US 101 AT A GLANCE
*Note* I hope to obtain a copy of AASHTO's original list of US routes in order to
verify my information on pre-freeway routing.
US 101 was commissioned in 1926 as one of the original US highways. In Oregon and
Washington it followed just about exactly the same route it does now, starting in Olympia,
Washington and following the coast south. In California, it followed practically the same
route south as it does now to San Francisco, although some sections, like the Avenue of
the Giants have been bypassed. From San Francisco south, it followed El Camino Real, again
along virtually the same route as it follows now to San Diego.
Current Status Outside of California
As far as I can tell, there are no changes to US 101 outside of California. The only
differences would be cosmetic changes to the road and the fact that it now ends at I-5 in
Olympia, WA instead of US 99.
Current Status in California
North of Los Angeles, US 101 has largely remained unchanged. With a few exceptions, it
follows its original path, set down in 1926. Many sections to the north of San Francisco
are being converted from two lane conventional highway to four lane freeway-expressway. In
cities such as Eureka and Crescent City or even San Francisco, US 101 is still the main
street going downtown with signals and all; it offers a valuable glance of how other US
highways went through cities like them before being bypassed by Interstates. In the Bay
Area, US 101 was transferred from El Camino Real (now SR-82) to the Bayshore Fwy (former
Between the Bay Area and Los Angeles, the only change to US 101 has been the upgrade
from two lane road to four lane freeway/expressway during the 1950s - 1970s. Even this has
had little effect as many of the upgrades entailed adding an extra two lane roadway. In
1992, a landmark on this stretch of US 101 was finally eliminated: the last traffic
signals at Santa Barbara were finally removed. It is now possible to go from San Francisco
to Los Angeles along this stretch without ever encountering a traffic signal. However,
this does not mean this highway is now up to Interstate standards, as many people believe.
Much of this highway is still very windy and almost half is still at expressway status,
with at-grade cross streets.
It is south of Los Angeles where US 101 was completely changed. Originally, from 1926
through the 1940s - 1950s, US 101 went nowhere near its final alignment with I-5 from Los
Angeles to southern Orange County. The 1926 route followed old El Camino Real (The King's
Highway) from Santa Rosa to San Diego. From Los Angeles to the Mexican Border, However,
many sections were upgraded to freeways, which altered its course to then it was
decommissioned and replaced by I-5.
Intersections and Co-routing with other US Routes in California
- US 80 / US 395 in San Diego.
- US 101A (southern end) in Dana Point (San Juan Capistrano)
- Co-signed with US 91 in Anaheim.
- BYP US 101 (south) in Anaheim and Los Angeles (1947? - 1956).
- US 60 / US 70 in Los Angeles.
- Cosigned with US 99 in Los Angeles (1947 - 1964).
- Intersection with US 6 in Los Angeles.
- Cosigned with US 66 in Los Angeles.
- US 101A (northern end) in Oxnard.
- US 399 in Ventura.
- Intersection with US 466 in Atascadero.
- BYP US 101 (north) in San Jose and San Francisco(1939 - 1964). Was US 101A (1935-39).
- US 40/US 50 in San Francisco.
- US 299 in Arcata.
- US 199 in Crescent City.
Variations of US 101
- US 101E From San Jose to San Francisco via Hayward and Oakland along roughly what
is now I-880 (former SR-17). This appears to be the original designation from 1926. By
1935, this designation was eliminated and US 101 was consolidated to the San Francisco
Peninsula along US 101 and US 101A (later BYP 101).
- US 101W From San Jose to San Francisco via San Mateo and Daly City along El
Camino Real [SR-82]. Same as above for dates. It followed the path of US 101 (El Camino
Real), which replaced it.
- US 101A (north) After the US 101 E/W scheme was eliminated around 1935, this
route followed US 101W (El Camino Real), while US 101 followed the Bayshore Highway. It
was replaced by 1939 by BYP US 101 and the routing was switched with US 101.
- US 101A (south) From Dana Point (San Juan Capistrano) to Oxnard. Quick and Dirty:
this followed the exact routing of SR-1 from its southern terminus at I-5 to its northern
terminus at US 101. This was originally State Route 3, but US 101A replaced this in the
late 1930s. This section became SR-1 on July 1, 1964. Originally, this was called the
"Roosevelt Highway," but it was named "Pacific Coast Highway" later.
- BYP US 101 (north) From south of San Jose to San Francisco. This is the current
Bayshore Freeway and is now signed as US 101. As far as I can tell, this designation was
added in 1939, replacing US 101A. On July 1, 1964 this was redesignated as US 101 with El
Camino Real becoming SR-82. Fun fact: In the Palo Alto area there are still overhead signs
which have green cover up over the US 101 shield that covers the word "BYP."
- BYP US 101 (south) From Los Angeles to Anaheim. This designation was short lived,
lasting from 1947(?) to 1956. It started at the intersection of intersection of Firestone
Blvd / Manchester Ave. [Santa Ana Fwy.] and Los Angeles St [Anaheim Blvd] - US 101, then
went northwest along Firestone. At the intersection of Lakewood Blvd. (SR-19) it went
north, then west at Anaheim Telegraph [Telegraph] Rd. At [Calzona St?] it went north to
Whittier Blvd (US 101), where it ended. When the Santa Ana Fwy. [I-5] was built in 1954,
it was numbered as BYP US 101 for a short time until it was numbered as US 101.
US 101 GUIDE
South: Mexican Border to Ventura (Under Construction):
Central: Ventura to San Francisco (Future):
North: Golden Gate to Oregon Border (Future).
US 101 PHOTO ALBUM
My US 101 "Photo Album" will eventually have more pictures than for other US
Highways on my site. It will be divided into several sections which will be fine tuned.
Mexican Border to downtown San Diego.
||Features Pacific Highway and alignments dating between
1930 and 1958.
Page 1: Pre-1940
Page 2: 1940-1958
North San Diego and South Orange Counties:
As featured in Logan Jenkins' column in the San Diego Union Tribune!
San Clemente: This page
features photographs of the I-5 freeway which was completed in 1960 and was the last major
section of US 101 to be signed on a new alignment south of Los Angeles.
South Orange County: Covers the original
alignments of US 101 through the construction of the San Diego Freeway in 1959.
Simi Valley: 1930 alignment and 1953
More to come!!
Other US 101 Pages
The Rebirth of U.S.
101 in San Diego? Andrew Field