California Highways

California Highways

The History of Sacramento Freeway Development

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This page attempts to give a brief summary of the development of the freeway system in the Sacramento area. However, for the real, good details, from someone who knows their stuff, you should visit Joel Windmiller's Highwayman Routes. Joel focues on Central California Highways, and provides the Highway History of several Central California routes.Another good page is Sacramento's Unbuilt Freeways, at Spectracity.

[Thumbnail of Sacramento Planning Map]
(click on image for the full-size map. Full-size image size: 28K)
[Thumbnail of 1963 Sacto Hwy Map]
(click on image for the full-size map. Full-size image size: 104K)
Figure 1. 1950s Planning Map for the Freeway System in Sacramento Figure 2. Sacramento Area Excerpt from 1963 State Highway Map

Figure 1 shows a rough planning map for the Sacramento area from the 1950s (I don't have the exact date). The numbers on the map were provided by Joel Windmiller. Figure 2 shows the 1963 State Highway map for Sacramento. Comparing and contrasting these maps, one notices the following:

The planning map shows some additional routes that were not on the 1963 map, either due to the area covered by the map, or for other reasons:

Constrast the planning maps with the map in Figure 3, which is the 1994 State Highway inset map for Sacramento:

[1994 Sacramento Inset]
(click on image for the full-size map. Full-size image size: 74K)
Figure 3. 1994 State Highway Map Inset for Sacramento

This map shows that Route 102, Route 143, Route 148, and Route 65 are undetermined, and unlikely to be built. It shows a new Route 256, which wasn't defined in 1963. Other routes exist (such as Route 84 or Route 275), but are unsigned. Contrasting this with a 2000 map (alas, no longer available), one can see a significant change in Route 102. There was a planned realignment from the Auburn-Folsom-Rio Linda-Elkhorn routing of Route 102 (which would've crossed I-80 twice and parallelled Folsom Lake and Elkhorn Boulevard/Greenback Lane) in 1994 as contrasted to the mid-1990s plan of a direct route from Auburn to Elkhorn/Natomas crossing through undeveloped areas in Sacramento and Placer County.

Another good page is Sacramento's Unbuilt Freeways, at Indyroads.

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© 1996-2012 Daniel P. Faigin.
Maintained by: Daniel P. Faigin <>.