Interstate 205


Interstate 205 is a short connector freeway between Interstates 580 and 5 in the vicinity of Tracy. Only four lanes wide at its eastern end, it is slated to be widened to accommodate the flow of commuter traffic between the Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. Interstate 205 replaced U.S. 50, and the original route of U.S. 50 through Tracy is now part of Business Loop I-205, which almost eclipses its parent route in mileage and length.

Interstate 205 bypasses Tracy via former U.S. 50 (Lincoln Highway). The original route is 11th Street, which is now designated as Business Loop I-205. Fully opened in December 1970 as a four-lane freeway, it was expanded to six lanes during the mid-2000s. Traffic volumes increased as more people lived in the Central Valley and worked in the Bay Area. This created a commute between the two regions via Interstate 205 and Interstate 580.

Key Opening Dates of Interstate 205:

  • Interstate 580 to Hansen Road - February 28, 1967
  • Hansen Road to Interstate 5 - December 21, 1970

Many thanks to C.J. Moon for his assistance in providing this historical chronology.

Interstate 205 east
We begin our eastbound journey on Interstate 205 at the split from Interstate 580 just west of Tracy and east of Altamont Pass. The left three lanes carry Interstate 205 east toward Tracy, while the right lanes depart for Interstate 580 southeast to Interstate 5, Southern California, and Los Angeles. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Interstate 205 passes under the main lanes for Interstate 580 westbound traffic. This new bridge was constructed in 2008-2009 and allows mainline Interstate 580 westbound traffic to merge into the left side of the freeway and allows the original lanes to serve as a truck bypass route. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Shortly thereafter, Interstate 205 east passes under the original Interstate 580 lanes, which are now the truck bypass lanes for westbound traffic. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Multiple power lines pass overhead as Interstate 205 proceeds east away from Interstate 580. The first set of overhead power lines is a towering 500kV double-circuit power line, which connects the Tracy substation and Path 66 500kV power line north of here with the Path 15 500kV power lines that follow Interstate 5 toward Southern California. Interstate 205 leaves Alameda County and enters San Joaquin County. Photo taken 06/21/09.
A small brush fire burned a hill adjacent to the 500kV power lines. Minor fires like this are common along freeways during the dry season (summer/early fall). Photo taken 06/21/09.
Interstate 205 is the Robert T. Monagan Freeway, named for a California state assemblyman who represented this area from 1961 to 1973 and briefly as Speaker of the California State Assembly. Photo taken 06/21/09.

