Interstate 880

Interstate 880 (I-880) is an interstate highway in the San Francisco Bay Area connecting San Jose and Oakland, running parallel to the southeastern shore of San Francisco Bay. For most of its route, I-880 is officially known as the Nimitz Freeway after World War II admiral Chester Nimitz, who retired to the Bay Area. It is nicknamed "The Nasty Nimitz" due to its rush hour traffic levels.

This route is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System.

Route description

Major cities
Bolded cities are officially-designated control cities for signs

The southern terminus of I-880 is at its interchange with Interstate 280 and State Route 17 in San Jose. From there, it heads roughly northeast past the San Jose International Airport to U.S. Route 101. The Nimitz Freeway then turns north, running parallel to the southeastern shore of San Francisco Bay, connecting the cities of Milpitas, Fremont, Newark, Union City, Hayward, and San Leandro before reaching Oakland. The northern terminus of I-880 is in Oakland at the junction with Interstate 80 and Interstate 580 (known as the MacArthur Maze), near the eastern approach of the Bay Bridge.

The Nimitz Freeway is Route 880 from Route 101 to Route 80, as named by Senate Concurrent Resolution 23, Chapter 84 in 1958.


The state legislature added the proposed San Jose-Richmond East Shore Highway to the state highway system in 1933, and it became an extension of the previously short (San Rafael to the bay) Legislative Route 69, and part of Sign Route 13 (soon changed to 17) in 1934. From San Jose, this route temporarily followed existing Legislative Route 5 (present Oakland Road, Main Street, Milpitas Boulevard, and Warm Springs Boulevard) to SR 21 at Warm Springs, and then continued along existing county roads and city streets, now known as Fremont Boulevard, Alvarado Boulevard, Hesperian Boulevard, Lewelling Boulevard, Washington Avenue, 14th Street, 44th Avenue, 12th Street, 14th Avenue, 8th Street, and 7th Street, into downtown Oakland. It then turned north at Cypress Street (now Mandela Parkway), passing through the Bay Bridge Distribution Structure and following a newly constructed alignment (signed as US 40) to El Cerrito.

The first short piece of the new Eastshore Freeway opened to traffic on July 22, 1949, connecting Oak Street downtown with 23rd Avenue. It was extended to 98th Avenue on June 1, 1950, Lewelling Boulevard on June 13, 1952, and Jackson Street (SR 92) on June 5, 1953. At the San Jose end, the overlap with Route 5 between Bayshore Highway (US 101) and Warm Springs was bypassed on July 2, 1954. Within Oakland, the double-decker Cypress Street Viaduct opened on June 11, 1957, connecting the freeway with the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge. The Oakland segment was extended south to Fremont Boulevard at Beard Road on November 14, 1957, and the gap was filled on November 24, 1958, soon after the state legislature named the highway after Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. (The short spur to Route 5 at Warm Springs (now SR 262) remained in the state highway system as a branch of Route 69.) As these sections opened, Sign Route 17 (and Legislative Route 69) was moved from its old surface routing, which mostly became local streets. Other than Route 5 south of Warm Springs, the portion from San Leandro into Oakland was also kept as part of Route 105 (now SR 185).

State Route 17

Prior to 1984, the route known as I-880 used to be part of State Route 17. SR 17 used to run from Santa Cruz all the way though San Jose, Oakland; and then continued north via the Eastshore Freeway (Interstate 80) through Richmond to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and San Rafael.

In 1984 the segment of SR 17 from Interstate 280 in San Jose to the MacArthur Maze in Oakland was renumbered as I-880, and the portion of SR 17 from the MacArthur Maze to San Rafael was renumbered as part of I-580.

Nimitz Freeway

In 1947, construction commenced on a freeway to replace the street routing of SR 17 through the East Bay. The new freeway was named the "Eastshore Freeway", and with the subsequent addition of a freeway to replace the Eastshore Highway north of the MacArthur Maze in the mid 1950s, it ran, appropriately, almost the entire length of the east shore of San Francisco Bay. In 1958, the portion south of the MacArthur Maze was re-named the Nimitz Freeway in honor of WWII Admiral Nimitz, while the portion to the north retained the name Eastshore Freeway.

Historic Business U.S. Route 50

The northern portion of I-880 was designated Business U.S. Route 50 for a time between the I-80 interchange and downtown Oakland.

Original routing of I-880 in Sacramento

From 1971 to 1983, Interstate 880 was also the route designation for the Beltline Freeway, the northern bypass freeway for the Sacramento area. This freeway begins in West Sacramento as a fork from the original Interstate 80, continues northeast over the Sacramento River to its interchange with Interstate 5, continues east through the communities of North Sacramento and Del Paso Heights and ends at an interchange with the Roseville Freeway Interstate 80. Watt Avenue, and the now designated Capital City Freeway (which was originally I-80 continuing southwest directly into downtown Sacramento).

