California 24

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California 24

California 24 is a major freeway that connects Oakland with Walnut Creek with a connection via the Caldecott Tunnel. This view looks northeast along California 24 as seen from the Interstate 580 transition ramp. Note the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) line that runs down the median of California 24 for much of its length. Photo taken 07/02/13.

Routing

California 24 is the Grove Shafter Freeway and the William B. Rumford Freeway, linking Interstate 880 and Interstate 980 in Oakland with Interstate 680 in Walnut Creek. Using a tunnel to pass under Grizzly Peak, California 24 is a major artery that connects Oakland and Berkeley with the East Bay communities of Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Alamo, and Orinda. The freeway is at least eight lanes wide for the entire length with the except of the Caldecott Tunnels (for now).

Future Aspirations: Caldecott Tunnel

Currently, the Caldecott Tunnel has six lanes (three bores with two lanes each), but the eastern and western approaches both have eight lanes. As a result, one direction will use one bore and the other direction uses two bores. To accommodate rush hour, the middle bore shifts directions to allow the most traffic flow. Tunnel conditions are announced on advance signs leading up to the entrance so motorists know which bores are open in their direction. There are only three bores in the Caldecott Tunnel currently, but a fourth bore is under construction with a scheduled completion of 2014. Once completed, there would be four through lanes in each direction. At that time, nighttime and morning shifts would no longer be required. Delays are frequent at the tunnels due to the lane constriction.

History

The following are the key opening dates of the California 24 freeway:

  • Interstate 580/980 to Macarthur Boulevard July 23, 1969
  • Macarthur Boulevard to Golden Gate Avenue December 15, 1969
  • Golden Gate Avenue California 13 May, 15, 1970
  • California 13 to West Portal Service Road December 2, 1965
  • West Portal Service Road to East Portal Service Road July 9, 1964
  • East Portal Service Road to Wilder Road (formerly Gateway Boulevard) October 19, 1964
  • Wilder Road (formerly Gateway Boulevard) to Acalanes Road December 16, 1969 (Originally built Circa 1959)
  • Acalanes Road to Interstate 680 November 12, 1970 (Originally built Circa 1957)

The Caldecott Tunnel was built in stages over more than 80 years. Construction of what was originally known as the "Broadway Low Level Tunnel" began in 1929. This tunnel project became the first two bores of the Caldecott Tunnel. The eastbound bores (which are the two southernmost bores) opened to traffic in 1937 at a length of 3,610 feet. The northern bore (for the left two lanes of westbound California 24) opened to traffic in 1964 at a length of 3,771 feet. The final bore for the right two lanes of westbound California 24 is scheduled for completion in 2014. The four bores are collectively named the Caldecott Tunnel, which is named in honor of Thomas E. Caldecott, who died in 1951. Mr. Caldecott served a variety of leadership roles around the area, including mayor of Berkeley, member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, and president of Joint Highway District 13. This highway district was responsible to construct the first two bores (which will be the eastbound bores after the fourth bore is complete). Maintenance of the tunnels now rests with the state highway department, Caltrans.

Highway Guide

California 24/Rumford Freeway east
View of California 24 east as seen from the transition ramp from eastbound Interstate 580 to eastbound California 24. Photo taken 07/02/13.
Upon exiting eastbound Interstate 580, the first exit for eastbound California 24 appears even before it merges with traffic from eastbound Interstate 980 from downtown Oakland. That exit is Exit 2, Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and 51st Street. The exit numbering continues the same numbering as Interstate 980, hence why the first exit along eastbound California 24 is Exit 2 and not Exit 1. Photo taken 03/19/06.
Eastbound California 24/Rumford Freeway reaches Exit 2, Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and 51st Street in Oakland. Notice the additional lanes coming in from Interstate 980 (left). Photo taken 03/19/06.
As for mainline Interstate 980, it transforms into California 24 as it approaches the on-ramp in the previous photo. Note the sign bridge and ramp to the right of the mainline. To the left is the first Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station to be found in the median of California 24. The balance of California 24 will follow the BART all the way to Walnut Creek. Photo taken 07/05/04.
Here is another view of the exit from the transition ramp from Interstate 580 onto eastbound California 24; the signs are the same as those presented in the photo two boxes above. Photo taken 07/05/04.

