Tolling System (ETS) on Route 85 from US 101 south (in San Jose) to Route 87, including the existing US 101/Route 85 HOV to HOV direct connector ramps and the approaches to/from US 101. PS&E funding. PPNO 04-2015G. ProjID 0417000232.
(Source: May 2019 CTC Minutes, Agenda Item 2.5c.(2) Item 1; Agenda Item 2.5c.(5))

In December 2019, the CTC had the following allocation on its agenda: 04-SCl-101 38.3/45.9. PPNO 2015J Proj ID 0417000233 EA 1K553. US 101 Silicon Valley Express Lanes Program - Phase 5 ETS. On US 101 from near Route 237 in Sunnyvale to I-880 in San Jose. Develop and install Electronic Tolling System (ETS) infrastructure. PS&E $10,188,000.
(Source: December 2019 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5c.(1) #1)

The 2020 STIP, approved by the CTC in March 2020, contained the following programming related to this:
(Source: March 2020 CTC Agenda, Item 4.7, 2020 STIP Adopted 3/25/2020)

PPNO Project Prior 20-21 21-22 22-23 23-24 24-25
2015E Rt 101/85 Silicon Valley Express Lns Program-Ph3 (SCCP) 14,268K 0 0 0 0
2015F Rt 85 Silicon Valley Express Lns Program-Ph4-Civil 600K 0 0 0 0 0
2015F Rt 85 Silicon Valley Express Lns Program-Ph4-Civil 2,300K 0 0 0 0 0
2015G Rt 85 Silicon Valley Express Lns Program-Ph4-ETS 8,600K 0 0 0 0 0
2015H Rt101 Silicon Valley Express Lns Program-Ph5-Civil (APDE) 10,589K 0 0 0 0 0
2015H Rt101 Silicon Valley Express Lns Program-Ph5-Civil 0 4,754K 0 3,207K 0 0
2015J Rt 101 Silicon Valley Express Lns Program-Ph5-ETS 10,188K 0 0 0 0 0

In April 2018, it was reported that any fixes to Route 85 have been stalled by a funding gap that the parties haven’t been able — or willing — to fill. City officials want the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to do it. The agency says it can’t, because public transit funds generated by the Measure B sales tax increase have been tied up by a lawsuit. Suggestions that the tech giants relying on the freeway could help fund the study have, so far, produced no concrete results. The study is supposed to examine traffic patterns on Route 85 and explore options that may help reduce congestion. The study’s $400,000 first phase, which included tracking tech company shuttle buses on the road, was paid for by Measure A, a sales tax increase that Santa Clara County voters approved in 2000. Now, $1.2 million is needed for the study to continue. Meanwhile, traffic on Route 85 has worsened, with the average annual number of cars increasing 6 percent from 2011 to 2016, according to Caltrans data. If no other funding sources are found, the study will be halted until Measure B litigation is resolved. Smaller cities pushed their constituents to vote for Measure B in part because money would go toward the Route 85 study. While the San Jose BART extension also does not have access to Measure B funds because of the lawsuit, that project can continue because it has Measure A funding, as well as money from the state and federal government. Without a formal study, Cupertino will not be able to charge real estate developers building projects near the freeway traffic impact fees that could help pay for improvements to the road.
(Source: SF Chronicle, 4/14/2018)

In August 2018, it was reported that a crucial study examining worsening traffic on Route 85, the vital Silicon Valley artery that links Cupertino and Mountain View, is expected to resume after months of inactivity. The study, overseen by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, was halted in February after money slated to fund it was tied up in litigation. Now, a $1.2 million loan from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a Bay Area transportation agency, will allow the study to enter into its next phase, according to Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. The study could provide data that will help officials determine solutions for the region’s traffic woes. Money for the study was approved by Santa Clara County voters in 2016 under Measure B, but that funding became inaccessible due to a lawsuit. In February, members of the study’s policy advisory board asked the Valley Transportation Authority to seek out another funding source, but an authority official said at the time that staff members have “looked under the couch cushions,” and “we’re just reaching a point where we don’t have additional funds for this project.” Under the agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Valley Transportation Authority will repay the commission for the loan if it wins the lawsuit, according to the authority. If Measure B is repealed, the authority does not have to repay the commission for the loan.
(Source: SF Chronicle, 8/6/2018)

Naming Naming

This entire route is officially named the "West Valley Freeway". It was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 57, Chapter 73, in 1996.