Cypress Viaduct Loma Prieta earthquake 1989

A large double-decker section in Oakland, known as the Cypress Street Viaduct, collapsed during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, causing 42 deaths. This was the greatest loss of life caused by that earthquake. Rebuilding the affected section of the freeway took nearly a decade, due to environmental impact concerns, the feeling that the freeway divided the neighborhood, and design considerations. The freeway reopened in 1997 on a new route parallel to railroad tracks around the outskirts of West Oakland.

Although only about three miles (5 km) in length, the replacement freeway cost over $1.2 billion, for several reasons: it crossed over and under the elevated BART line to San Francisco; it squeezed between a post office, the West Oakland BART station, the Port of Oakland, a rail yard, and a sewage treatment plant; it occupied an entirely new right-of-way, which required the acquisition of large amounts of valuable industrial real estate near the Port of Oakland; and of course, it had to be earthquake-proof.

The former path of the structure, Cypress Street, was renamed Mandela Parkway, and the median where the freeway stood became a landscaped linear park.

Flood plains

Several aspects of the I-880 facility have been constructed in designated floodplains such as the 1990 interchange improvements at Dixon Landing Road. In that case the Federal Highway Administration was required to make a finding that there was no feasible alternative to the new ramp system as designed. In that same study, the FHWA produced an analysis to support the fact that adequate wetlands mitigation had been designed into the improvement project.

Sound barriers

Due to high sound levels generated from this highway and the relatively dense urban development in the highway corridor, Caltrans has conducted numerous studies to retrofit the right-of-way with noise barriers. This activity has occurred in Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Newark and Fremont. For example in the 1989 widening of I-880 in parts of Newark and Fremont, scientific studies were conducted to determine the need for sound walls and to design optimum heights to achieve Federal noise standards.

Gasoline Tanker Accident in 2007

On Sunday, April 29, 2007, a gasoline tanker overturned and caught fire on the connector between westbound I-80 and southbound I-880 on the MacArthur Maze interchange. The fire caused major damage to both this connector and one directly above (eastbound I-80 onto eastbound I-580). The overpass was replaced and re-opened 27 days later. The governor declared it as a State of emergency and all public transportation was free on the first commute day.

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
Santa Clara
(SCL 0.00-10.50)
San Jose 0.00 1A Continuation beyond I-280
0.00 1B Southbound exit and northbound entrance
0.41 1C Stevens Creek Boulevard, West San Carlos Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance
1.25 1D Bascom Avenue – Santa Clara Signed as exits 1A (south) and 1B (north) northbound
2.08 2
2.67 3 Coleman Avenue – Mineta San Jose International Airport
3.57 4A First Street – Downtown San Jose
4.08 4 Signed as exits 4B (south) and 4C (north)
4.28 4D Gish Road Southbound exit is part of exit 4C
5.34 5 Brokaw Road
6.71 7 CR G4/Montague Expressway
Milpitas 7.69 8A Great Mall Parkway, Tasman Drive
8.42 8B Signed as exits 8B (east) and 8C (west) southbound
10.41 10 Dixon Landing Road
(ALA R0.00-R35.47)
Fremont 2.28 12
3.25 13B Fremont Boulevard South, Cushing Parkway
4.71 15 Auto Mall Parkway
6.24 16 Stevenson Boulevard
7.19 17 Mowry Avenue – Central Fremont
8.84 19 South end of SR 84 overlap
10.30 21 North end of SR 84 overlap
Union City 11.40 22 Fremont Boulevard North, Alvarado Boulevard
13.05 23 Alvarado Niles Road
13.67 24 Whipple Road, Dyer Street
Hayward 14.54 25 Industrial Parkway Northbound exit is via exit 24
15.65 26 Tennyson Road
16.70 27
17.60 28 Winton Avenue
18.35 29 A Street – San Lorenzo
San Lorenzo 20.16 30 Hesperian Boulevard Northbound exit and southbound entrance
20.32 30 Lewelling Boulevard – San Lorenzo Southbound exit and northbound entrance
San Leandro 20.68 31A Signed as exit 31 southbound
20.82 31B Washington Avenue Southbound exit is part of exit 31
22.84 33 Marina Boulevard Signed as exits 33A (east) and 33B (west)
23.64 34 Davis Street (SR 112)
Oakland 24.77 35 98th Avenue – Oakland International Airport
25.50 36 Hegenberger Road – Oakland Coliseum, Oakland International Airport
26.61 37 66th Avenue, Zhone Way – Oakland Coliseum
27.71 38 High Street – Alameda (SR 77)
39A 29th Avenue, Fruitvale Avenue – Alameda
28.93 39B 23rd Avenue – Alameda
40 Embarcadero, Fifth Avenue, 16th Avenue No northbound entrance
31.09 41A Oak Street, Lakeside Drive Northbound exit and southbound entrance
31.2 Jackson Street Northbound entrance only
31.6 41B Broadway – Downtown Oakland (SR 61) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
31.68 42A Northbound exit and southbound entrance
32.1 42B Market Street – Harbor Terminal Northbound exit and southbound entrance
R32.79 42 Broadway – Alameda (SR 61) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
44 7th Street, West Grand Avenue
R34.18 46A Northbound exit and southbound entrance
R35.47 46B Northbound exit and southbound entrance


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