Benicia-Martinez bridge to open soon

The best part about being a reporter is having the opportunity to explore new bridges before they open to the public.

This morning, I toured the new Benicia-Martinez bridge, scheduled to open in late August or early September, with Caltrans engineer Mo Pazooki and public information officer Keith Wayne. (See tomorrow’s Contra Costa Times for the full story and photos by Karl Mondon.)

We drove from one end of the bridge to the other, a feat possible only in the past few months since the contractors finished the concrete segments and installed the hinges in the deck that allow the bridge to move up to 3 feet in an earthquake.

We walked down the middle of the span, which won’t be possible as soon as the five-lane bridge opens to traffic.

And we roamed through the tunnel beneath the toll-taker booths, a place that will be strictly off-limits to the general public after opening day. The toll may only be $4 but multiply that amount by the thousands of vehicles that travel this bridge every day and you are talking about some serious money.

I’ll be working on a full-length retrospective about the construction of the Benicia-Martinez bridge to publish in late summer before it opens. If you worked on this bridge, I’d love to hear from you. Call me at 925-945-4773 or email me at lvorderbrueggen@cctimes.com.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen