California State Route 160

California State Route 160

State Route 160 marker

State Route 160
North Sacramento Freeway, River Road
Route information
Defined by S&HC § 460
Maintained by Caltrans
Length: 49.651 mi[1] (79.906 km)
History: State highway in 1910 and 1933; became SR 24 in the 1930s and SR 160 in 1964
Section 1
South end: SR 4 in Antioch
SR 12 near Rio Vista
North end: Sacramento south city limit
Section 2
South end: 16th Street Bridge over the American River
North end: I-80 Bus. in Sacramento
Highway system

State highways in California(list • pre-1964)
History • Unconstructed • Deleted • Freeway • Scenic

SR 158 SR 161

State Route 160 is a state highway in the U.S. state of California consisting of two sections. The longer, southern, section is a scenic highway through the alluvial plain of the Sacramento River, linking SR 4 in Antioch with Sacramento via the Antioch Bridge. The northern section, separated by the southern by Sacramento city streets, is the North Sacramento Freeway, running from the 16th Street Bridge over the American River to Interstate 80 Business towards Roseville.

This northern section was deleted from the definition in the Streets and Highways Code in 2003, when the relinquished portion through downtown Sacramento was also removed, but it is still maintained and signed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) as SR 160. This portion is also part of the California Freeway and Expressway System, as is the piece south of SR 12 near Rio Vista, though, of the latter, only the southernmost piece in Antioch is built to freeway standards. The entire southern portion, from SR 4 to Sacramento, is part of the State Scenic Highway System.


Route description

The 1949 Three Mile Slough Bridge

State Route 160 begins in eastern Antioch at the point where SR 4 leaves the freeway onto Main Street. After one interchange, with Wilbur Avenue, the highway rises onto the two lane Antioch Bridge over the San Joaquin River. It cuts north across the center of Sherman Island, reaching the Sacramento River on the opposite shore. From here to Sacramento, SR 160 never strays far from the river, first following the east levee over the 1949[2] Three Mile Slough Bridge (a lift bridge), past Brannan Island State Recreation Area, and across SR 12 opposite the river from Rio Vista. After passing Isleton, the highway crosses the river on the Isleton Bridge, a bascule bridge built in 1923,[2] and runs along the west shore on Grand Island, where it meets the east end of SR 220. The Walnut Grove Bridge carries County Route J11 east across the river to Walnut Grove, and, at the north end of the island, SR 160 crosses the 1924[2] Steamboat Slough Bridge onto Sutter Island and then the 1923[2] Paintersville Bridge across the Sacramento River to the mainland, both bascule bridges.[3]

On the mainland, SR 160 once again runs atop the east levee, now 1-2 miles (1.5-3 km) west of Interstate 5. The final bridge over the river is the Freeport Bridge, which carries County Route E9 to the west levee, where it turns south to return to SR 160 at the west end of the Paintersville Bridge. About a mile (1.5 km) beyond the Freeport Bridge, SR 160 leaves the levee, enters the city of Sacramento (where state maintenance and control ends), passes under I-5, and farms give way to suburbs. Here the former SR 160 is known as Freeport Boulevard, a major surface road that passes the Sacramento Executive Airport and Sacramento City College. Freeport Boulevard turns to the northwest at about 4th Avenue. It was formerly a one-way pair with 21st Street with Freeport heading one-way southbound and 21st heading one-way northbound. The city converted these streets back to two-way streets for traffic calming purposes in 2008.[4] After a short jog west on Broadway, former SR 160 turns north on the one-way pair of 15th (southbound) and 16th (northbound) Streets, almost immediately crossing Business 80 and entering downtown Sacramento.[3]

15th and 16th Streets lead traffic north past the east side of the State Capitol grounds, which lie between L and N Streets. At F Street, the path of southbound SR 160 jogged west for three blocks to 12th Street; both 12th and 16th Streets pass under the Union Pacific Railroad's Martinez Subdivision (where B Street would be) in four-lane subways, but 15th Street dead-ends. 12th Street remains a one-way southbound roadway, but the two-way RT Light Rail now occupies its east side. 12th Street turns northeast at North B Street, and the two directions of former SR 160 come together at Richards Boulevard, just south of the 16th Street Bridge over the American River and the south end of the state-maintained North Sacramento Freeway. The light rail, which crosses the river between the two directions of SR 160, soon leaves at the Del Paso Boulevard interchange as the freeway turns east. Two folded diamonds at local streets and a northbound-only entrance ramp from Tribute Road are all that remains before SR 160 merges with Business 80 at the Arden Way interchange. Business 80 is now known as the Capital City Freeway here.[3]


