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Hollywood Freeway

Hollywood Freeway
Route information
Maintained by Caltrans
Length: 17 mi (27 km)
US 101 from Downtown Los Angeles to North Hollywood
SR 170 from North Hollywood to Sun Valley
Major junctions
South end: US 101 / SR 110 in Downtown Los Angeles
  US 101 / SR 134 / SR 170 in North Hollywood
North end: I‑5 in Sun Valley
Highway system
SR 169 170 SR 172

The Hollywood Freeway is one of the principal freeways of Los Angeles, California (the boundaries of which it does not leave) and one of the busiest in the United States. It is the principal route over the Cahuenga Pass, the primary shortcut between the Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley. It is considered one of the most important freeways in the history of Los Angeles and instrumental in the development of the San Fernando Valley.[1] It is the second oldest freeway in Los Angeles (after the Arroyo Seco Parkway).[1] From its southern end at the East Los Angeles Interchange to its intersection with the Ventura Freeway in the southeastern San Fernando Valley (the Hollywood Split), it is signed as part of U.S. Route 101. It is then signed as State Route 170 north to its terminus at the Golden State Freeway (Interstate 5).


  • Route description 1
  • History 2
  • Exit list 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Route description

The freeway runs from the Four Level Interchange in downtown Los Angeles to the Golden State Freeway in the Sun Valley district of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. From the Four Level Interchange to its intersection with the Ventura Freeway in the southeastern San Fernando Valley (also known as the Hollywood split), the freeway is signed as part of U.S. Route 101; thereafter, it is signed as State Route 170.

Near the Hollywood Split

The intersection of the Hollywood and Pasadena Freeways, known as the Four Level Interchange, is one of the major landmarks in Los Angeles and a symbol of the city's post-World War II development.

The entire route is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System.[2]

SR 170 begins its northbound route at the junction with the Ventura Freeway. SR 134 heads to the east and US 101 continues to the west. On the southbound side, a sign indicates "END Route 170." Curiously, there is no interchange from SR 134 West to US 101 South. This connector route was put on hold pending the construction of the Laurel Canyon Freeway, which never came to fruition. Motorists intending to go in that direction must exit SR 134 at Cahuenga Boulevard, make a left, continue on Lankershim Blvd. and follow the signs near Universal Studios to re-enter on US 101. Likewise, there is no interchange from US 101 North to SR 134 East. Motorists intending to go in that direction must exit US 101 at Vineland Ave., make a right, make another right on Riverside Dr. and enter SR 134 on the left. This interchange is also known as the "Hollywood Split."

SR 170 then continues through the northeastern portion of the San Fernando Valley, finally merging onto northbound I-5. There is no connector route to I-5 South because the angle between the two freeways is too acute.

There are HOV lanes in operation 24 hours a day in each direction of SR-170 between I-5 and the Hollywood Split interchange. As part of the I-5 improvements, construction has begun on the interchange of SR 170 and I-5 to make the current SR 170 carpool lanes connect with the proposed I-5 carpool lanes. This as well as improve traffic flow in and out of the interchange. When the I-5 improvements are completed, SR 170 carpoolers will be able to connect with the I-5 carpool lanes as well as the SR-14 carpool lanes (from the I-5) without merging into regular lanes.


Plans for the Hollywood Freeway officially began in 1924 when Los Angeles voters approved a "stop-free express highway" between Downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.[1] The first segment of the Hollywood Freeway built was a one and a half mile stretch through the Cahuenga Pass. That segment opened on June 15, 1940. It was then known as the "Cahuenga Pass Freeway." Pacific Electric Railway trolleys ran down the center of this freeway until 1952. The next section of the freeway that stretched from the San Fernando Valley to Downtown Los Angeles opened on April 16, 1954 at a cost of $55 million. The final section, north of the Ventura Freeway to the Golden State Freeway was completed in 1968.[1]

Hollywood freeway through the Cahuenga Pass in 1972

A year after the Hollywood Freeway opened, it was used by an average of 183,000 vehicles a day, almost double the capacity it was designed to carry. Actor Bob Hope called it the "biggest parking lot in the world" in his routine.[1]

The segment through Hollywood was the first to be built through a heavily populated area and requiring the moving or demolition of many buildings, including Rudolph Valentino's former home in Whitley Heights. The freeway was also designed to curve around KTTV Studios and Hollywood Presbyterian Church.[1] Much of the rubble and debris from the buildings removed for the freeway's construction was dumped into Chávez Ravine, the current home to Dodger Stadium.[1]

In 1967, the Hollywood Freeway was the first freeway in California that had ramp meters.[1]

Near the Vermont Avenue exit, there's a seemingly over-wide center strip now filled with trees. This is where the never-built Beverly Hills Freeway was to merge with the Hollywood Freeway. Plans for the Beverly Hills Freeway were halted in the 1970s.[3]

Hollywood Freeway at night with Downtown L.A. in the background.

The Hollywood Freeway is an expansion of the original Cahuenga Parkway, a short six-lane freeway that ran through the Cahuenga Pass between Hollywood and Studio City. The Cahuenga Parkway featured Pacific Electric Railway "Red Car" tracks in its median, but by the 1950s these tracks were out of service due to radical reductions in Red Car service. The Pacific Electric right-of-way later accommodated an additional lane in each direction.