The first exit along eastbound Interstate 205 is Exit 2, Mountain House Parkway. Mountain House is a residential community north of the freeway. This exit also connects to old U.S. 50 and Altamont Pass Road in Alameda County to the west of here. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Another power line crosses over Interstate 205; this view looks south from the freeway. Photo taken 06/21/09.
The right two lanes connect eastbound Interstate 205 to Exit 2, Mountain House Parkway. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Eastbound Interstate 205 reaches Exit 2, Mountain House Parkway. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Interstate 205 passes under Mountain House Parkway. The overpass was improved, most likely due to the nearby Mountain House residential development and increased traffic volumes resulting from that development. Photo taken 06/21/09.
An Interstate 205 east reassurance shield is posted after the Mountain House Parkway interchange. Photo taken 06/21/09.
The next exit along Interstate 205 east is Exit 4, Business Loop I-205 (Eleventh Street) (one mile). Photo taken 06/21/09.
The next four exits from Interstate 205 east serve the city of Tracy: Exit 4, Business Loop I-205 (Eleventh Street); Exit 6, San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road); Exit 8, Tracy Boulevard; and Exit 9, MacArthur Boulevard. Photo taken 06/21/09.
A mileage sign (which has been tagged with graffiti multiple times and repainted again and again) provides the distance to the next three exits along Interstate 205 east: Exit 4, Business Loop I-205 (Eleventh Street); Exit 6, San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road); and Exit 8, Tracy Boulevard. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Use Exit 4 to Defense Depot Tracy. Photo taken 06/21/09.
The right two lanes will connect to Business Loop I-205 (Eleventh Street) east to downtown Tracy. The left three lanes continue east along Interstate 205 toward Manteca and Stockton. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Although not as well-signed as business loops in other states, Business Loop I-205 is fairly well-signed through the city of Tracy. It follows Historic U.S. 50 along 11th Street. This loop is also notable for being nearly as long as its parent route (only a couple miles shorter), and it is one of a few three-digit business loops nationwide. Technically, the business loop does not return to Interstate 205; both the parent and business route end within a mile of each other at Interstate 5. This picture shows eastbound approaching Exit 4, Business Loop I-205/11th Street, Tracy, next right. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Additional power lines travel over Interstate 205; these also emanate from the Path 15 power line corridor. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Eastbound Interstate 205 meets Exit 4, Business Loop I-205 (Eleventh Street) east to Tracy. The business loop begins its journey as an expressway, which used to carry U.S. 50 west of Tracy and is still part of the historic Lincoln Highway. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Exit 4 is clearly signed at the gore point. Photo taken 06/21/09.
The left three lanes of Interstate 205 continue east. The freeway passes under the transition that connects westbound Business Loop I-205 with Interstate 205 west. Photo taken 06/21/09.
The next exit along Interstate 205 east is Exit 6, San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road) in one mile. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Interstate 205 enters the city of Tracy ("Ready and Leading the Way"). The city had a population of 82,922 as of the 2010 Census and was incorporated on July 22, 1910. Photo taken 06/21/09.
A soundwall blocks the view to the south of the freeway as we approach Exit 6. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Eastbound Interstate 205 meets Exit 6, San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road). J-4 is a southeast-northwest route that follows the west bank of the San Joaquin River (parallel to California 33) en route to Tracy. The county route continues northwest of here via Byron-Bethany Road to meet California 4 in the Byron-Discovery Bay area. Since San Joaquin (and Alameda and Contra Costa) County Route J-4 approximates the future location of unconstructed California 239, it may be upgraded to state standards at some point and added to the state highway system at that time. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Motorist services such as food and gas are available at Exit 6, San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road). Photo taken 06/21/09.
The next exit along Interstate 205 east is Exit 8, Tracy Boulevard. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Interstate 205 proceeds east between Exit 6, Grant Line Road and Exit 8, Tracy Boulevard. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Eastbound Interstate 205 reaches Exit 8, San Joaquin County J-13 (Tracy Boulevard). An urban arterial, Tracy Boulevard leads south into downtown Tracy, connecting with east-west Grant Line Road/San Joaquin County J-4 and Business Loop I-205 (Eleventh Street, which is Old U.S. 50 (Lincoln Highway). J-13 travels from Business Loop I-205 north along Tracy Boulevard to Interstate 205 and possibly north toward San Joaquin County J-2 and California 4. The route shows in the Thomas Guide map, but it is not well-signed. Photo taken 06/21/09.
The next Tracy exit along eastbound Interstate 205 is Exit 9, MacArthur Boulevard. Use this exit to connect to California 33 south and Interstate 5 south via local streets. On weekends and weekday afternoon commute hours, eastbound Interstate 205 is frequently congested between here and Interstate 5. No section of eastbound Interstate 205 is immune to potential traffic congestion on a typical Friday afternoon. Photo taken 06/21/09.
MacArthur Boulevard is the final interchange along Interstate 205 east before the junction with Interstate 5. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Eastbound Interstate 205 reaches Exit 9, MacArthur Boulevard. Photo taken 06/21/09.
After traffic merges onto Interstate 205 east after MacArthur Boulevard, we found the last reassurance shield along eastbound Interstate 205; all traffic will transition onto Interstate 5 north to Stockton and Sacramento, with a connection to California 99 via California 120 east. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Development lessens as Interstate 205 advances east past Tracy and toward Lathrop and Manteca. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Interstate 205 passes over the Tom Paine Slough and a railroad. Photo taken 06/21/09.
This overhead guide sign on eastbound Interstate 205 indicates that first interchange after Interstate 205 merges onto Interstate 5 will be Exit 461, California 120 east to Manteca, Oakdale, and Stockton. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Now reaching the transition from eastbound Interstate 205 to northbound Interstate 5, there are no signs indicating that Interstate 205 will automatically merge onto northbound Interstate 5 (and the exit lanes for eastbound California 120). There is no direct access to southbound Interstate 5 from eastbound. It is assumed that everyone passing through here is traveling either north or east. Photo taken 06/21/09.
