Interstate 280 (California)

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A view of the scenic portion of 280.

Interstate 280, also known as the Junipero Serra Freeway, is a 57-mile-long (92 km) interstate highway in the San Francisco Bay Area metropolitan area of Northern California. It runs from the U.S. Highway 101/Interstate 680 interchange in San Jose to the South of Market area in San Francisco, just south of SBC Park (home of the San Francisco Giants).

In between San Jose and San Francisco, Interstate 280 passes through Santa Clara, Cupertino, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills before it settles along its scenic route just to the west of the cities of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Mateo County and just to the east of the Santa Cruz Mountains. When Interstate 280 re-emerges in a decidedly urbanized area, it does so in the city of San Bruno and the interstate passes through South San Francisco and Daly City before it runs across a southeastern swath of the city of San Francisco on the way to its northern terminus.

Interstate 280, or at least the segment between Cupertino and San Bruno, has been called "the most beautiful freeway in the world." Drivers along this portion of Interstate 280 are treated to scenic views of the Santa Cruz Mountains to their west, and are isolated by hills from the suburban sprawl that lies just to their east. Through much of this segment, the freeway is actually running just inside the eastern rim of the canyon of the San Andreas Fault. A particularly attractive six mile stretch of the freeway from Hillsborough to Belmont provides a beautiful look at Crystal Springs Reservoir, formed by water piped hundreds of miles from Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, filling the bottom of the fault canyon.

For nearly all of its length, Interstate 280 runs roughly parallel and several miles to the west of U.S. Highway 101 (designated as the Bayshore Freeway). Both freeways are north-south routes connecting San Jose with San Francisco; however, unlike I-280, the route that U.S. 101 takes between the two cities goes entirely through urbanized areas. The majority of the population of the San Francisco Peninsula lives somewhere between Interstate 280 and U.S. 101.

Interestingly, I-280 never intersects with its ostensible "parent" interstate, I-80. The northern terminus of I-280 is within about a mile of I-80's western terminus (at the approach to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge), but the two interstates do not actually intersect. Although San Francisco has had several opportunities to connect I-280 to I-80, it has chosen to use the money for other purposes. Connecting the two freeways is considered to be politically and financially infeasible at this time, due to the city's strong anti-freeway stance.

Most of Interstate 280, from San Jose to San Bruno, is designated as the Junipero Serra Freeway in honor of Spanish missionary Junípero Serra, who founded many of California's missions in the 18th century. A 26-foot high faux-sandstone statue of Father Serra kneeling and pointing over the freeway is located at a highway rest area between the Bunker Hill Drive and Black Mountain Road exits on northbound I-280 in Hillsborough, and can be clearly seen by drivers in both directions. The segment of Interstate 280 within San Francisco proper is designated as the John F. Foran Freeway.


External link


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