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Author Topic: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California  (Read 7325 times)

myosh_tino

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Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« on: April 30, 2012, 04:28:31 PM »

Since blawp started a topic about the worst stretches of freeway in so-cal, I'd thought it would be a good idea to start a similar thread for those of us in northern California (primarily the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento Metro Area).  All I ask is one thing... do not put the word "the" before a route number (i.e. "the 5" or "the 101").  That is strictly a southern California thing and is a hated practice by most native northern Californians.

Here are my least favorites...
* Highway 85 north of I-280 -- This is the older segment of 85 built back in the 60's and 70's where the concrete has failed in numerous places making this section of freeway very bumpy.  Fortunately 85 is getting repaved over the next few months or so... it's about time!

* I-580 over the Altamont Pass -- Again, incredibly poor road surface, a ton of truck traffic all day and a ton of commute traffic in the mornings and evenings.

* I-580/I-680 interchange -- This is an outdated cloverleaf interchange that routinely backs up traffic onto I-580 west into Livermore during the morning commute.  Caltrans built a high-speed flyover ramp but it goes from south 680 to east 580  :-o when it should have gone from west 580 to south 680!  :banghead:

* US 101/I-880 interchange -- Another outdated cloverleaf interchange that simply cannot handle the large volume of traffic transitioning between these two very busy freeways.
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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 06:19:45 PM »

My nominations:

US-101 from CA-85 to CA-84. A lot of very busy on- and off-ramps, some narrow underpasses, and lots of traffic. I think there's some work coming soon to add auxiliary lanes here, which should help a ton.

I-80 between the eastern end of the Bay Bridge and the split with I-580 in Richmond. There's tons of traffic here too, and the signage is very confusing for anyone who doesn't venture to the East Bay very often. There needs to be much more advance notice of what lanes to be in to get to the various freeways at the 80/580/880 interchange.

Agreed with your assessments of the other spots, though!
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kurumi

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 06:33:02 PM »

The 280 south, from Sand Hill Road to CA 85, during afternoon rush hour. There's a lane drop at Page Mill Road (both directions) and another lane drop at Magdalena. The second one is common practice to transition to 4 general purpose lanes to 3 general + 1 HOV (so your lane doesn't "become" an HOV with no action on your part). However, the new lane doesn't open until about 1/2 mile after the old lane closes. All the lane shuffling means that whatever lane you merge into becomes the slowest lane.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 06:54:49 PM »

101 between 80 and the Golden Gate Bridge.
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Bickendan

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 07:04:06 PM »

101 between 80 and the Golden Gate Bridge.
101 through downtown Eureka.
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flowmotion

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 07:45:29 PM »

Not quite a freeway, but CA-17 over the Santa Cruz mountains often feels like a death race.

Also, the Central Viaduct westbound is congested all the time now.
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Quillz

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 07:46:43 PM »

I-238
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TheStranger

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 08:46:29 PM »

Business 80 has been a mess for many years between E Street (several lane drops) where the built-as-I-80 portion ends and historic US 99E freeway begins...and Arden Way, where some of the lanes return after former US 40/current Route 160 merges in. 

Basically, this is the continuing consequence of the city's 1979 rejection of the I-80 realignment 3/4 mile to the west of the 40/99E carriageways.  Woops.
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Chris Sampang

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2012, 08:57:52 PM »

I-680 northbound before the Benicia bridge. A couple times driving up to my friends in Benicia, it was always jammed on 680 north before the toll plaza. And we don't have FasTrak.

An honorable mention to 101 north along the Peninsula. When we drive to the airport, it's usually weekdays after school. Would be about 5 when we get there. Freakin jammed there. Thank god for carpool lanes (feels really fun passing all the backed up traffic on the carpool lanes). Further up the peninsula, 101 in SF (mostly SB from the Van Ness on ramp) is just a mess.
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Interstate Trav

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 09:46:41 PM »

In Northern California you guys don't use "the" 5 it's I-5 or "the" 101 it's US-101? 