California 24 is designated as the William Byron Rumford Freeway, named in honor of the first African-American to be elected to office in Northern California. Mr. Rumford lived from 1908 to 1986, and he became representative of the 17th state assembly district in January 1949. Together with Interstate 980, the section of California 24 freeway from Oakland to the Caldecott Tunnel is also known as the Grove Shafter Freeway. Photo taken 04/06/09.
This is the first reassurance shield for eastbound California 24. Photo taken 04/06/09.
This mileage sign is located along eastbound California 24; it provides the distance to Exit 3, Claremont Avenue and Exit 4, Broadway/Junction California 13/Warren Freeway. A BART train is visible in the median of the freeway on its elevated tracks. Photos taken 07/05/04 and 04/06/09.
Use Claremont Avenue northeast to reach Berkeley; a left turn at College Avenue leads to the University of California at Berkeley. Photo taken 07/05/04.
Eastbound California 24 at Exit 3, Claremont Avenue. The next exit is Exit 4, Broadway, one mile. California 24 is still within the city of Oakland, and it will not leave until reaching the midpoint of the Caldecott Tunnel under Grizzly Peak (which is also the county line between Alameda County and Contra Costa County). Photo taken 04/06/09.
The next exits along eastbound are Exit 4, Broadway to Junction California 13/Ashby Avenue north and Exit 5, Junction California 13/Warren Freeway south. The first California 13 exit is for northbound, followed by the exit for southbound. Northbound California 13 is Ashby Avenue, which runs east-west through Berkeley; southbound California 13/Warren Freeway is a four-lane freeway that connects California 24 with Interstate 580/MacArthur Freeway. Photo taken 04/06/09.
An exit number sign for Exit 4 is posted shortly thereafter. Photo taken 07/02/13.
The Caldecott Tunnel will punch through the Oakland Hills (Grizzly Peak) and connect with Contra Costa County. Hazardous materials are not permitted in the tunnel except during designated hours. Photo taken 07/02/13.
Broadway heads southwest from the Exit 4 interchange back toward downtown Oakland. Note another BART train in the median of the freeway on its elevated tracks. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Eastbound California 24 reaches Exit 4, Broadway, which provides a connection to Northbound California 13/Ashby Avenue (note that this connection is not signed). Broadway has in interesting path through Oakland. Originating at Jack London Square near the Interstate 880/980 interchange, Broadway starts northeast on a fairly straight course until it hits California 24. From this exit east to the Caldecott Tunnels, Broadway closely follows California 24, and it ends when it backtracks into Caldecott Lane and Tunnel Road. However, to complicate matters, just before Broadway intersects California 24, it spawns Broadway Terrace, a separate road that leads into the Oakland Hills. Photo taken 07/02/13.
This view looks at the offramp at Exit 4 and signage associated with California 13 north/south. Photo taken 07/02/13.
The next exit along eastbound California 24 is Exit 5, Junction California 13/Warren Freeway south, three-quarters of a mile. This is a direct transition ramp from California 24 east to California 13 south, unlike the connection to northbound California 13. Photo taken 07/02/13.
A California 24 east reassurance route marker is posted soon thereafter. Photo taken 07/02/13.
Eastbound California 24 approaches Exit 5, Junction Southbound California 13/Warren Freeway, next right. Note the control cities of Walnut Creek and Concord for California 24. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Eastbound California 24 reaches Exit 5, Junction Southbound California 13/Warren Freeway. As noted earlier, California 13 leads south to join Interstate 580 near Mills College. A four-lane freeway, it has a scenic median. Photos taken 04/06/09 and 07/05/04.
After the interchange with California 13, California 24 continues to climb up toward the Caldecott Tunnel. At the time this photo was taken (evening), both tubes of the tunnel were open to eastbound traffic. Photo taken 04/06/09 and 07/05/04.
Tunnel warning signage along eastbound California 24 indicates whether one or two bores of the tunnel are open to eastbound traffic and also advises certain vehicles to exit. This is the only sign along eastbound that specifies the Caldecott Tunnel by name, and it is not nearly as elaborate as many hazardous materials and warning signs placed at the approaches to similar tunnels throughout the East Coast. Photo taken 04/06/09 and 07/05/04.
A final tunnel warning sign is posted; at this point, when the middle bore is closed, traffic would be forced to merge right into the south bore. That was not the case when this picture was taken; both middle and south bores were traveling eastbound. Photo taken 04/06/09.
