The Local Highway Change-Up

Many of us take the Bay Area freeways to come to school, whether coming from the East Bay, the South Bay, or the Peninsula.  One interchange that we have come to know very well is the junction of  I-280 and I-880/CA-17.  This is a direct route for many people coming to Bellarmine.  However, as many have noticed, the 45-year old interchange is almost always severely backed up in both the morning and evening commute hours, with traffic often at a standstill on the flyover bridges and ramps that many of us use to come to school.  The San Jose Mercury News calls the interchange “One of the biggest traffic headaches of the South Bay,” with a “tangled mess” of flyovers and ramps. To address traffic problems, the city government has put together funds for an extremely expensive $150 million, 10-year renovation of the widely used interchange, which will hopefully ease up traffic and allow for people to move smoothly from freeway to freeway.

From the San Jose Mercury News

The interchange, as many have already noticed, has been under construction for the past three years already, with work mainly being done at the Stevens Creek ramps on Interstate 880. The project calls to increase the amount of lanes in the Stevens Creek exit ramp from I-880 south to five lanes, with one lane going directly into the popular Valley Fair Mall without entering Stevens Creek at all.  These steps have been in answer to the extremely long backups during the holiday season on 880 due to Valley Fair traffic. The next phase of the plan would be to reconfigure the Stevens Creek freeway entrance ramp onto I-880, allowing for people to move more smoothly from Stevens Creek to either I-280 or SR 17.  After that, there will be a new ramp made from SR-17 north to I-280 north, allowing for a longer merge.  Also, a new flyover will connect I-280 north to I-880 north so that traffic from 280 to 880 doesn’t get caught up in traffic going from 880 north to Stevens Creek.

One of the biggest changes that will be made is the new flyover ramp from I-280 north to Tisch Way and, ultimately, to Winchester Boulevard, giving motorists going north on 280 a chance to exit onto Winchester, which leads directly into Santana Row, another popular destination for parties and shopping.

The new interchange will provide for much better access in the area and let traffic flow easily on flyovers, ramps, and the main freeways, greatly benefiting the Bay Area and Bellarmine students.



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