I never knew that before
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JustDrive

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 09:47:59 PM »

101 between 237 and SFO.  I avoid that section like the plague.

All of 880, especially through the construction zone at 92.

580 betwen Livermore and 680.  The WB 580 to SB 680 flyover should have been built before the SB 680 to EB 580.

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bulkyorled

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 10:06:39 PM »

In Northern California you guys don't use "the" 5 it's I-5 or "the" 101 it's US-101?  

I never knew that before

Not sure how true that is, I just asked a friend if they said "the" in front of the number and they said they do haha. But even if it is, it's also news to me! I thought it was just a California thing in general!

But response to OP;
680 through Pleasanton & Dublin, gave me trouble everytime I used it when I was there
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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2012, 11:11:37 PM »

In Northern California you guys don't use "the" 5 it's I-5 or "the" 101 it's US-101? 

I never knew that before

Not sure how true that is, I just asked a friend if they said "the" in front of the number and they said they do haha. But even if it is, it's also news to me! I thought it was just a California thing in general!

But response to OP;
680 through Pleasanton & Dublin, gave me trouble everytime I used it when I was there

I always thought that was a California thing too, once you cross Stateline's then it's I-5 or I-80, but in California it's the 5 or the 80.

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luokou

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2012, 11:22:48 PM »

I-680 between Fremont and Milpitas. The times I have driven down this section of freeway it was always under some kind of construction.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 11:31:02 PM by luokou »
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myosh_tino

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2012, 11:27:19 PM »

In Northern California you guys don't use "the" 5 it's I-5 or "the" 101 it's US-101?  

I never knew that before

Not sure how true that is, I just asked a friend if they said "the" in front of the number and they said they do haha. But even if it is, it's also news to me! I thought it was just a California thing in general!
Sorry guys but that's just not the case.  Up here we refer to highways by route number (5, 80, 880, 237, 101, etc) or by prefacing the route number with either the type of route (California, US, I or Interstate) or generically (Highway or Route).  When I'm asked how do I get to Reno, my response is... "I would use I-5 to 80 if I wanted to avoid the bridge toll otherwise I'll use 680 to 80."
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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2012, 11:34:55 PM »

I think it might be mixed... this friend has always lives in Pleasanton and he says "the" in front of it. And my aunt & uncle have always been in Sacramento and they say "the" in front of it too.
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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2012, 12:29:58 AM »

In northern California (and elsewhere) we sometimes use "the" ironically. As in Merritt Parkway == "the 15".
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CenVlyDave

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2012, 12:51:36 AM »

I would nominate the 880 north of the 238 all the way to DT Oakland.  I would also suggest the I section of the 238, but that would only be because of the numbering, just feels so wrong to me!   :banghead:
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TheStranger

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2012, 01:34:07 AM »

Sorry guys but that's just not the case.  Up here we refer to highways by route number (5, 80, 880, 237, 101, etc) or by prefacing the route number with either the type of route (California, US, I or Interstate) or generically (Highway or Route).

Is the Bayshore Freeway the one name still in somewhat common use (Nimitz and MacArthur being much less common, but still out there)?

I'm still amazed at the complete deprecation of the "Cypress" name once that portion of the Nimitz was rebuilt ca. 1997.

Seems like "Central Freeway" is still used occasionally too.
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Chris Sampang

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2012, 01:43:36 AM »

880 is much better now that it's been rebuilt.

I'll second Highway 17 over the Santa Cruz Mountains.  It's taking your life in your hands.  Take 9, go around through Watsonville, take the bus, anything but 17.

In San Francisco, the 101 skyway and I-80 to the Bay Bridge.

The Pacheco Pass highway.

I-80 from Vacaville to where 680 comes off.
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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2012, 06:28:29 PM »

Expressway 101 in Prunedale is a real Blood Alley.  This section of 101 should have been modernized/upgraded 50 years ago.  The fact that CalTrans still does not have it dealt with shows a real inability in the Git 'er Done department.  Joe Stalin would have consigned those bureaucrats to the gulag a long time ago.