The next exit along California 24/Rumford Freeway east is Exit 6, Old Tunnel Road. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Eastbound California 24/Rumford Freeway reaches Exit 6, Old Tunnel Road. The next exit, Exit 7A/Fish Ranch Road, is located after the freeway passes through the tunnel, so Old Tunnel Road is the last exit in Alameda County. Photos taken 07/02/13 and 04/06/09.
The offramp to Old Tunnel Road is sharp and abrupt; be careful if exiting here. Photo taken 04/06/09.
And finally along eastbound California 24, the freeway approaches the entrance to the Caldecott Tunnel, which links Alameda County (Oakland) with Contra Costa County (Walnut Creek/Concord). On this day, both the middle and right bores were open to eastbound traffic. There are currently three bores that are two lanes wide; plans call for construction of a fourth bore that would allow for consistent traffic flow into two bores in each direction at all times. This expansion of the tunnel would allow for continuous eight lanes of California 24 for its entire length; the last picture in this series shows the under-construction fourth bore as of July 2013. Photos taken 04/06/09 and 07/02/13.
Eastbound California 24 enters the middle bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. The photos were taken from the perspective of the middle bore of the tunnel. The middle bore can be shifted to accommodate rush hour and heavy traffic volumes; generally, the middle bore runs westbound in the morning and eastbound in the evening. To reach Fish Ranch Road (Exit 7A), use the right (south) bore. Photos taken 04/06/09 and 07/05/04.
This image shows eastbound California 24 under the yellow lights of the middle bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. This tube is routinely changed from westbound (morning) to eastbound (evening) each day. Photos taken 04/06/09 and 07/05/04.
Now we follow the southern bore of Caldecott Tunnel along eastbound California 24. A plaque is located at the entrance to the southern bore but is impossible to read while traveling at freeway speeds. Photos taken 07/02/13 and 03/18/06.
This series of pictures shows the interior of the south bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. Photos taken 03/18/06 and 07/02/13.
Now exiting the tunnels, the first exit in Contra Costa County is for Fish Ranch Road (Exit 7A). This exit may only be accessed from the right (south) bore of the tunnel. This picture was taken from the middle bore of the Caldecott Tunnel, so a jersey curb barrier separates these lanes from the exit ramp. Photos taken 07/02/13, 04/06/09, and 03/18/06.
This mileage sign provides the distance to the next three exits along California 24 east: Exit 7B, Wilder Road (formerly Gateway Boulevard); Exit 9, Camino Pablo to Orinda and Moraga; and Exit 10, St. Stephens Drive and Hidden Valley Road. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Use Exit 7B to Shakespeare Festival Way. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Eastbound California 24/Rumford Freeway reaches Exit 7B, Wilder Road (formerly Gateway Boulevard). Photos taken 04/06/09 and 07/05/04.
This mileage sign is located along eastbound California 24 as it approaches Exit 9, Camino Pablo to Orinda and Moraga; Exit 10, St. Stephens Road; and Exit 11, Acalanes Road/Mount Diablo Boulevard. At this interchange, California 24 enters Orinda. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Use Exit 9 to Rheem and St. Mary's College. Photo taken 04/06/09.
This new exit number sign (erected in 2008) is unusual since it does not provide the street name and only shows the destination cities served by the interchange. This is not common, since most of the newer signs show the street name rather than a city's name. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Eastbound California 24 reaches Exit 9, Camino Pablo to Orinda and Moraga. The sign does not indicate the road names and instead indicates the two cities Exit 9 serves, Orinda and Moraga. This is one of the first reflective signs ever installed in the Bay Area. Moraga Way leads south from here through the town of Orinda before entering the town of Moraga. A large park and ride and BART station is located in the expanded median at this interchange. Many East Bay commuters park here and take the BART from here to Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco. Photos taken 04/06/09 and 07/05/04.
A Pacific Gas and Electric power tranmission line tower stands sentinel over the Exit 9 interchange. A BART station is located in the median of this interchange. Photo taken 04/06/09.
The next mileage sign shows Exit 10, St. Stephens Drive/Hidden Valley Road; Exit 11, Acalanes Road/Mount Diablo Boulevard; and Exit 12, Oak Hill Road. Photo taken 07/05/04.
