Interstate 280 in California


Get started San Jose
End San Francisco
Length 57 mi
Length 92 km
1 → Concord / Salinas1AB 11th Street

2 7th Street

3 → Airport

4 Meridian Avenue

5 → Oakland / Monterey

7 Saratoga Avenue

9 Lawrence Expressway

10 Wolfe Road

11 The Anza Boulevard

12 → San Jose Bypass

13 Foothill Expressway

15 Magdalena Avenue

16 El Monte Road

20 Page Mill Road

22 Alpine Road

24 Sand Hill Road

25 Woodside Road

27 Farm Hill Boulevard

29 Edgewood Road

33 → Hayward

34 Bunker Hill Drive

36 Black Mountain Road

39 Trousdale Drive

40 Millbrae Avenue

41 Larkspur Drive

42 Crystal Springs Road

43 → South San Francisco

44 Avalon Drive

45 Westborough Boulevard

46 Hickey Boulevard

47 Pacifica

48 Eastmoor Avenue

49 Daly City

50 Mission Street

51 Geneva Avenue

52 Monterey Boulevard

53 Alemany Boulevard

54 → San Jose / Oakland

55 Cesar Chavez Street

56 Mariposa Street

57 Sixth Street

Interstate 280 or I -280 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of California. The highway forms a north-south connection across the San Francisco Peninsula, the peninsula that separates San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. I-280 connects San Jose and San Francisco, part of the San Francisco Bay Area. The route is one of two north-south highways across the peninsula, the other being US 101, which runs parallel to I-280. US 101 cuts through the suburbs, I-280 runs along the west side. The highway is called by some “the most beautiful highway in the world”. While that claim is easily disputed, I-280 runs through the hilly landscape of the peninsula. The highway is also called Junipero Serra Freeway, and is 92 kilometers long.

  • Topschoolsoflaw: State overview and brief history of California, including its geography and popular cities.

Travel directions

The interchange between I-280 and SR-87 in San Jose.

I-280 near Stanford.

The highway begins at a major interchange with I-680 and US 101, on the east side of San Jose. The city of San Jose is the largest in the San Francisco Bay metropolitan area, with a population of 930,000, significantly more than the better-known city of San Francisco, to which the highway runs. San Jose is the tenth largest city in the United States. The highway has 2×4 lanes here, and it passes right by the center of San Jose. Here one intersects with SR-87, the Guadalupe Parkway, which forms a short north-south highway within San Jose. After this there are 4+5 lanes. On the west side of San Jose, one crosses I-880, the Nimitz Freeway, which runs north to Oakland. SR-17, the Santa Cruz Highway, runs south to the coastal city of Santa Cruz. After this, 2×4 lanes will be available again. This leads to the suburb of Santa Clara, which has a population of 103,000 and is one of the larger suburbs of San Jose. Then you pass Sunnyvale, which has a population of 132,000, and is located in the so-called “Silicon Valley”, a large technology industrial estate, which incidentally is not located directly along the I-280, but is situated more to the north.

At Cupertino you cross the SR-85, which forms more or less a ring around San Jose. This is where the real suburban highway route begins. On the San Francisco Peninsula, the suburbs stretch north-south across the eastern side of the peninsula. Because the peninsula is mountainous and densely forested, it is one long row of suburbs, no wider than about 8 kilometers, but extending for 60 kilometers. One comes through the expensive neighborhoods of Los Altos. Many of the suburbs that are emerging now don’t exceed 30,000 inhabitants, but all together they put a lot of pressure on US 101 and I-280. One passes by Stanford, home to the famous Stanford University.

From Redwood City, I-280 cuts through the San Andreas fault line, with a number of lakes formed here, I-280 is a scenic route. At San Mateo, SR-92 crosses the J. Arthur Younger Freeway, which leads to the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, which crosses San Francisco Bay. Only at San Bruno do you turn back into the suburbs. Here one crosses I-380, one of the shortest highways in California, which runs for only 2 kilometers to US 101. It crosses the suburbs of South San Francisco and Daly City, and joins SR-1, or Cabrillo Highway, in Pacifica. The SR-1 is also called Pacific Coast Highway. From here, 2×6 lanes are available.

It crosses the border with San Francisco, the second largest city in the metropolitan area with 744,000 inhabitants. Here the name changes to John F. Foran Freeway, and the road narrows to 2×4 lanes. It traverses southern San Francisco, and then crosses US 101 at the Alemany Maze Interchange. This junction is complicated, with a number of exits to the underlying street network incorporated. Here, US 101 continues into downtown San Francisco, and Interstate 80 continues toward Oakland and Sacramento. The I-280 then becomes a double-deck highway, passing through a large industrial estate. The highway eventually ends at King Street and 6th Street, just south of downtown San Francisco.

  • thembaprograms: Geography information of California, including animals and plants. Also covers brief history and major cities of the state.


Interstate 280 is built over the San Andreas Fault, an active fault line. The highway was built mainly in the 1960s, the portion in San Jose opened to traffic in 1964. For a long time there was a missing link between Woodside and State Route 92, near Redwood City. This link was not completed until 1973. The highway was originally planned to connect directly to I-80 at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and has been largely constructed, but construction was later halted, just missing I-80. You now have to take the busy US 101.

Opening history

From Unpleasant Length Date
52 San Francisco-San Jose Avenue 54 3 km 00-00-1963
54 56 San Francisco-18th Street 3 km 00-00-1964
50 San Francisco-Alemany Avenue 52 San Francisco-San Jose Avenue 3 km 00-00-1964
5 7 Santa Clara – Saratoga Avenue 3 km 00-00-1964
7 Santa Clara – Saratoga Avenue 12 8 km 00-00-1965
48 Daly City-San Pedro Road 50 San Francisco-Alemany Avenue 3 km 00-00-1965
12 20 Palo Alto-Page Mill Road 13 km 00-00-1967
34 Highlands-Bunker Hill Drive 42 San Bruno-Crystal Springs Avenue 13 km 00-00-1967
44 South San Francisco-Avalon Drive 48 Daly City-San Pedro Road 5 km 00-00-1967
56 San Francisco-18th Street 58 San Francisco King Street 3 km 00-00-1968
20 Palo Alto-Page Mill Road 27 Woodside Farm Hill Boulevard 12 km 00-00-1969
3B San Jose Bird Avenue 4 San Jose-Southwest Expressway 2 km 00-00-1969
33 34 Highlands-Bunker Hill Drive 2 km 00-00-1969
42 San Bruno-Crysal Springs Avenue 44 South San Francisco-Avalon Drive 3 km 00-00-1971
4 San Jose-Southwest Expressway 5 2 km 00-00-1972
0 3B San Jose Bird Avenue 5 km 00-00-1972
27 Woodside Farm Hill Boulevard 33 10 km 00-00-1973

Traffic intensities

Exit Location 2007 2016
Exit 1 San Jose ( I-680 ) 161,000 256,000
Exit 3 San Jose ( SR-87 ) 232,000 241,000
Exit 5 San Jose ( I-880 ) 205,000 220,000
exit 12 Cupertino ( SR-85 ) 137,000 149,000
Exit 24 Menlo Park 95,000 110,000
exit 33 San Mateo ( SR-92 ) 104,000 113,000
exit 43 San Bruno ( I-380 ) 167,000 204,000
exit 47 Daly City 212,000 216,000
Exit 54 San Francisco ( U.S. 101 ) 164,000 174,000
exit 57 San Francisco 48,000 61,000

Interstate 280 in California

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