This view looks north along Interstate 5 as seen from the transition ramp that carries Interstate 205 east onto northbound Interstate 5. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Power lines skirt the edge of the transition ramp as we prepare to merge onto Interstate 5. An end Interstate 205 shield used to be posted here until the eastbound lanes of Interstate 205 were widened. At that time, the end shield was removed. Photo taken 06/21/09.
The terminus of the long transition ramp from Interstate 205 east to Interstate 5 north is located within the city of Lathrop, which had a population of 18,023 and was incorporated on July 1, 1989. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Traffic from Interstate 205 east prepares to split between Interstate 5 north or California 120 east. Use California 120 to continue east to California 99 en route to Modesto, Lodi, and Fresno; the city of Oakdale; California 108 east en route to Sonora; and Yosemite National Park. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Three lanes of Interstate 205 merges onto Interstate 5, marking the end of Interstate 205. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Interstate 205 west
Now traveling west along Interstate 205, this mileage sign provides the distance to two destinations found via Interstate 580: Livermore, the first Bay Area suburb along Interstate 580 west, and San Francisco, which is the western control city for Interstate 80. Photo taken 11/25/04.
The next three exits serve the city of Tracy: Exit 9, MacArthur Drive; Exit 8, Tracy Boulevard; and Exit 6, San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road). Home to 56,929 people as of the 2000 Census, the city of Tracy is a booming exurb of the San Francisco Bay Area. Many commute daily from Tracy to the employment centers of the Bay Area, including some who commute to the city of San Francisco. Tracy is close to Stockton, Manteca, and Modesto along the California 99 corridor, yet is also connected to Interstate 5, the Westside Highway. A business route parallels Interstate 205 along the old U.S. 50 route through Tracy; it is accessed directly from Interstate 5 south. Photo taken 07/03/04.
The first exit along westbound Interstate 205 is Exit 9, MacArthur Drive. This exit connects to a Prime Outlets shopping center as well as a park and ride for commuters. Photo taken 11/25/04.
Westbound Interstate 205 (Robert T. Monagan Freeway) reaches Exit 9, MacArthur Drive. Use MacArthur Drive south to San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road) and to Business Loop I-205/East 11th Street. There is a signalized directional interchange between MacArthur Drive and Business Loop I-205. Photo taken 11/25/04.
The next exit along westbound Interstate 205 is Exit 8, San Joaquin County J-13 (Tracy Boulevard) and Central Boulevard, three-quarters of a mile. San Joaquin County J-13 originates in downtown Tracy and travels north along Tracy Boulevard, ending at its junction with San Joaquin County J-2 (Corral Hollow Road). It is a fairly short signed county route and is one of many found in the Central Valley. Photo taken 07/03/04.
Westbound Interstate 205 approaches Exit 8, San Joaquin County J-13 (Tracy Boulevard) and Central Boulevard, next right. This exit leads south into Tracy, and the county route ends at Business Loop I-205 (Eleventh Street). Photo taken 11/25/04.
Westbound Interstate 205 reaches Exit 8, San Joaquin County J-13 (Tracy Boulevard). Photo taken 11/25/04.
This west Interstate 205 shield is placed after the on-ramp from San Joaquin County J-13 (Tracy Boulevard). Photo taken 07/03/04.
Westbound Interstate 205 approaches Exit 6, San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road), one mile. This exit also connects to San Joaquin County J-2 via San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road) east. San Joaquin County J-2 travels north along Coral Hollow Road to California 4 in the Delta and south to Interstate 580. At Interstate 580, San Joaquin County J-2 turns west, passes through Corral Hollow, and emerges as Alameda County Route J-2 in Livermore, where that county route ends. Photo taken 11/25/04.
To add to the confusion of the three county routes that converge on Tracy (J-2, J-4, and J-13), this J-5 county route shield was placed in error. It should be San Joaquin County J-4, not J-5. San Joaquin/Sacramento County J-5 is north-south Jack Tone Road from California 99 at Ripon north to California 104 at Clay. Photo taken 11/25/04.
Westbound Interstate 205 reaches Exit 6, Naglee Road west to San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road). At this interchange, San Joaquin County J-4 travels west on Grant Line Road, then shifts onto Byron-Bethany Road northwest to Byron and its terminus as Contra Costa County J-4 at California 4 near Discovery Bay. Photo taken 07/03/04.
An Interstate 205 west reassurance shield is posted after Exit 6. The next exit is four miles ahead, at Exit 2, Mountain House Parkway. Photo taken 11/25/04.
Between Exit 6 and Exit 2, traffic from Business Loop I-205 (Eleventh Street) merges onto westbound Interstate 205. There is no access from Interstate 205 west onto Business Loop I-205 east, since this interchange (Exit 4) is a directional interchange. Note the overhead power lines, which cross this region by bringing power from the main north-south Path 15 transmission corridor to Bay Area and Central Valley communities. Path 15 itself comes into view once Interstate 205 merges with Interstate 580. Photo taken 11/25/04.
The next exit along westbound Interstate 205 is Exit 2, Mountain House Parkway, 0.75 mile. This is the last exit before Interstate 205 transitions onto westbound Interstate 580. Photo taken 07/03/04.
A somewhat odd sign, this roadside sign advises that Mountain House Parkway south may be used to reach Interstate 580 east to Interstate 5 south to ... Los Angeles! Photo taken 07/03/04.
Westbound Interstate 205 reaches its final exit at Exit 2, Mountain House Parkway. Photo taken 11/25/04.
This Interstate 205 west reassurance shield is posted after the Mountain House Parkway interchange. It is the final shield along westbound. Photo taken 11/25/04.
For the last mile of Interstate 205 and the following mile of Interstate 580 pass under a variety of power lines that form the main power transmission corridor for the length of the Golden State. The first of these lines are these, which appear after the Mountain House Parkway exit. Photo taken 07/03/04.
Westbound Interstate 205 departs from San Joaquin County enters Alameda County. Photo taken 11/25/04.
Interstate 205 crosses the California Aqueduct as it approaches its merge with Interstate 580. There is no access to Interstate 580 east; all traffic will connect to Interstate 580 west. Photo taken 11/25/04.
The two Path 15 power lines come into view as Interstate 205 passes under the Interstate 580 transition ramp. Photo taken 11/25/04.
The lanes of westbound Interstate 205 form the three lanes of westbound Interstate 580. Traffic from westbound Interstate 580 merge onto Interstate 205 from the west, and Interstate 205 comes to its end here. Unlike the eastern terminus, there is no end sign for Interstate 205 along westbound. Photo taken 11/25/04.
Interstate 205 scenes
This Interstate 205 west freeway entrance shield assembly is located on an approach road to Interstate 205 near Tracy. Photo taken by Joel Windmiller (06/01).