Exit 10 serves both St. Stephens Drive and Hidden Valley Road. St. Stephens Drive heads north into Orinda, culminating at Las Vegas Road. Hidden Valley Road heads east as a frontage road, then connects to Acalanes Road near Exit 11. South of the interchange, St. Stephens Drive changes into Tahos Road and Wanda Lane into south Orinda. Photo taken 07/05/04.
Eastbound California 24 reaches Exit 10, St. Stephens Drive/Hidden Valley Road. This is the last Orinda exit; the freeway enters Lafayette next. Photo taken 08/16/03.
The signage for Exit 11, Acalanes Road/Mount Diablo Boulevard, three-quarters of a mile is mounted on the St. Stephens Drive overpass over California 24. Photo taken 08/16/03.
This mileage sign provides the distance to Exit 11, Acalanes Road/Mount Diablo Boulevard and Exit 12, Oak Hill Road. Photo taken 04/06/09.
These California 24 reassurance and scenic route shields are posted after the onramp from Exit 10. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Mount Diablo comes into view as California 24/Rumford Freeway rounds a corner. The next three exits all serve the quaint and beautiful city of Lafayette. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Use Exit 11 (Acalanes Road and Mount Diablo Boulevard) to Upper Happy Valley Road. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Eastbound California 24 meets Acalanes Road/Mount Diablo Boulevard at Exit 11, a modified partial cloverleaf interchange (it only lacks the direct connection from westbound to preclude it from being a full cloverleaf). California 24 crosses into Lafayette and leaves Orinda midway between Exits 10 and 11. Photo taken 04/06/09.
The next exit along eastbound California 24 is Exit 12, Oak Hill Road/Central Lafayette, one mile. Photo taken 07/05/04.
Use Exit 12/Oak Hill Road/Central Lafayette to reach a BART Station, which is located via Mount Diablo Boulevard west to Happy Valley Road north. This is the first station since the major park and ride in the median at Camino Pablo to Orinda and Moraga (which connects to San Pablo Dam Road and Moraga Way). Photo taken 07/05/04.
This mileage sign is located along eastbound California 24 as it approaches Exit 12, Oak Hill Road; Exit 14, Pleasant Hill Road, and Exit 15, Interstate 680. Photo taken 07/05/04.
Eastbound California 24 reaches Exit 12, Oak Hill Road. Oak Hill Road heads north to Deer Hill Road and south to Mount Diablo Boulevard and Moraga Road (to Lafayette Reservoir). Photo taken 07/05/04.
This mileage sign is located along eastbound California 24 approaching Exit 14, Pleasant Hill Road and Exit 15, Junction Interstate 680. The Bay Area Rapid Transit rail line splits off from California 24 at the Interstate 680 interchange to provide rapid transit access to downtown Walnut Creek. It then continues northeast to Concord. Photo taken 07/05/04.
Eastbound California 24 approaches Exit 14, Pleasant Hill Road (next right). Pleasant Hill Road heads north to Briones Regional Park and Taylor Boulevard. Use Pleasant Hill Road south to Olympic Boulevard. Photo taken 07/05/04.
Another cloverleaf interchange, eastbound California 24 reaches Exit 14, Pleasant Hill Road. This is the last exit in Lafayette. Photo taken 07/05/04.
Upon reaching its final interchange, California 24 splits into four separate ramps at Exits 15A-B. From left to right, they are: Northbound Interstate 680 (Exit 15B), Ygnacio Valley Road (downtown Walnut Creek, Exit 15B), Mount Diablo Boulevard (Exit 15A), and Southbound Interstate 680/South Main Street (Exit 15A). Traffic destined for Ygnacio Valley Road and Golden Gate University should use the lanes for northbound Interstate 680. It would be nice to assign Exits 15 A-B-C-D for these four ramps ideally to alleviate confusion. Photos taken 07/05/04 and 04/06/09.
This unique bridge allows the BART to cross under the overpass for Curtola Boulevard. California 24 departs Lafayette and enters the city of Walnut Creek. Photo taken 07/05/04.
The next set of signs does not address all four exit ramps and instead focuses on the ramps to northbound and southbound Interstate 680. Use the left three lanes to follow California 24 east to north Interstate 680 en route to Ygnacio Valley Road and Concord. The right two lanes head onto southbound Interstate 680. Photos taken 07/05/04 and 04/06/09.
Once on the ramp to Mount Diablo Boulevard and Southbound Interstate 680/South Main Street (Exit 15A), the left lane exits to Mount Diablo Boulevard, and the right lanes continue to transition onto Interstate 680 southbound. Photos taken 07/05/04 and 04/06/09.
The left exit to Mount Diablo Boulevard is marked as Exit 14. This probably should be marked as part of Exit 15A (since the whole ramp including the link to Interstate 680 south is technically Exit 15A). Exit 14 was the offramp to Pleasant Hill Road. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Two lanes make the transition from California 24 east to Interstate 680 south (Exit 15A). Photo taken 04/06/09.

