Hollywood Freeway

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 through 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.[2] It is the second oldest freeway in Los Angeles (after the Arroyo Seco Parkway).[2] From its southern end at the Four Level 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 (SR 170) north to its terminus at the Golden State Freeway (Interstate 5).

Hollywood Freeway
Hollywood Freeway highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Caltrans
Length17 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 169SR 172

State Route 170
LocationLos Angeles
Length7.0 mi[1] (11 km)

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. Afterwards, it is signed as State Route 170 until its northern terminus at Interstate 5.

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.

California State Route 170

SR 170 begins its northbound route at the junction with the Ventura Freeway, continuing the freeway northwards. US 101 leaves the freeway, merging onto the Ventura Freeway and heads west. SR 134 continues the Ventura Freeway, heading east. 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. There is a direct connection from the northbound SR-170 HOV lanes onto the northbound I-5 HOV lanes, as well as from the southbound I-5 HOV lanes onto the southbound SR-170 HOV lanes. This makes it possible to connect with the I-5 HOV lanes as well as the SR-14 HOV lanes (from the I-5) without merging into regular lanes.

Both this portion of US 101 and the entirety of SR 170 are part of the California Freeway and Expressway System,[3] and are part of the National Highway System,[4] a network of highways that are considered essential to the country's economy, defense, and mobility by the Federal Highway Administration.[5]


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.[2] 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.[2]

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.[2]

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.[2] 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.[2]

In 1967, the Hollywood Freeway was the first freeway in California that had ramp meters.[2]

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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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).[9] Segments that remain unconstructed or have been relinquished to local control may be omitted. The entire route is in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County.

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
1.623B SR 110 (Arroyo Seco Parkway) to I-110 south (Harbor Freeway) Pasadena, San PedroSigned as exit 3 northbound; south end of Hollywood Fwy; SR 110 exit 24A
2.484AGlendale Boulevard, Echo Park Avenue, Union Avenue, Belmont Avenue
2.864B SR 2 east (Alvarado Street)South end of SR 2 overlap
3.345ARampart Boulevard, Benton Way
3.765BSilver Lake Boulevard
4.406AVermont Avenue
4.856BMelrose Avenue, Normandie Avenue
5.557 SR 2 west (Santa Monica Boulevard) / Western AvenueNorth end of SR 2 overlap
6.258ASunset BoulevardNo northbound entrance
6.528BHollywood Boulevard
6.918CGower Street
7.069AVine StreetSouthbound exit only
7.469BCahuenga Boulevard Hollywood BowlSigned as exit 9A northbound
7.849CHighland Avenue Hollywood BowlFormer SR 170 south; signed as exit 9B northbound
9.2211ABarham Boulevard BurbankNo southbound exit
9.6011BUniversal Studios BoulevardNorthbound exit and entrance; serves Universal Studios Hollywood
10.3412ALankershim Boulevard Universal CityServes Universal Studios Hollywood
10.5612BVentura BoulevardNo southbound exit
11.1112CVineland AvenueSigned as exit 12B southbound
11.6513B SR 134 east (Ventura Freeway) PasadenaSouthbound 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) VenturaNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
R14.786ARiverside DriveSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
R15.376BMagnolia Boulevard North HollywoodSigned as exit 6 northbound
R15.997Burbank Boulevard
R16.638AOxnard Street
R17.258BVictory Boulevard
R18.279Sherman Way
R19.7210Roscoe Boulevard
R20.1011ASheldon StreetNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
R20.5511B I-5 north (Golden State Freeway) SacramentoNorthbound 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. California Department of Transportation, Log of Bridges on State Highways, July 2007
  2. Simon, Richard (December 19, 1994). "Hollywood Freeway Spans Magic and Might of L.A." Los Angeles Times.
  3. "Article 2 of Chapter 2 of Division 1 of the California Streets and Highways Code". Sacramento: California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  4. Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: Los Angeles, CA (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  5. Natzke, Stefan; Neathery, Mike & Adderly, Kevin (June 20, 2012). "What is the National Highway System?". National Highway System. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  6. "Highways From Hell". Los Angeles Magazine. December 1999.
  7. "Problem Boys All Won't Be Sent to Belmont High School." Los Angeles Times. Sep. 3, 1948. p. A 1
  8. "Senate Bill No. 491; CHAPTER 451; An act to amend, repeal, and add Sections 116.870 and 116.880 of the Code of Civil Procedure, to amend Sections 14526.5 and 65074 of the Government Code, to amend Section 44241 of the Health and Safety Code, to amend Section 99164 of the Public Utilities Code, to amend Sections 143, 182.6, 182.7, 253.7, 392, 470, 485, 538, 890.4, and 2384 of the Streets and Highways Code, and to amend Sections 1808, 1808.1, 13558, 16020.1, 16020.2, 21455.7, 24002, 24017, 24604, 25104, 25305, 25803, 26311, 27400, 29007, 34500.3, 34500.5, and 34520 of, to amend, repeal, and add Sections 1656.2, 12517.1, 13369, 16000, 16000.1, 16075, 16251, 16377, 16378, 16430, and 16434 of, and to add Section 27154.1 to, the Vehicle Code, relating to transportation". California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  9. California Department of Transportation. "State Truck Route List". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (XLS file) on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  10. California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
  11. California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, US-101 Northbound and US-101 Southbound, accessed January 2008
  12. California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, SR-170 Northbound and SR-170 Southbound, accessed January 2008

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