A 36-Lane Freeway Between Oakland and San Francisco? There Was a Plan for That

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Cartoon: an overhead view of a huge freeway across the Bay. "What th'?! There were plans for a 36-lane freeway between Oakland & SF (in the 1940s).

Picture a 36-lane freeway built on bay fill just south of the Bay Bridge.

That was the plan dreamed up by John Reber, a playwright and director, and Leon H. Nishkian, a celebrated structural engineer, who were involved in projects ranging from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Hetch Hetchy water system.

To put the size of this paved monstrosity into perspective, Interstate 405 in Los Angeles is around 20-lanes wide near LA International Airport.

But wait, there's more!

The proposed bay freeway would have also had 640-foot-wide strips on either side of it, each designated an "industrial area." (You know, for all those industrial things you wanted to do in the shadow of the Bay Bridge.)

The freeway and industrial areas would form a strip of land over five football fields wide across the bay, largely sealing off the southern section of the body of water in the process.

At least nobody can accuse Reber and Nishkian of thinking small.

Thankfully, the location of the planned causeway is still occupied by water, seals and fish.