California 24/Rumford Freeway west
California 24 begins in a major interchange with Interstate 680 in Walnut Creek. A two-lane flyover ramp carries traffic from northbound Interstate 680 to eastbound California 24. This photo shows the ramp as it passes under the connector from Interstate 680 south to California 24 west. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The first three exits on California 24 west are: Exit 14, Pleasant Hill Road/Mount Diablo Road; Exit 13, Central Lafayette/Moraga, and Exit 11, Acalanes Road/Upper Happy Valley Road. All three of these exits serve the city of Lafayette. There aren't any exits from westbound California 24 into Walnut Creek, and it is around this point where California 24 leaves the city of Walnut Creek and enters unincorporated Contra Costa County. Photo taken 08/05/05.
This is the first west California 24 reassurance shield. The freeway is a designated scenic route from Interstate 680 to the entrance to the Caldecott Tunnel as it wends through Lafayette and Orinda. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Between Walnut Creek and the Caldecott Tunnels, the center median serves as the right of way for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) rail line. Commuters use the BART regularly to travel from the East Bay communities of Concord and Walnut Creek west to Oakland and San Francisco. Parking is available at each BART stop, and that allows commuters to leave their cars in the East Bay, and travel via commuter rail to the city, where only limited parking can be found. Photo taken 08/05/05.
A unique bridge allows Curtola Parkway to cross over California 24 and the BART, and it offers a unique perspective to this scenic corridor. California 24 from Interstate 680 west to the tunnels is considered a scenic corridor especially due to the undeveloped mountains and pristine views afforded along the drive through Lafayette and Moraga. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Leaving Walnut Creek, California 24 enters Lafayette, a beautiful city with a quaint downtown area along nearby Mount Diablo Boulevard. The city of Lafayette was incorporated in 1968 and rests on 15 square miles. Per the 2000 Census, 23,908 people lived in Lafayette, which has its own BART station. Photo taken 04/06/09.
The right lane of California 24 west becomes exit only for Exit 14, Pleasant Hill Road/Mount Diablo Road, and the left four lanes continue west on California 24/Rumford Freeway. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Westbound California 24/Rumford Freeway reaches Exit 14, Pleasant Hill Road/Mount Diablo Road. This interchange is a modified cloverleaf, so merging and exiting traffic occurs on the collector-distributor lanes. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The next exit on California 24 west is Exit 13, Laurel Drive and Deer Hill Road to Oak Hill Road and Moraga Road south to Moraga. The right lane again becomes exit only, and the left four lanes continue west toward Orinda, Berkeley, and Oakland. Photo taken 08/05/05.
An upcoming exits sign on California 24 west provides the distance to the next three exits: Exit 13, Deer Hill Road to Central Lafayette/Moraga; Exit 11, Acalanes Road/Upper Happy Valley Road; and Exit 10, Saint Stevens Drive/Hidden Valley Road. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Use Exit 13 to Happy Valley Road northwest to the University of California Leuschner Observatory and Briones Regional Park. To the south, use Moraga Road to Rheem Valley and to Saint Mary's College of California. Both of these are located in the city of Moraga, which is served by California 24 but is not on the route of the freeway. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Westbound California 24/Rumford Freeway reaches Exit 13, Deer Hill Road to Moraga Road south, Happy Valley Road north, and Mount Diablo Road, which parallels California 24 on the south side of the freeway. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The next exit on California 24/Rumford Freeway west is Exit 11, Acalanes Road/Upper Happy Valley Road. This is the final westbound exit to serve the city of Lafayette. Photo taken 08/05/05.
An upcoming exits sign on California 24 west provides the distance to the next three exits: Exit 11, Acalanes Road/Upper Happy Valley Road; Exit 10, Saint Stevens Drive/Hidden Valley Road; and Exit 9, Camino Pablo/Moraga Way. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Westbound California 24/Rumford Freeway reaches Exit 11, Acalanes Road/Upper Happy Valley Road. This interchange is almost a cloverleaf, except that traffic from the westbound direction must use the loop ramp to make the connection to Nido Road/Upper Happy Valley Road to the north and Acalanes Road/Mount Diablo Boulevard/Hidden Valley Road to the south. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The next exit along westbound California 24 is Exit 10, Saint Stevens Drive/Hidden Valley Road in Orinda. Note the faded scenic route sign posted below the California 24 reassurance shield. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Use Exit 10 to Charles Hill Road north and Tahos Road south. Both roads serve residential Orinda, which is now located on both sides of the freeway. The city of Orinda is located to the west of Lafayette and also has its own BART station. Open space abounds here, with Tilden Regional Park to the west, San Pablo Reservoir to the northwest, Briones Open Space and Reservoir to the north, and Lafayette Reservoir to the east of the city. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Westbound California 24 reaches Exit 10, Saint Stevens Drive/Hidden Valley Road in Orinda. This interchange is a diamond interchange. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The next exit on California 24/Rumford Freeway west is Exit 9, Camino Pablo/Moraga Way to Orinda. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The right lane of westbound California 24 becomes exit only for Exit 9, Camino Pablo/Moraga Way. In the westbound direction, this interchange is treated like a cloverleaf, with a collector-distributor lane and one ramp to northbound Camino Pablo and another ramp to Moraga Way south. Photo taken 08/05/05.