Sacramento River levee road before.jpg
Sacramento River levee road after.jpg
The county road along the Sacramento River levee in 1916 and 1919

In the late 1910s, Sacramento County improved the county road along the levee of the Sacramento River between Sacramento and Rio Vista, which crossed the river twice on free ferries near Paintersville and Isleton.[5] A toll ferry across the San Joaquin River connected Sherman Island, south of Rio Vista, with Antioch, where drivers could head west through the Broadway Tunnel to reach the San Francisco Bay, but the road between Rio Vista and the ferry was poor.[6][7] In 1922, the Victory Highway Association selected this "Netherlands Route" (through what was locally promoted as the "Netherlands of America") for the Victory Highway west of Sacramento, as it was both shorter than the Lincoln Highway route via Stockton and more scenic. In particular, the river district would "impress [the motorist] with the enormous productive resources of this state as well as supply him with an unmatched scenic drive", and the Broadway Tunnel approach to the bay would bring him "over the Victory Highway to the end of his journey in such a fashion that he will never forget the view spread before him as he first comes into sight of the San Francisco Bay region".[8]

The 1923 Isleton Bridge

Two bascule bridges—the Paintersville Bridge and Isleton Bridge—replaced the free ferries in 1923, and are of a type patented by Joseph B. Strauss, who went on to design the Golden Gate Bridge.[9][10] Local businessmen Aven Hanford and Oscar Klatt replaced the toll ferry with the tolled Antioch Bridge in mid-1926,[11][12] almost a year before they opened the larger Carquinez Bridge to the west.[13] The counties of Contra Costa and Sacramento organized a joint highway district in November 1925 to fund an improvement of the northern approach from Rio Vista;[14] the concrete highway was completed in July 1927, creating a fully paved continuous route between Sacramento and the bay.[15]

The legislature added this road to the state highway system in 1933, and it became part of Legislative Route 11, which had stretched east from Sacramento along US 50.[16][17] This part of Route 11 was not assigned a sign route number in 1934,[18] but, by 1937, when the new Broadway Low Level Tunnel opened, it was part of Sign Route 24. That route had initially begun at Woodland and traveled northeast and east through the Feather River Canyon, and was extended southeast from Woodland along Sign Route 16 to Sacramento and then south and west via Antioch to the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge approach in Berkeley.[19][20] The California Freeway and Expressway System was formed in 1959, and included in the planned upgrades was the road between Antioch and Rio Vista. (North of Rio Vista the present SR 84 was part of the system.)[21] The entire length was included in the State Scenic Highway System in 1963.[22] In the 1964 renumbering, the Antioch-Sacramento roadway was split between two routes: Route 84 from Antioch to SR 12 near Rio Vista, and Route 160 from SR 12 to Sacramento.[23] However, the entire route was marked as SR 160,[24] and in 1981 the legislative definition was changed to reflect this.[25]

The part of SR 160 through and north of downtown Sacramento began as part of Legislative Route 3, which was added to the state highway system under the first bond issue, passed in 1910,[26] and left the city on the 16th Street Bridge over the American River, following Del Paso Boulevard, El Camino Avenue, and Auburn Boulevard to Roseville.[5][27] (The short piece from the end of Route 3 near the State Capitol south to Broadway and Freeport Boulevard was Route 4, which followed SR 99 towards Los Angeles.[28]) Route 3 between Sacramento and Roseville was also part of the Victory Highway, and was marked as part of US 40 in 1928[29] and US 99E in 1929.[30] The North Sacramento Freeway opened on October 6, 1947, bypassing this route from the bridge to Auburn Boulevard near Ben Ali.[31] In 1955, the Elvas Freeway opened from the midpoint of the North Sacramento Freeway to the east side of downtown,[32] and US 99E was moved off the south half of the older North Sacramento Freeway and onto the Elvas Freeway.[28] The North Sacramento Freeway was included in the California Freeway and Expressway System when it was created in 1959,[33] and the part of Route 3 southwest of the Elvas Freeway, which carried I-80, became part of SR 160 in the 1964 renumbering.[23]

By 2000, the city of Sacramento maintained the non-freeway portion of SR 160 within the city limits under a contract with Caltrans. However, since Caltrans's main goal is to move traffic efficiently, the city was not able to carry out pedestrian-friendly projects that they and local residents wanted. Under a law passed in July 1999, Caltrans was authorized to relinquish any part of Route 160 within the city limits to Sacramento.[34][35] The two agencies agreed, and on October 19, 2000 the portion from the south city limits to the American River became the full responsibility of the city.[36] A 2003 amendment to the Streets and Highways Code erroneously deleted not only this part, but the North Sacramento Freeway as well.[37]