Norman Y. MinetaThis entire route, except the segment between Quito Road and Prospect Road (~ SCL R12.846 to SCL R15.241), in Santa Clara County is named the "Norman Y. Mineta Highway". It was named in honor of Norman Y. Mineta. Born in 1931, in San Jose, California, Mr. Mineta and his family were among the 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry detained in internment camps during WWII. In 1953, Mr. Mineta graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Business Administration. He then joined the United States Army and served as an intelligence officer in Korea and Japan. From 1967 to 1971, Mr. Mineta served as a member of the San Jose City Council and from 1971 to 1974, he served as Mayor of San Jose, thereby becoming the first Asian-American mayor of a major United States city. From 1975 to 1995, Mr. Mineta represented the Silicon Valley area as a Member of the United States House of Representatives, where his legislative and policy agenda was wide and varied, including major projects in the areas of economic development, science and technology policy, trade, transportation, the environment, intelligence, the budget, and civil rights. As a Member of Congress, Mr. Mineta cofounded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and served as its first chair; he also chaired the House Public Works and Transportation Committee from 1992 to 1994, chaired that committee's aviation subcommittee from 1981 to 1988, and chaired its Surface Transportation Subcommittee from 1989 to 1991. He was also a key author of the landmark Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, which shifted decisions concerning highway and mass transit planning to state and local governments and led to major upsurges in mass transit ridership and more environmentally friendly transportation projects. Mr. Mineta was also the driving force behind the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which officially apologized for and redressed the injustices endured by Japanese Americans during World War II. After leaving Congress, Mr. Mineta chaired the National Civil Aviation Review Commission, which in 1997 issued recommendations on reducing traffic congestion and the aviation accident rate, many of which were adopted by the Clinton administration. In 2000, President Clinton appointed Mr. Mineta United States Secretary of Commerce, making Mr. Mineta the first Asian American to hold a post in the Presidential Cabinet. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Mineta United States Secretary of Transportation, making Mr. Mineta the only Democrat to serve in George W. Bush's Cabinet and the first Cabinet member to switch directly from a Democratic to a Republican Cabinet. During Mr. Mineta's first four years as Secretary of Transportation, the United States saw the lowest vehicle fatality rate ever recorded, the highest safety belt usage rate ever recorded, and the lowest rail fatality level ever recorded. As Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Mineta oversaw the safest three-year period in aviation history and was instrumental in persuading every state in the country to set a maximum blood alcohol content level for automobile drivers at 0.08 percent, a level that has proved to be effective in preventing automobile crashes and improving automobile safety. Mr. Mineta also oversaw the United States Coast Guard's response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, including expanding the number and mission of Coast Guard Port Security Units and developing the Sea Marshal Program and Maritime Safety and Security Teams. Mr. Mineta also guided the creation of the Transportation Security Administration, an agency of more than 60,000 employees charged with protecting Americans as they travel across the United States. On June 23, 2006, Mr. Mineta announced his resignation as United States Secretary of Transportation, effective July 7, 2006, making him the longest-serving Secretary of Transportation in the history of the Department of Transportation. Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 25, Resolution Chapter 66, on 7/3/2007.
(Image source: Wikipedia)

“Michael (Mike) Jason KathermanThe portion of Route 85 from PM SCL 5.222 to PM SCL 6.136 in the County of Santa Clara is named the “Michael “Mike” Jason Katherman Memorial Highway”. It was named in memory of Michael “Mike” Jason Katherman of the San Jose Police Department, who was born in San Jose. Mike was raised in the City of San Jose, California, where he attended Valley Christian High School, graduating in 2000; Mike continued his education and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Simpson College in the City Of Redding. It was during college that Mike felt the calling to follow through on his dream of becoming a police officer. Mike got a job as a loss-prevention officer while he applied to the San Jose Police Department, where in July 2005, he was sworn into the force where he eventually became a motorcycle officer as part of the department’s traffic enforcement unit. Mike was a director on the Police Chaplaincy Board and the Vice President of the Keith Kelley Club, an internal organization that provides support for officers and their families who endure hard times. As a patrol officer, Mike stood out, earning the department’s Outstanding Police Duty Award in 2009. On June 14, 2016, Mike was on patrol in the City of San Jose when he was struck by another vehicle. Witnesses attempted to assist Mike, but he succumbed to his injuries. Named by Assembly Resolution ACR 173, Res. Chapter 160, 08/30/22.
(Image source: ABC 7)

CHP Officer Scott M. Greenly Memorial FreewayThe portion between Quito Road and Prospect Road in the City of Saratoga (~ SCL R12.846 to SCL R15.241) is named the "CHP Officer Scott M. Greenly Memorial Freeway". It was named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 172, Chapter 140 in 1998. California Highway Patrol Officer Scott M. Greenly, 31, was killed in the line of duty on January 7, 1998. Officer Greenly was killed while making a routine traffic stop before the Saratoga Avenue exit to Route 85 when an out-of-control driver slammed into him as he petted the dog of the woman he had pulled over. Officer Greenly's death prompted the state to pass the "move over'' statute, requiring drivers to move into another lane (if it can be done safely) when they spot an emergency vehicle on the side of the road.
(Image source: Waymarking, Calif. Highway Patrol Memorial)