California 24/Rumford Freeway briefly turns southwest as it reaches Exit 9, Camino Pablo/Moraga Way to Orinda. To the north, Camino Pablo changes into San Pablo Dam Road upon leaving Orinda. It passes by San Pablo Reservoir, then enters the city of Richmond. The next exit is Exit 7B, Wilder Road (formerly Gateway Boulevard). Photo taken 08/05/05.
The ramp to Camino Pablo/Moraga Way is initially elevated. The overhead signs on the exit ramp show that the first exit connects to Camino Pablo north to Richmond, and the second ramp connects to Moraga Way south to Orinda and Moraga. The collector-distributor lanes then rejoin California 24 west. Photo taken 08/05/05.
An upcoming exits sign on California 24 west provides the distance to the next three exits: Exit 7B, Wilder Road (formerly Gateway Boulevard); Exit 7A, Fish Ranch Road, and Exit 6, Old Tunnel Road in Alameda County. Around this point, the BART leaves the median of California 24 and enters a long tunnel on the north side of California 24 to pass under Grizzly Peak. It does not emerge to daylight again until after passing under California 13/Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Climbing toward Grizzly Peak, westbound California 24 gains elevation as it approaches the Caldecott Tunnel. The right lane becomes exit only for Exit 7B, Wilder Road (formerly Gateway Boulevard). Photos taken 07/06/07 and 08/05/05.
During the morning, both tubes for the Caldecott Tunnel are open to westbound traffic. All three bores of the Caldecott Tunnel are two lanes wide. The middle bore is reversible, and it generally operates westbound from 12 midnight until 12 noon and eastbound from 12 noon to 12 midnight. Of course, these operating hours may change depending on traffic needs on any given day. A fourth bore, which is being reviewed for environmental impact currently (but is fully funded), would allow a continuous flow of eight lanes (two bores in each direction). Photo taken 08/05/05.
Tank vehicles with hazardous materials must exit at Exit 7B unless if the trip is made between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. The reason for this prohibition relates to an accident that occurred in the north bore on westbound California 24 on the early morning hours of April 7, 1982. A tanker carrying gasoline was involved in a crash within the tunnel during early morning hours, and the resultant fire and smoke from the fire killed seven. The restriction on hazardous materials allows for transport of such materials to occur during times of minimal traffic. Photo taken 08/05/05.
During a banked turn to the right, another sign advises of the status of which bores of the Caldecott Tunnel are open. The off-ramp for Exit 7B, Wilder Road (formerly Gateway Boulevard) can be seen in the distance ahead. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Westbound California 24/Rumford Freeway reaches Exit 7B, Wilder Road (formerly Gateway Boulevard). Wilder Road (formerly Gateway Boulevard) is the last Orinda exit, and it travels north to the Bruns Amphitheatre and south to a park and ride. This exit does not serve through traffic and does not connect to the rest of Orinda. Between 2005 and 2007, new exit number signs were posted along this stretch of California 24. Photos taken 07/06/07 and 08/05/05.
The next exit on California 24/Rumford Freeway west is Exit 7A, Fish Ranch Road. This is the final Contra Costa County exit from California 24 and climbs to Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Grizzly Peak Open Space park. Views of the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco are all afforded from Grizzly Peak. Photos taken 07/06/07 and 08/05/05.
The next three exits along westbound California 24/Rumford Freeway are Exit 7A, Fish Ranch Road; Exit 6, Old Tunnel Road; and Exits 5B-A, Junction California 13 north to Berkeley and south to Hayward. Photo taken 08/05/05.
For each of the next three exits (including Exit 7A, Fish Ranch Road; Exit 6 Old Tunnel Road; and Exits 5B-A, Junction California 13 north to Berkeley and south to Hayward), use the right tube of the Caldecott Tunnel, as access is not possible from the middle bore. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The right lane becomes exit only for Exit 7A, Fish Ranch Road. The extra lane was added as part of a recent construction project. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Westbound California 24/Rumford Freeway reaches Exit 7A, Fish Ranch Road. At the time this photo was taken, both tunnel bores were open to westbound traffic, thus squeezing eastbound traffic into one two-lane tunnel. Taking this exit will lead motorists to some routes that go over the top of the mountain and avoid the tunnels, but they are very windy and steep and pass through residential and rural areas. An older, historic tunnel is located in the hillside above the Caldecott; it can be seen from Skyline Boulevard. Photos taken 07/06/07 and 08/05/05.