A project to convert the former southbound-only Richards Boulevard access just south of the American River to a standard signalized intersection was completed in August 2007; this improves access to existing and future development in the area, including redevelopment of a former rail yard,[38] while slowing northbound traffic heading for the bridge and freeway.[36] Another project converting Freeport Boulevard and 21st Street south of Broadway into two-way streets was also completed. 21st Street has carried northbound traffic since 1974, when Caltrans took it over. This will calm traffic while improving the intersection at the south end of the former one-way pair, which the RT Light Rail now crosses 21st Street just to the north of.[39][40] In addition, the three blocks of F Street that carried southbound SR 160 from 12th Street to 15th Street have been calmed by the addition of a roundabout at 13th Street.[3]

Major intersections

Note: Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured in 1964, based on the alignment as it (and Route 84 south of Route 12) 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
Contra Costa
CC 0.00-1.33
Antioch 0.00 1 SR 4 – Martinez, Oakland, Brentwood, Stockton Southbound exit and northbound entrance; signed as exits 1A (west) and 1B (east)
0.49 1C Wilbur Avenue Signed as exit 1 northbound
0.55 North end of freeway
1.33 Antioch Bridge over San Joaquin River
SAC L0.00-47.05
L6.98 Three Mile Slough Bridge over Three Mile Slough
SR 12 – Lodi, Rio Vista
5.95 Isleton Bridge over Sacramento River
Ryde 11.46 SR 220 – Hogback Island
Walnut Grove 14.16 CR J11 (Walnut Grove Bridge) – Locke, Thornton, Stockton
19.76 Steamboat Slough Bridge over Steamboat Slough
CR E9 (Sutter Slough Bridge Road)
20.98 Paintersville Bridge over Sacramento River
Hood 26.25 I-5 (CA).svg Hood Franklin Road to I-5
34.07 CR E9 (Freeport Bridge) – Clarksburg
35.05 North end of state maintenance at Sacramento south city limit
35.85 I-5 (CA).svg Meadowview Road, Pocket Road to I-5
36.85 Florin Road
38.92 Fruitridge Road
Broadway east, 21st Street – Stockton Broadway east was former SR 99 south
Broadway west, Land Park Drive – Woodland Broadway west was former SR 99 north
41.91 I-80 Bus. east / US 50 east (Capital City Freeway) to SR 99 south / X Street – Reno, Placerville, Fresno
41.95 I-80 Bus. west / US 50 west (Capital City Freeway) to I-5 / W Street – San Francisco
P Street – San Francisco
43.10 J Street
R44.37 Richards Boulevard At-grade intersection; former southbound exit and entrance
R44.46 South end of freeway and state maintenance
16th Street Bridge over American River
R44.62 46A Northgate Boulevard Northbound exit and southbound entrance
R44.98 46B Del Paso Boulevard Northbound left exit and southbound entrance; former US 40 east
45.60 47A Leisure Lane, Canterbury Road
46.16 47B Exposition Boulevard, Royal Oaks Drive
46.33 Tribute Road Northbound entrance only; serves traffic from Exposition Boulevard to I-80 Bus. east because there is no direct ramp
46.58 48 Arden Way Northbound exit and southbound entrance
47.05 I-80 Bus. east (Capital City Freeway) – Roseville, Reno Northbound exit and southbound entrance; former US 99E north / I-80 east
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
     Concurrency terminus     Closed/Former     Incomplete access     Unopened