Business Loop I-205


Business Loop I-205 follows Eleventh Street through the city of Tracy.

The business route follows old U.S. 50 and a portion of historic Lincoln Highway.

Business Loop I-205 east
Upon exiting Interstate 205 (Robert T. Monagan Freeway) east at the directional interchange (Exit 4), the two-lane exit immediately shifts from asphalt to concrete. This concrete section of expressway is original U.S. 50 concrete and was the main route until the Interstate 205 bypass around Tracy was constructed. Photo taken 05/17/05.
The first mile or so of Business Loop I-205 has an expressway configuration. The highway is no longer maintained by the state, and some maintenance needs (such as the poor quality of the shoulders and lack of business route signage) are plainly evident. Photo taken 05/17/05.
The first traffic signal along eastbound Business Loop I-205 (Eleventh Street) is with North Lammers Road. After this intersection, the business route (and old U.S. 50) enters the city of Tracy. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Eleventh Street enters the city of Tracy and widens to three lanes in each direction (plus auxiliary lanes). Home to 56,929 people as of the 2000 Census, the city of Tracy is a booming exurb of the San Francisco Bay Area. Many commute daily from Tracy to the employment centers of the Bay Area, including some who commute to the city of San Francisco. Tracy is close to Stockton, Manteca, and Modesto along the California 99 corridor, yet is also connected to Interstate 5, the Westside Highway. Photo taken 05/17/05.
After the San Joaquin County J-2 (Corral Hollow Road) and Byron Road intersections, eastbound Business Loop I-205 (West Eleventh Street) shifts from a divided highway alignment to a four-lane conventional street with center turn lane. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Eastbound Business Loop I-205 (West Eleventh Street) meets San Joaquin County J-13 (Tracy Boulevard) at this intersection. San Joaquin County J-13 travels north from this intersection past San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road) and Interstate 205 before ending at San Joaquin County J-2 north of Tracy. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Business Loop I-205 (West Eleventh Street) enters downtown Tracy. Photo taken 05/17/05.
A Business Loop I-205 reassurance shield is posted on East Eleventh Street after leaving downtown Tracy. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Eastbound Business Loop I-205 (West Eleventh Street) meets MacArthur Drive at this directional interchange. Exit here to follow MacArthur Drive north to San Joaquin County J-4 (Grant Line Road) and Interstate 205 (Robert T. Monagan Freeway) at Exit 9. A traffic signal at this interchange allows for full movements from East Eleventh Street to MacArthur Drive. Photo taken 05/17/05.
An old viaduct carries the business route over MacArthur Drive and the Union Pacific Railroad. Note the old style concrete bridge rail. Photo taken 05/17/05.
The next major intersection along eastbound Business Loop I-205 (West Eleventh Street) is with Chrisman Road. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Use Chrisman Road north to Grant Line Road and south to the Tracy Defense Depot and eventually Interstate 580 and California 132. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Eastbound Business Loop I-205 (West Eleventh Street) meets Chrisman Road at this traffic signal. Photo taken 05/17/05.
A set of Pacific Gas and Electric power lines cross over Business Loop I-205 (West Eleventh Street) after the Chrisman Road intersection. One of the power lines continues in a northeasterly direction, while the other will parallel the business route traveling eastbound. Photos taken 05/17/05.
The next exit along eastbound Business Loop I-205 (West Eleventh Street) is with West Lovely Road, which connects to Bird Road and Ahern Road southbound. This interchange is the former northern terminus of California 33. That state highway has since been retracted to its northern interchange with Interstate 5. Photo taken 05/17/05.
Eastbound Business Loop I-205 (West Eleventh Street) meets Lovely Road at this interchange. The left two lanes continue east on the business route (and old U.S. 50) back to Interstate 5 north (to Manteca and Stockton) and California 120 east. The right lane departs onto Lovely Road, which connects to southbound Bird Road and Ahern Road en route to California 33 south. California 33 travels south to Vernalis, Patterson, and Newman. Photos taken 05/17/05.


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