Morning traffic has a choice to use either the middle bore or the north bore; afternoon traffic currently has to use the north bore. The two southernmost bores of the Caldecott Tunnel were completed in 1937 and are each 3,610 feet long. The northernmost bore was built in 1964 and is 3,771 feet in length. The four-lane freeway divides here into the two tubes. Photos taken 08/05/05 and 07/06/07.
Entering the middle bore, westbound California 24 enters the Caldecott Tunnel. Note the proximity of eastbound traffic, which uses the south bore. The clearance is 14 feet and 7 inches, which is not Interstate standard. Photo taken 08/05/05.
These are two views of the interior of the middle bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. Photos taken 07/05/04, 08/05/05, and 04/06/09.
Exiting the middle bore, no lane changes are permitted on westbound California 24 for the next 1,000 feet. No access is permitted to Exit 6, Tunnel Road or to Exits 5B-A, Junction California 13/Warren Freeway. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Going back to the Caldecott Tunnel, we now look at the north bore. A California 24 reassurance shield assembly is posted here, along with an end scenic route shield. The north bore of the tunnel is located ahead. Hazardous trucks are prohibited from using the tunnel most times of the day (except between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.) due to a tragic accident in the north bore involving a truck carrying hazardous materials that resulted in seven fatalities in April 1982. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Headlights are required to be on when using any of the tubes in the Caldecott Tunnel. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Westbound California 24/Rumford Freeway enters the 1964 north tube of the Caldecott Tunnel. Photo taken 07/06/07.
At the other end of the north bore of the Caldecott Tunnel, California 24 west emerges from under Grizzly Peak and begins its descent toward downtown Oakland. The ramp for Exit 6, Tunnel Road is visible in the distance. Photo taken 07/06/07.
The first exit along westbound California 24/Rumford Freeway after the Caldecott Tunnel is Exit 6, Old Tunnel Road. During the tunnel, California 24 left Contra Costa County and entered Alameda County and the city of Oakland. The next interchange is Exits 5B-A, Junction California 13/Warren Freeway south to Hayward and California 13/Ashby Avenue north to Berkeley. An older porcelain enamel overhead guide sign remains in place. Photos taken 08/05/05 and 07/06/07.
The next three exits along westbound California 24/Rumford Freeway are Exits 5B-A, Junction California 13; Exit 4B, Broadway; and Exit 4A, College Avenue. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The right lane of California 24 west becomes exit only for Exit 5B, Junction California 13/Ashby Avenue north to Berkeley and the University of California at Berkeley (a more direct route to the university is via Exit 4A, College Avenue). California 13 changes from a north-south route into an east-west route upon entering Berkeley. Photo taken 07/06/07.
Westbound California 24/Rumford Freeway reaches Exit 5B, Junction California 13/Ashby Avenue north to Berkeley. The next exit is Exit 5A, Junction California 13/Warren Freeway south to Hayward. Photo taken 07/06/07.
The views upon exiting the Caldecott Tunnel can be exhilarating. Views of the bay, the Bay Bridge, the City of San Francisco, and the Golden Gate Bridge may all be visible in the distance from this vantage point. To indicate how close it all is, the first junction sign for Interstate 580 (Exit 2B) is posted here, just prior to the exit for southbound California 13. The sign was replaced between 2003 and 2007. Photos taken 04/06/09 and 08/16/03.
Use Exit 5A to Piedmont and East Oakland. California 13 is generally a four-lane freeway, and it travels in a southerly direction that remains in Oakland for the entire freeway length. The city of Piedmont is bounded on all sides by Oakland, and access to the city can be made via California 13 south to Exit 4, Moraga Avenue. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Westbound California 24 reaches Exit 5A, Junction California 13/Warren Freeway south. For travelers en route to the South Bay via Interstate 580 or Interstate 238, this might be a good exit to use. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The next two exits on westbound California 24 are Exit 4B, Broadway and Exit 4A, College Avenue. To the University of California, use Exit 4A, which is the second exit. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The right lane becomes exit only for Exit 4B, Broadway. The left four lanes continue west on California 24. Use Exit 4B to Rockridge, a community of Oakland. This exit also connects to Miles Avenue (north frontage road) and Keith Avenue (south frontage road). Photo taken 08/05/05.
