Interstate 205 (California)

Interstate 205 marker

Interstate 205
Robert T. Monagan Freeway
Route information
Defined by S&HC § 505
Maintained by Caltrans
Length: 12.973 mi[1] (20.878 km)
Existed: Dec 1970 – present
History: State highway in 1910
Major junctions
West end: I-580 near Tracy
East end: I-5 near Manteca
Highway system

Auxiliary route of the Interstate Highway System
Main • Auxiliary • Business

State highways in California(list • pre-1964)
History • Unconstructed • Deleted • Freeway • Scenic

SR 204 SR 207

Interstate 205 (abbreviated I-205) is a short Interstate Highway that connects Interstate 5 with Interstate 580 in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Along with those highways, I-205 forms the north side of a triangle around the city of Tracy. The route provides access from the San Francisco Bay Area to the northern San Joaquin Valley.

When I-205 opened in December 1970, it replaced 11th Street, which passed through downtown Tracy, as part of the primary all-land connection between the Bay Area and Sacramento until the Carquinez Bridge opened in 1927, and carried the Lincoln Highway and later U.S. Route 50. 11th Street is now signed as Interstate 205 Business.


Route description

Interstate 205 begins at the bottom of I-580's eight-lane descent from Altamont Pass into the San Joaquin Valley. Here I-580 turns southeast to a junction with I-5, paralleling the California Aqueduct and Delta-Mendota Canal along the foothills, while I-205 continues east as a six-lane roadway, immediately crossing both waterways. The first interchange is with Mountain House Parkway, formerly Patterson Pass Road, which serves the planned community of Mountain House. Next is a split with Business 205, a business loop that follows 11th Street through Tracy. As I-205 curves east-northeast and back east through the northern part of Tracy, it has interchanges with Grant Line Road (County Route J4 towards Antioch), Tracy Boulevard (County Route J13 through downtown Tracy), and MacArthur Drive. After several miles without an interchange, the highway ends at a merge with I-5, where traffic can continue northeast to the junction with SR 120 near Manteca and then east on SR 120 towards Yosemite National Park or north on I-5 towards Stockton.[2]

As it connects to I-580, I-205 is a frequently-congested major commuter route to the Bay Area.[3] Signs on eastbound I-580 instruct travelers to take I-205, SR 120, and SR 99 to reach Modesto instead of using the direct, but non-freeway, route Highway 132. I-205 also serves to connect the Bay Area with popular weekend destinations such as Yosemite, Reno, and Lake Tahoe.[4] The Altamont Commuter Express provides commuters with an alternate route over Altamont Pass to San Jose and San Francisco, the latter though a transfer to BART.


When the Department of Engineering laid out the initial state highway system after the state's voters approved a bond issue to pay for it in 1910, they included Route 5, connecting Santa Cruz and Oakland with Stockton via Altamont Pass.[5] San Joaquin County paved the portion near Tracy with asphalt with their own bond issue, passed in 1909, and the state later resurfaced it with concrete.[6] In addition, the new concrete road bypassed Banta, which the old county road had passed through via Banta Road, F Street, and Grant Line Road. Otherwise, the road was relatively direct, coming down from Altamont Pass onto Grant Line Road, following Byron Highway into Tracy, and leaving east and northeasterly on 11th Street to the San Joaquin River at the Mossdale Crossing.[7][8][9] The Lincoln Highway Association chose this route in 1913 for their transcontinental highway,[10] where it remained until the Carquinez Bridge opened in 1927, creating a shorter route via Vallejo.[11] In 1926, the American Association of State Highway Officials designated the Stockton-Bay Area route as U.S. Route 48,[12] which was absorbed by an extension of US 50 by the early 1930s.[13][14]

A 1938 four-lane bypass of the old road around Altamont Pass[15][16] was extended east to Tracy as a four-lane expressway on November 16, 1954.[17][18] By then the entire route between the Bay Area and Stockton was four or more lanes, following the present I-580 (eastbound lanes where they separate[2]), I-205, 11th Street, and I-5 from Livermore through Tracy to Stockton.[19] During early planning for the Interstate Highway System, the main north–south route through California (now I-5) was to use SR 99 through the San Joaquin Valley; a connection to the Bay Area split near Modesto and roughly followed US 50.[20] The Bureau of Public Roads approved a move to the proposed Westside Freeway in May 1957, and in November they added a North Tracy Bypass that would connect I-5 and I-580.[21] Construction began in the late 1960s,[22][23] incorporating part of the 1954 expressway and a new alignment bypassing Tracy to the north, and the $14 million road opened to traffic on December 21, 1970.[24] (A short piece at the west end, including the bridge over the California Aqueduct, was upgraded several years earlier when I-580 and I-5 to the south were built.[25])

Since 1970, I-205 has seen few changes. The largest have been widening from four to six lanes west of Business 205 in 1999,[26] and converting two diamond interchanges to partial cloverleafs — Grant Line Road in about 1997[25] and Mountain House Parkway in 2007 (including ramp meters).[27][28] As of Summer 2009, I-205 has been widened to six lanes (three in each direction) for its entire route. Also,The 1970s concrete pavement has been resurfaced with fresh asphalt from the junction of I-5 to due east of the 11th street connector ramp.


