Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'Bay Bridge' Category

Fixing the fix; when will the Bay Bridge reopen?

It was a deja vu experience for news reporters and motorists last night as the Bay Bridge was closed indefinitely to shore up a cracked bridge piece called an eyebar. It turns out that parts of the the Labor Day weekend fix – a giant metal splint – failed and crashed onto the bridge.

Caltrans said this morning it doesn’t know when the fix can be fixed, but officials expect it to be “days at the worst.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
Under: Bay Bridge, Bridges, Caltrans, Safety | No Comments »

A chance to chime in before bridge tolls are raised

Bay Area bridge operators have scheduled three public hearings on a proposed toll increase on seven state bridges. While bridge operators appear determined to raise tolls, they have many details to figure out.

Members of the Bay Area Toll Authority are wrestling with how to revamp tolls to do two new things: collecting tolls from car pools during rush hour periods on all seven bridges, and structuring Bay Bridge tolls so drivers pay more during peak periods, and less during in off-peak times.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Under: Bay Bridge, Bridges, Caltrans, driving, Retrofitting, tolls | No Comments »

Will the toll on bridge drivers be too big a toll?

People who take car pools across seven Bay Area bridges may be in for an unpleasant change next year: the end of free rides for car pools during rush-hour periods. And on the Bay Bridge, regular drivers not in car pools also may in for a shock: higher tolls during peak commute periods than at other times.

Proposed options to make those major changes in July were unveiled Monday by the Bay Area Toll Authority, which plans to hold hearings in November. I’m betting both changes are going to come under fire from some angry drivers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, Bridges, Carpooling, driving, Environment, Freeways, global warming, Retrofitting, tolls, Transit vs. driving | 1 Comment »

Toll shock: Will Bay Area bridge tolls go up?

Bay Area bridge operators disclosed a year ago they were considering raising tolls on seven state-owned bridges by $1 – up to $5 per car. On Wednesday morning, a toll authority committee will get down to the details of when and how to do it.

The Bay Area Toll Authority Overnight Committee meets at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the MetroCenter, 101 Eighth Street, Oakland to consider a report on options for a toll increase.

One sticky issue is whether to start making car pools pay tolls to cross the Bay Bridge during peak commute hours. The free ride may be over.

Toll Authority administrators say they need a toll increase to pay for a seismic retrofit on the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges, to cover reduced revenues from fewer drivers crossing the bridges, and to absorb the higher cost of credit to pay for bridge operations and retrofits.

Antioch and Dumbarton bridges – the newest of the seven state bridges – initially got a clean bill of health after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. But now Caltrans has concluded the two bridges need to be made stronger.

The toll increase would apply to the Bay Bridge, Dumbarton, Antioch, Richmond-San Rafael, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez and San Mateo.

State legislation adding the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges to the State Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program was signed into law Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over the weekend. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, makes it easier for the Toll Authority to upgrade the two bridges to withstand earthquakes, toll authority staffers said.   


Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Under: Bay Bridge, Caltrans, Carpooling, driving, Retrofitting, tolls | No Comments »

Bay Bridge: How will it do when the Big One hits?

We all remember the scary images of a section of the Bay Bridge upper deck collapsing like a trap door 20 years ago when the Loma Prieta earthquake shook the Bay Area.

Now we can see how the new East Span of the Bay Bridge is expected to perform in a big earthquake. Caltrans has posted a computer animated video on its Web site – – depicting how a major earthquake will affect the new East Span, which is scheduled for completion in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Under: Bay Bridge, Bridges, Caltrans, Freeway collapse | No Comments »

No huge BART crowds on bridge-closed, bridge-open day

BART officials were thinking that Tuesday might attract the largest crowds ever to the train system because Caltrans had announced plans late Monday to extend the Bay Bridge closure by one day until 5 a.m. Wednesday.

It never happened, though. Of course, the extended bridge closure didn’t last long either. Caltrans opened the Bay Bridge 7 a.m. Tuesday after crews finished bridge repairs earlier than expected. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
Under: BART, Bay Bridge | No Comments »

Paddle kayak or Web surf? Best way to view Bay Bridge work

Photo of new Bay Bridge eastern span under construction by Flickr user ToastyKen used under Creative Commons attribution license.

It’s the best show in town this Labor Day weekend, but the replacement of a 300-foot-long section of the Bay Bridge above Yerba Buena Island is very hard to see in person unless you’re a contractor, transportation dignitary, or working member of the media. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, September 4th, 2009
Under: Bay Bridge, Bridges, Caltrans, Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Coping without Bay Bridge for four days

How will you change your travel plans when the Bay Bridge is closed for four days, starting 8 p.m. Thursday? We at the Capricious Commuter invite you to drop us a line.

Tell us about your advance plans and then tell us how it actually turns out over the long weekend. With our common dependence on bridges in the Bay Area, it’s a big deal – practically and psychologically – when our busiest bridge has a 300-foot-long  gap sliced open and a giant filling rolled in to replace it and create a new bridge detour. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, Bridges, driving | No Comments »

Tweet that bridge open, please

Twitter users will get the news quickly this Labor Day weekend about the closing and reopening of the Bay Bridge.

Go to to the Caltrans Web site – – for tips on getting tweets about progress on the construction project triggering the need to close the bridge for four days.

We all know the bridge will close 8 p.m. Thursday. The big question is: Will it reopen by 5 a.m Tuesday as planned? Will it reopen earlier, as is possible? Or will it reopen later, an unlikely but possible outcome that would cause traffic chaos on freeways after the long holiday ends.   Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2009
Under: 511, Bay Bridge, Bridges, driving, Freeways, Misc. Transportation | No Comments »

Should the free ride end for car pools on Bay Area bridges?

Car pooling has worked so well on Bay Area bridges that bridge operators are considering ending the free rides for car pool users during weekday rush hours.

I can hear the rumble of protest brewing among car pool users: “Hey government, we took car pools like you asked, so why penalize us by ending the free ride?” Isn’t that like water districts raising water rates in a drought to offset the loss of revenue from customers using less water? some people might ask.

The issue is likely to reverberate through the halls of the Bay Area Toll Authority – a regional toll collection agency – in the next year as the authority’s board and managers discuss how to pay for $950 million in proposed seismic retrofits for the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Under: BART, Bay Bridge, Bridges, Carpooling, casual carpools, driving, Freeways, Golden Gate Bridge, Retrofitting, Safety, tolls | 19 Comments »