Use Exit 4B (Broadway) to the California College of the Arts and a BART Station. The BART reemerged from Grizzly Peak, then angled southwest to meet California 24 at this interchange. From here, the BART will again follow California 24 in the median of the freeway. The longer tunnel for the BART under Grizzly Peak allows for less of a grade for the commuter trains. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Westbound California 24 reaches Exit 4B, Broadway. The next two offramps are for Exit 4A, College Avenue and Exit 3, Telegraph Avenue/Claremont Avenue. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The next exit on westbound California 24 is Exit 4A, College Avenue and the University of California at Berkeley. Through this section, California 24 follows an elevated viaduct. The left four lanes continue west toward downtown Oakland. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Westbound California 24 reaches Exit 4A, College Avenue and the University of California at Berkeley. To College Avenue, motorists must follow Miles Avenue (north frontage road) briefly, then turn right (north) on College Avenue. The university is located in the city of Berkeley. Use College Avenue north to Memorial Stadium, home of the University of California Golden Bears football team. Photo taken 08/05/05.
This mileage sign is located along westbound California 24 as it approaches Exit 3, Telegraph Avenue/Claremont Avenue, one-quarter mile. The remaining exits are: Exit 2B, Junction Interstate 580 west to San Francisco and east to Hayward and Exit 2A, Junction Interstate 980 west to downtown Oakland, including connections to 27th Street and West Grand Avenue (Left Exit). The aforementioned Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station is located in the median here. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Westbound California 24 reaches Exit 3, Telegraph Avenue. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The next exit along California 24 west is the interchange with Interstate 580 and Interstate 980 (Exit 2B) in one mile. Remain right for Interstate 580; the left lanes will default onto westbound Interstate 980 to downtown Oakland. A word of caution: to reach San Francisco, the best route is via Interstate 580. There is no connection between westbound Interstate 980 and northbound Interstate 880. Notorious for its traffic congestion, the infamous Maze interchange (Junction Interstates 80, 580, 880, 980, and California 24) is just ahead. Photo taken 08/05/05.
This is the final upcoming exits mileage sign along westbound California 24. The final exits are Exit 2B, Junction Interstate 580 and Exit 2A, Junction Interstate 980. The West Grand Avenue and 18th Street exits are located on Interstate 980, not California 24. Photo taken 08/05/05.
California 24 approaches its final interchange at Exits 2A-B, Junction Interstate 580 and Interstate 980. California 24 ends at Exits 2B-A; through traffic is directed onto westbound Interstate 980 (Exit 2A), while exiting traffic may take east or west Interstate 580 (Exit 2B). Interstate 980 has the same exit numbering scheme as California 24, since they are contiguous freeways. In fact, a few California 24 reassurance shields have been spotted on Interstate 980 east. Photo taken 08/05/05.
The left three lanes default onto westbound Interstate 980, and the right two lanes connect to Interstate 580 and the Maze Interchange for travelers en route to San Francisco. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Now on the transition ramp from westbound California 24/Rumford Freeway to Interstate 580/MacArthur Freeway, the left two lanes connect to Interstate 580 southeast to Hayward, and the right two lanes connect to Interstate 580 west to San Francisco, Richmond, and San Rafael. Photo taken 07/06/07.
The transition ramp splits. This interchange is a symmetrical stack, with Interstate 980/California 24 forming the lowest level and Interstate 580 forming the second level. The transition ramp from California 24 west to Interstate 580 east is the third level, and the ramp from Interstate 580 east to California 24 east is the top level. Underneath the massive stack interchange is Grove Shafter Park. Photo taken 07/06/07.
On the transition ramp from California 24 west to Interstate 580 west, an exit connects to 36th Street, which offers a connection to Market Street south, Junction California 123/San Pablo Avenue (former U.S. 40) north, and MacArthur Boulevard (former U.S. 50). Photo taken 07/06/07.
Continuing on the transition ramp to westbound Interstate 580, there is an exit for Market Street and Junction California 123/San Pablo Avenue (former U.S. 40) before merging onto Interstate 580 itself. Photo taken 04/06/09.
Back on the mainline, there is no END California 24 shield. The next three exits all serve downtown Oakland and are all part of Interstate 980/Grove Shafter Freeway: Exit 1E, 27th Street/West Grand Avenue; Exit 1D, 18th Street/14th Street; Exit 1C, 12th Street/11th Street; Exit 1B, Jackson Street; and Exit 1A, Junction Interstate 880 south (Left Exit). We pick up these exits on the Interstate 980 page. Photo taken 08/05/05.
Scenes Pertaining to California 24
This series of pictures shows the 1936 date stamp and ornate concrete features located at the two southern tubes' eastern portals to the Caldecott Tunnel along California 24. Visible in these pictures is the continuation of California 24 east as it leaves the vicinity of the tunnel. Photos taken 02/17/13.

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Page Updated August 25, 2013.