The second location of Los Angeles High School was in the path of the freeway. The school moved to its third and current location in 1917. The school buildings were converted into a school for boys with truancy problems until 1948, when it was demolished to make way for the freeway.[4]

The Hollywood Freeway is Routes 101 and 170 from Route 110 (Four Level Interchange) to Route 5.[5]

SR 170 was originally supposed to run from the I-5 interchange to I-405 near the Los Angeles International Airport as the Laurel Canyon Freeway under the Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Crescent Heights Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard alignments of today. In fact, much of La Cienega Blvd. between Manchester Avenue and Venice Blvd. was constructed to freeway standards, with several grade-separated interchanges, although it is now an expressway maintained by Los Angeles County.

California's legislature has relinquished state control of the segment of SR 170 along Highland Avenue, and thus that portion is now maintained by the City of Los Angeles.[6]

Exit list

Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured on the road as it was in 1964, based on the alignment that existed at the time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. R reflects a realignment in the route since then, M indicates a second realignment, L refers an overlap due to a correction or change, and T indicates postmiles classified as temporary (for a full list of prefixes, see the list of postmile definitions).[7] Segments that remain unconstructed or have been relinquished to local control may be omitted. The entire route is in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County.

Destinations Notes
1.57 US 101 south to I‑5 south (Santa Ana Freeway) / I‑10 east (San Bernardino Freeway) / SR 60 east (Pomona Freeway) Continuation beyond SR 110
1.62 3B SR 110 north (Pasadena Freeway) / I‑110 south (Harbor Freeway) – Pasadena, San Pedro Signed as exit 3 northbound; south end of Hollywood Fwy; SR 110 exit 24A
2.48 4A Glendale Boulevard, Echo Park Avenue, Union Avenue, Belmont Avenue
2.86 4B SR 2 east (Alvarado Street) South end of SR 2 overlap
3.34 5A Rampart Boulevard, Benton Way
3.76 5B Silver Lake Boulevard
4.40 6A Vermont Avenue
4.85 6B Melrose Avenue, Normandie Avenue
5.55 7 SR 2 west (Santa Monica Boulevard) / Western Avenue North end of SR 2 overlap
6.25 8A Sunset Boulevard No northbound entrance
6.52 8B Hollywood Boulevard
6.91 8C Gower Street
7.06 9A Vine Street Southbound exit only
7.46 9B Cahuenga BoulevardHollywood Bowl No northbound entrance; signed as exit 9A northbound
7.84 9C Highland AvenueHollywood Bowl signed as exit 9B northbound
9.22 11A Barham Boulevard – Burbank Signed as exit 11 southbound
9.60 11B Universal Studios Boulevard Northbound exit and entrance; serves Universal Studios Hollywood
10.34 12A Lankershim BoulevardUniversal City
10.56 12B Ventura Boulevard No southbound exit
11.11 12C Vineland Avenue Signed as exit 12B southbound
11.65 13B SR 134 east (Ventura Freeway) – Pasadena Southbound exit and northbound entrance; signed as exit 5B on SR 170; SR 134 west exits 1A
North end of US 101 overlap; south end of SR 170; signed as exit 5A on SR 170 southbound
R14.50 US 101 north (Ventura Freeway) – Ventura Northbound exit and southbound entrance
R14.78 6A Riverside Drive Southbound exit and northbound entrance
R15.37 6B Magnolia Boulevard – North Hollywood Signed as exit 6 northbound
R15.99 7 Burbank Boulevard
R16.63 8A Oxnard Street
R17.25 8B Victory Boulevard
R18.27 9 Sherman Way
R19.72 10 Roscoe Boulevard
R20.10 11A Sheldon Street Northbound exit and southbound entrance
R20.55 11B I‑5 north (Golden State Freeway) – Sacramento Northbound exit and southbound entrance; north end of SR 170/Hollywood Fwy; I-5 south exit 153B
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Simon, Richard (December 19, 1994). "Hollywood Freeway Spans Magic and Might of L.A.".  
  2. ^ CA Codes (shc:250-257)
  3. ^ "Highways From Hell".  
  4. ^ "Problem Boys All Won't Be Sent to Belmont High School." Los Angeles Times. Sep. 3, 1948. p. A 1
  5. ^ 2007 Named Freeways, Highways, Structures and Other Appurtenances in California (PDF).  
  6. ^ "CA Codes (shc:300-635)". Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  7. ^ a b California Department of Transportation. "State Truck Route List". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original ( 
  8. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
  9. ^ California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, US-101 Northbound and US-101 Southbound, accessed January 2008
  10. ^ California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, SR-170 Northbound and SR-170 Southbound, accessed January 2008

External links

  • California @ AARoads - State Route 170
  • Caltrans: Route 170 highway conditions
  • California Highways: SR 170
  • La Cienega Freeway
  • Builders Of The Broad Highway Film showing Cahuenga Parkway c1940 construction (~4:22 onwards)
  • LAistory: Pilgrimage Bridge Cahuenga Parkway completion details
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