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Freeway Exit Numbers
updated: Aug 17, 2014, 12:36 PM

By John

Question & Answer

Why do some freeway exit numbers include letters while others don't? For example Milpas & Garden are exits 96A and 96B, respectively. Bath street is exit 97. Carrillo, Arellaga, Mission and Pueblo are 98A, 98B, 99A and 99B, respectively. Las Positas is exit 100.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 545414 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-17 12:41 PM

Two prongs to the answer:

- Exits are sequentially numbered.

- It is easier to add a letter to a number than renumber the entire system whenever a new entry/exit is added.


 COMMENT 545415 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-17 12:41 PM

I believe the numbers correspond to mile markers, so if there are multiple exits within the same mile, they get a letter added to their number to make them unique.


 COMMENT 545420 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-17 12:48 PM

I used to think along the lines of 414's idea but have since jumped onboard with 415's thinking. This mean Las Positas is 100 miles from the start of the 101 freeway in Los Angeles.


 COMMENT 545423P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-17 12:53 PM

I agree with 415.


 COMMENT 545430 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-17 01:17 PM

415 is correct. 414 is incorrect.


 COMMENT 545439P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-17 01:37 PM

415 is right. Look up Wikipedia's "Exit Numbers in the U.S." for a more detailed explanation.


 COMMENT 545483P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-17 03:46 PM

Well, according to that wiki - both 414 and 415 are correct. Some states are sequentially numbered, others mile-based.


 COMMENT 545514 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-17 05:47 PM

Even the mile-based numbering system is sequential so both are correct.


 COMMENT 545521 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-17 06:03 PM

"You, you say one thing, he says another, and everybody changes back again!"


 COMMENT 545602 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-18 09:01 AM

The addition of a letter is simply to distinguish between two off ramps for essentially the same roadway exit (and which also may be about the same distance as the mile markers but that has to do with the number, not the letter). Typically the use of alternative designated exit ramps are for traffic heading in different directions on the same roadway served by the same off ramps and accessed from those two exits or sometimes off ramps linking up with another freeway or highway in complex interchanges and loops of criss-crossing freeways and highways. This is an effort to avoid motorists taking the wrong exit and heading in the wrong direction on roadways or freeways that have limited access. Sometimes, instead of adding a letter A or B, the words are used. e.g. 97 East, 97 West or 101 South or 101 North, etc. The two Milpas Street offramps are to access Milpas St. Southbound (you can't go North), next, Milpas Northbound (you can't go South).


 RHS agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-18 10:17 AM

Increasingly irrelevant in the world of GPS. Locals know where they're going and don't need numbers. Strangers don't pay any attention to them. DMV should stop any further efforts on this and save some money but could be that it is required by federal grants.


 PARKIEP agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-18 10:59 AM

A few years ago I drove from here to the East coast. Most states I passed thru had the exits numbered in accordance with the mile posts. And one state, I think it was Pennsylvania, actually CHANGED from sequential to mile posts. Having them agree with the mile posts is much more useful. Why did California choose sequential? A few years ago I tried to find out who in Sacramento was responsible for the decision. I never got an answer!


 CATCHER.RYE-22 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-18 03:09 PM

To many of us who have been around Southern Cal for awhile, the "101 Freeway" was more commonly known as the "Ventura Freeway". Apparently, Cal Trans, in its autocratic, beaurocratic and bloated wisdom has successfully done away with the historic place names for freeways. The Ventura Freeway, San Diego Freeway, Santa Monica Freeway, Pasadena Freeway and others are sadly now known just by their charmless digital designations.


 COMMENT 545709 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-18 03:09 PM

PARKIEP: California uses mile post numbers for their exit numbers.


 COMMENT 545712P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-18 03:22 PM

Was it Caltrans in its autocratic, bureaucratic and bloated wisdom actually that actually did away with the historic names, or are those names just used less by drivers and others, or are those names still used by drivers in Los Angeles? What is the evidence that those names have been done away with or are no longer used?

"Interstate 10 (I-10), the major east–west Interstate Highway in the Southern United States, runs in the U.S. state of California east from Santa Monica, on the Pacific Ocean, through Los Angeles and San Bernardino to the border with Arizona. In the greater Los Angeles area, it is known as the Santa Monica Freeway and the San Bernardino Freeway, linked by a short concurrency on Interstate 5 (the Golden State Freeway) at the East Los Angeles Interchange. At the East LA Interchange, a short piece of the San Bernardino Freeway west of I-5 is part of the legislative definition of Route 10, but does not carry signage, rather westbound I-10 traffic is directed south on Interstate 5 towards the Santa Monica Freeway. This section of freeway, once a short Interstate 110 until 1968, is signed for I-10 eastbound and for U.S. Route 101 (its terminus, at the Santa Ana Freeway) westbound.

Interstate 10 has portions designated as either the Rosa Parks Freeway, Santa Monica Freeway, San Bernardino Freeway, or Redlands Freeway."



 COMMENT 545716P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-18 03:27 PM

Btw, if you check the wikipedia page link in the previous post, there is a photo of a huge sign with the words "Santa Monica Fwy."


 COMMENT 545813 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-19 08:40 AM

Oddly, there is no signage of any kind for Interstate 10-West on the southbound 101 freeway. Only signs for Interstate 10-East exist. People have to magically know that the 110 freeway is how you get to Interstate 10-West when heading south on the 101. I never understood why there are no signs for such a major freeway.


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