Caltrans has plans to improve merging distances by constructing auxiliary lanes between the interchanges, and to add new interchanges at Lammers Road and Paradise Road.[29][30]

Tracy business loop

Interstate 205 Business
Location: Tracy, California

Interstate 205 Business is a locally maintained business route in the U.S. state of California. It locally follows 11th Street, the historic four-lane alignment of U.S. Route 50, through Tracy. The route begins at a split with I-205 west of the city. After passing through downtown Tracy, it curves northeast at a junction with former SR 33, which has been truncated to the south at I-5. The final stretch of Interstate 205 Business runs diagonally to a merge with I-5, which comes from the south and continues northeast along the former US 50 alignment. The east end of Interstate 205 Business is about 3/4 mile (1 km) southwest of the end of I-205; normally Interstate 205 Business would return to I-205 at both ends, but here I-205 and Interstate 205 Business both end at I-5.[2]

Exit list

Note: Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured in 1964, based on the alignment as it existed at that time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.
County Location Postmile
Destinations Notes
ALA 0.21-0.45
0.21 I-580 west (Arthur H. Breed Jr. Freeway) – San Francisco Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
San Joaquin
SJ L0.00-R13.40
1.38 2 Mountain House Parkway
R3.37 4 Eleventh Street (I-205 Bus. east) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; former US 50 east
Tracy R5.29 6 Grant Line Road (CR J4), Naglee Road
R7.01 8 Tracy Boulevard (CR J13)
R8.13 9 MacArthur Drive
R13.40 I-5 north – Stockton Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
     Concurrency terminus     Closed/Former     Incomplete access     Unopened


  1. ^ a b California Department of Transportation, State Truck Route List (XLS file), accessed February 2008
  2. ^ a b c Google Maps street maps and USGS topographic maps, accessed February 2008 via ACME Mapper
  3. ^ Oakland Tribune, Creative solution OKd to unlock I-205 gridlock, September 30, 2005
  4. ^ Les Mahler, Oakland Tribune, Commuters to get break with I-205's expansion, August 1, 2005
  5. ^ Howe & Peters, Engineers' Report to California State Automobile Association Covering the Work of the California Highway Commission for the Period 1911-1920, pp. 11-16
  6. ^ Ben Blow, California Highways: A Descriptive Record of Road Development by the State and by Such Counties as Have Paved Highways, 1920 ( or Google Books), pp. 104-105
  7. ^ Automobile Club of Southern California, Automobile Road Map of California, 1917: shows the route via Banta
  8. ^ Official Automobile Blue Book, Volume Eight, 1918, pp. 75-77: describes the route via Banta
  9. ^ Rand McNally & Company, San Francisco and Vicinity, 1926: shows the more direct bypass of Banta
  10. ^ New York Times, Lincoln Highway Route Announced, September 14, 1913, p. C6
  11. ^ Kevin J. Patrick and Robert E. Wilson, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln Highway Resource Guide: Lincoln Highway in California, August 2002
  12. ^ Bureau of Public Roads, United States System of Highways, November 11, 1926
  13. ^ Rand McNally & Company, California, 1933
  14. ^ Division of Highways, Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1934
  15. ^ Fresno Bee, New Altamont Pass Route Will Open Tomorrow, August 3, 1938
  16. ^ United States Geological Survey, San Jose (scale 1:250000), 1947
  17. ^ Daily Review (Hayward), New Highway 50 to Tracy Will Open Tomorrow, November 15, 1954
  18. ^ California Department of Transportation, Index to California Highways and Public Works, 1937-1967, June 1997, p. 73
  19. ^ H.M. Gousha Company, California, 1955
  20. ^ Public Roads Administration, National System of Interstate Highways, August 2, 1947
  21. ^ California Department of Transportation, State Highway Routes: Selected Information, 1994 with 1995 revisions, pp. 16, 234
  22. ^ Modesto Bee and News-Herald, San Joaquin's Multimillion Road Jobs Zip Along Toward Finish, June 27, 1967
  23. ^ Modesto Bee and News-Herald, Highway Delay Could Hit $38 Million in SJ Work, September 19, 1969
  24. ^ Modesto Bee and News-Herald, $14 Million North Tracy Bypass Will Open for Traffic Tomorrow, December 20, 1970
  25. ^ a b c California Department of Transportation, Log of Bridges on State Highways, July 2007
  26. ^ California Department of Transportation, Interstate 205 Widening from I-5 to 11th Street in Tracy, accessed February 2008
  27. ^ Stockton Record, Mountain House Parkway work, January 27, 2007
  28. ^ David Siders, Stockton Record, S.J. carpool plan talks surface, October 17, 2007
  29. ^ Cheryl Winkelman, Oakland Tribune, Cure for I-580, I-205 in the works, November 26, 2007
  30. ^ Mike Martinez, Tri-Valley Herald, Cranes won't halt work, February 27, 2007
  31. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
  32. ^ California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, I-205 Eastbound and I-205 Westbound, accessed February 2008

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