The Traveler - The Quarterly Newsletter of the California Chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association
Volume 3, Number 2: Spring 2002

Roadside History

On your next Sunday drive, visit a historical site or interesting location.

By Wes Hammond

Altamont Pass

Eighty-five years after the completion of the Lincoln Highway, it is still possible to travel a section of the original road that is virtually unchanged from its original configuration. This is a fifteen-mile section between Greenville Road in Livermore and Byron Road in Tracy. The course of the road remains the same, and except for modern structures along the highway such as homes, barns, wind-powered electric generators and pavement on the road, little has changed.

In the once thriving community of Altamont, the only building remaining is a former garage/service station. It is located on the south side of the road and has been repainted in its original Union Oil Company colors. If you park near the garage and walk approximately fifty yards to the east, you can find the right-of-way of the original 1869 Central Pacific Railroad (later Southern Pacific Railroad) where it crossed the Lincoln Highway. The Southern Pacific Railroad abandoned the tracks in the 1970s. There is a gate across the original roadbed on the west side of the highway at the crossing point. The Union Pacific Railroad (originally Western Pacific Railroad of 1909) crosses the highway on a concrete viaduct another fifty yards to the east.

To travel this section of the Lincoln Highway use the following directions:

Westbound: In Tracy on I-205 West, exit at Grant Line Road and proceed west for 1¼ miles to Byron Road and turn right. Proceed one half mile to Grant Line Road and turn left. Proceed west for five miles to Altamont Pass Road (a very slight right hand turn) and proceed west for eight miles to the intersection of I-580.

Eastbound: In Livermore on I-580 East, exit at Greenville Road, turn left and cross under I-580. Turn right on Altamont Pass road. Follow the above direction in reverse to reach Tracy, California.

[Photo of car flipped upside down]
How not to enjoy a Sunday drive on the Lincoln Highway