This route is named the "Stevens Creek Freeway" from Route 280 to Route 101 in Mountain View (~ SCL R18.487 to SCL R23.763). It was named after Stevens Creek, which in turn was named after Captain Elisha Stephens, the first man to lead a wagon train across the Sierras in 1844. All 50 of the pioneers survived the trip, as well as two infants born during the journey. In 1848, Stephens settled east of the creek that bears his name. The 160-acre homestead, called Blackberry Farm, still exists today by Stevens Creek Boulevard in Monta Vista. Widely regarded as an eccentric, Stephens befriended two inventors who cluttered his yard with perpetual motion machines and steam-driven plows. Neighbors politely declined his invitations to dinner because the main course was usually rattlesnake. Stephens claimed, "You don't know what's good! Rattlesnakes beat frogs all to pieces." Popular legend credited Stephens with capturing and eating most of the rattlesnakes around Stevens Creek. Stephens moved to Kern County, near Bakersfield, where he died in 1887.
(Source: Mountain View Voice)

Named Structures Named Structures

The intersection of Route 85 and US 101 (~ SCL R23.763) in San Jose is named the Michael Evanhoe Interchange. It was named in honor of Michael Evanhoe, who served between 1995 and 2004 as the chief development officer responsible for the planning, programming, project development, marketing, and congestion management functions for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in the County of Santa Clara. In that position, Mr. Evanhoe managed the $700 million VTA highway program, and was responsible for long-range transportation planning and programming for VTA, working to address and set the VTA's priorities for discretionary state and federal transportation funds. Mr. Evanhoe worked in the field of transportation since 1965, initially with the Caltrans in its Sacramento, Marysville, and San Francisco offices from 1965 to 1974, and later serving as Assistant Secretary for Transportation in the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1975 to 1978 and Executive Director of the California Transportation Commission from 1978 to 1984. He joined the Sunset Development Company in San Ramon in 1984 and served as Vice President of Operations until 1988, was later appointed as Executive Director of the Golden Triangle Task Force in Santa Clara County from 1988 to 1990, and was subsequently appointed as the Executive Director of the Congestion Management Agency of Santa Clara County in 1990, serving in the latter position until the agency merged with the Santa Clara County Transit District in 1994 to form the VTA. Over the years, Mr. Evanhoe has gained the respect and admiration of elected officials, staff, and business leaders by getting the job done, maintaining a positive work environment, taking on new challenges, and working collaboratively with others. He had substantial responsibilities for construction of the Route 85/US 101 interchange and the widening of US 101. Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 152, chaptered September 1, 2004. Resolution Chapter 175.

Memorials Memorials

Alma Ribbs, Just past Saratoga Ave (~SCL R13.698). This sign was placed by her husband, Richard Wyckoff. The sign includes the names of Alma and the children. Alma Ribbs was seven months' pregnant when she and the twin babies she was carrying (Nina and Robert) were killed by a drunken driver on Route 85 in 1996.

Commuter Lanes Commuter Lanes

Commuter lanes exist along the entire freeway. The portion between Route 280 and Route 237 was opened in February 1990 (NB) and April 1990 (SB). The portion between US 101 and Route 82 was opened in August 1994; the remainder (Route 82 to Route 280) was opened in October 1994. The lanes from Route 237 to US 101 in Mountain View opened in 1998. They all require two or more occupants, and are in operation weekdays between 5:00 AM and 9:00 AM, and between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM.

HOV lanes also exist in Mountain View between Dana Street and Route 101.

With respect to usage: A 2001 Caltrans survey showed that 6,814 vehicles rode in the carpool lane between Almaden Expressway and I-280, up from 4,837 in 1996.

Classified Landcaped Freeway Classified Landcaped Freeway

The following segments are designated as Classified Landscaped Freeway:

County Route Starting PM Ending PM
Santa Clara 85 0.00 1.45
Santa Clara 85 1.74 2.42
Santa Clara 85 2.80 3.08
Santa Clara 85 3.21 3.48
Santa Clara 85 3.55 5.41
Santa Clara 85 5.88 R10.81
Santa Clara 85 R10.86 R15.57
Santa Clara 85 15.70 R23.87

Freeway Freeway

[SHC 253.1] Entire route. Added to the Freeway and Expressway system in 1959.

Exit Information Exit Information

Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

National Trails National Trails

De Anza Auto Route This route is part of the De Anza National Historic Trail.

Statistics Statistics

Overall statistics for Route 85:

Pre-1964 Legislative Route Pre-1964 Legislative Route

In 1933, the route that would beomce LRN 85 was defined as the route from "[LRN 1] to [LRN 20] N of Mad River". In 1935, it was codified into the highway code as:

[LRN 1] to [LRN 20], staying north of the Mad River

This definition remained unchanged until 1963. This route is present-day unsigned Route 200.

Acronyms and Explanations:

Back Arrow Route 84 Forward Arrow Route 86

© 1996-2020 Daniel P. Faigin.
Maintained by: Daniel P. Faigin <>.