It won’t be much longer before the High Street Bridge reopens — the schedule calls for it to be fully operational in early September. Until then, this is what the Fruitvale Bridge looks like around quittin’ time. Imagine what could happen if more than one bridge closes. This time it’s for repair work, but next time it could be because of the economy, with the county uable to fund the around-the-clock bridge tenders. It nearly happened recently, but city officials say the proposal could go back to the table as long as the state keeps dipping into local governments’ funds to pay its deficit.
Part of the ambiance of living in the Bay Area is homey sight of people dropping a line in the water in hopes of catching dinner. For some time now, that sight has been missing from the Fruitvale Bridge fishing platforms, both on the Alameda and Oakland sides. For months, the gate has been locked. Damage to the pilings after a tugboat incident prompted the county to send fishermen and fisherwomen and fisherkids elsewhere, said Ruben Briones in County Superintendent Alice Lai Bitker’s office. Unfortunately, the county hasn’t been able to drum up the fix-it funds yet. The same is true for the planned seismic work on the Fruitvale Bridge. A contractor has been awarded the job, but so far, the buck has stopped at that point. Add to that the potential partial closure of the Fruitvale, Park Street and High Street bridges if the county, which maintains and operates those draw bridges, loses its gas tax revenues to the state. These are not good days for our bridges.