Mod Note: This quote comes this message, which was later split off into the "Improving US 101 in NorCal" thread. --roadfro
I agree with your comment about Prunedale. I bring this up as Prunedale is in my neck of the woods, being directly north of Salinas. A lot of construction is ongoing and three new exits are being built. The project also fixes the problems with the Russell/Espinosa interchange, with traffic turning left across 101 onto Espinosa as a shortcut to Santa Cruz. I agree that Prunedale is a dangerous corridor, yet scenic in most parts. I wouldn't really put Prunedale in my "worst" if the project is completed.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 05:34:56 AM by roadfro »
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CenVlyDave

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2012, 07:36:41 PM »

Expressway 101 in Prunedale is a real Blood Alley.  This section of 101 should have been modernized/upgraded 50 years ago.  The fact that CalTrans still does not have it dealt with shows a real inability in the Git 'er Done department.  Joe Stalin would have consigned those bureaucrats to the gulag a long time ago.

Mod Note: This quote comes this message, which was later split off into the "Improving US 101 in NorCal" thread. --roadfro

I was just looking at the Caltrans dist 5 website and it looks like improvements alomg this stretch to upgrade to full freeway are underway.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 05:35:16 AM by roadfro »
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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2012, 05:44:48 AM »

Expressway 101 in Prunedale is a real Blood Alley.  This section of 101 should have been modernized/upgraded 50 years ago.  The fact that CalTrans still does not have it dealt with shows a real inability in the Git 'er Done department.  Joe Stalin would have consigned those bureaucrats to the gulag a long time ago.

Mod Note: This quote comes this message, which was later split off into the "Improving US 101 in NorCal" thread. --roadfro
I agree with your comment about Prunedale. I bring this up as Prunedale is in my neck of the woods, being directly north of Salinas. A lot of construction is ongoing and three new exits are being built. The project also fixes the problems with the Russell/Espinosa interchange, with traffic turning left across 101 onto Espinosa as a shortcut to Santa Cruz. I agree that Prunedale is a dangerous corridor, yet scenic in most parts. I wouldn't really put Prunedale in my "worst" if the project is completed.
CA-156 to US-101 NB is awful.  I must say.  Speaking of CA-156, weren't there plans to make it a freeway from Castroville to Prunedale?  

Shitty Freeways:  US-101 from CA-85 (the Southern one) to the Golden Gate.  Commonly referred to as the Bayshore parking lot, it features a lot of potholes and dated intersections that don't meet up to current traffic demands.  

I'll have to third CA-17 between Scott's Valley and Los Gatos.

CA-92 in San Mateo/Foster City is a joke of a freeway.  The intersection with US-101 and CA-82 are awful.  
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 05:35:34 AM by roadfro »
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TheStranger

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2012, 12:13:36 PM »


CA-92 in San Mateo/Foster City is a joke of a freeway.  The intersection with US-101 and CA-82 are awful. 

92/101 to me doesn't quite come across as all that bad, two flyovers+two cloverleafs for that junction seems just about right.

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Chris Sampang

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Re: Least Favorite Freeway Stretch in Northern California
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2012, 06:03:55 PM »

Expressway 101 in Prunedale is a real Blood Alley.  This section of 101 should have been modernized/upgraded 50 years ago.  The fact that CalTrans still does not have it dealt with shows a real inability in the Git 'er Done department.  Joe Stalin would have consigned those bureaucrats to the gulag a long time ago.

Mod Note: This quote comes this message, which was later split off into the "Improving US 101 in NorCal" thread. --roadfro

I was just looking at the Caltrans dist 5 website and it looks like improvements alomg this stretch to upgrade to full freeway are underway.

101 still won't be a full freeway when the current projects are completed. Some of the more dangerous intersections will be fixed, but other at-grade turns will remain.

There is a full freeway bypass plan out there, but supposedly there's local and environmental opposition, and no funding, so Caltrans has backburned it.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 05:36:06 AM by roadfro »
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