  1. ^ a b California Department of Transportation, State Truck Route List (XLS file), accessed December 2007
  2. ^ a b c d e California Department of Transportation, Log of Bridges on State Highways, July 2007
  3. ^ a b c d Google Maps street maps and USGS topographic maps, accessed December 2007 via ACME Mapper
  4. ^ "Freeport Boulevard and 21st Street two-way conversions scheduled". Sacramento Business Journal (American City Business Journals, Inc.). 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
  5. ^ a b Ben Blow, California Highways: A Descriptive Record of Road Development by the State and by Such Counties as Have Paved Highways, 1920 ( or Google Books), pp. 206-208
  6. ^ Oakland Tribune, October 16, 1925: "There are three ferries between Antioch and Sacramento of which only one is a pay ferry, and the fare is 75 cents for the automobile and 15 cents for each passenger. With the exception of about eight miles (13 km) on the Sherman island road, the route is paved all the way."
  7. ^ Oakland Tribune, River Road Scenery is Interesting, November 9, 1919: "Upon reaching the Sherman Island terminus of the Antioch ferry, poor road confronts the motorist..."
  8. ^ Oakland Tribune, "Netherlands Route" Selected as Victory Highway Path into Oakland, September 17, 1922
  9. ^ Erin Hallissy, San Francisco Chronicle, Kings of Swing, July 4, 2004, p. A1
  10. ^ Sacramento Bee, Raising the Standard, August 7, 2000, p. B1
  11. ^ Oakland Tribune, Antioch Bridge Opening, June 17, 1926
  12. ^ California Department of Transportation, Toll Bridge Home > Bridges, accessed December 2007
  13. ^ Oakland Tribune, Carquinez Bridge Opened Early to Frustrate Suit, May 19, 1927
  14. ^ Journal of the Senate, Legislature of the State of California, 1942, p. 54
  15. ^ Oakland Tribune, Completion of Victory Road, July 31, 1927
  16. ^ "An act...relating to...the addition of certain highways to the State system.", 1933 chapter 767, p. 2036: "Walnut Creek-Stockton Road near Antioch to Sacramento."
  17. ^ "An act to establish a Streets and Highways Code...", 1935 chapter 29, p. 275: "Route 11 is from Route 75 near Antioch to the Nevada State line near Lake Tahoe via Sacramento, Folsom, Placerville and Sportsman's Hall."
  18. ^ California Highways and Public Works, State Routes will be Numbered and Marked with Distinctive Bear Signs, August 1934
  19. ^ Fresno Bee, New Bay Area Tunnel is Modern Traffic Unit, December 15, 1937
  20. ^ H.M. Gousha Company, San Francisco and Vicinity, 1941
  21. ^ "An act to amend...the Streets and Highways Code, relating to state highways, providing for a California Freeway and Expressway System...", 1959 chapter 1062, p. 3112: "Route 11 from Route 75 to Route 53."
  22. ^ "An act...relating to the state scenic highway system.", 1963 chapter 1788, p. 3603: "Route 11 from: (a) Route 75 near Antioch to Sacramento..."
  23. ^ a b "An act...relating to routes on the state highway system.", 1963 chapter 385, p. 1183: "Route 160 is from Route 84 near Rio Vista to Route 80 near North Sacramento via Sacramento."
  24. ^ California Highways and Public Works, Route Renumbering: New Green Markers Will Replace Old Shields, March-April 1964, p. 11
  25. ^ "An act to amend...the Streets and Highways Code, relating to state highways.", 1981 chapter 292, p. 1418: "Route 160 is from: (a) Route 4 near Antioch to Route 12 near Rio Vista. (b) Route 12 near Rio Vista to Route 51 via Sacramento."
  26. ^ Howe & Peters, Engineers' Report to California State Automobile Association Covering the Work of the California Highway Commission for the Period 1911-1920, pp. 11-13
  27. ^ Map showing roads proposed for permanent improvement by Sacramento County Highway Commission, 1914
  28. ^ a b Division of Highways, Sacramento, 1963
  29. ^ California Highways and Public Works, United States Numbered Highways, January 1928
  30. ^ Fresno Bee, Two Sacramento Valley Highways to be Numbered, August 28, 1929
  31. ^ California State Automobile Association, Motorland, unknown date
  32. ^ Steven M. Avella, Sacramento: Indomitable City, 2003, p. 122
  33. ^ "An act to amend...the Streets and Highways Code, relating to state highways, providing for a California Freeway and Expressway System...", 1959 chapter 1062, p. 3112: "Route 3 from Sacramento to Route 98 near North Sacramento."
  34. ^ Sacramento Bee, Caltrans Considers Giving Up Highway, January 13, 2000, p. N1: "Under a contract with Caltrans, the city Public Works Department maintains State Highway 160 from the American River Bridge south to the city limits."
  35. ^ "An act to amend Section 460 of, and to amend, repeal, and add Section 319 of, the Streets and Highways Code, relating to highways.", 1999 chapter 172
  36. ^ a b Mike McCarthy, Sacramento Business Journal, City ponders slowing down Highway 160, November 9, 2001
  37. ^ "An act...relating to transportation.", 2003 chapter 525: "Route 160 is from Route 4 near Antioch to the southern city limits of Sacramento."
  38. ^ Sacramento, News Release: Project streamlines traffic flow, enhances road safety, August 7, 2007
  39. ^ Sacramento Bee, Editorial: Times change, and so do some midtown streets, August 16, 2007
  40. ^ Sacramento Engineering Services, Freeport Boulevard/21st Street Two-Way Conversion, accessed December 2007
  41. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2001 (the last year before it was updated to remove the relinquished part)
  42. ^ California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, SR-160 Northbound and SR-160 Southbound, accessed December 2007

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