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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 - baybridgeinfo.org – 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 »

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 »

Want a piece of the $420 million pie?

Caldecott Tunnel by Flickr user Tom LemosCaltrans is preparing to open bids Sept. 11 to expand the Caldecott Tunnel, the huge connector between the freeways and cultures of Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

Caltrans reported this week that it has pushed the original bid opening date from this Tuesday, Aug. 11, to Sept. 11. The agency now is scheduled in mid-November to award the contract to add a new two-lane bore just north of the existing three bores on Highway 24 between Orinda and Oakland. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Saturday, August 8th, 2009
Under: Caltrans, driving, Freeways | No Comments »

Rolling along the Benicia Bridge with new lane, more space

Commuters who drive the Benicia/Martinez Bridge from Solano to Contra Costa County now have some extra room for their drive: a fourth southbound lane and wider road shoulders.

Those entering the bridge from Interstate 780 also have a second merging lane to avoid traffic backup.

The new features, finished over the weekend, were in place for the the commute today as Caltrans wraps up a $43.5 renovation of the old Benicia Bridge. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2009
Under: Bicycling, Bridges, Caltrans, connectivity, driving, walking | No Comments »

Name that highway: Boatwright proposed for honor

A state senator and former Concord mayor wants to name a portion of Interstate 680 after a retired state senator who also served as Concord mayor.

The man proposed for the honor: Daniel Boatwright.

The man proposing the honor: Mark DeSaulnier. The Concord Democrat in the state Senate has proposed legislation to affix the Boatwright name to the stretch of I-680 between the Benicia-Martinez Bridge and Highway 24 in Contra Costa County. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Sunday, May 10th, 2009
Under: Caltrans, driving, Freeways | No Comments »

Does Bay Area need to strengthen two more bridges?

When Bay Area bridge need to be made stronger to withstand big earthquakes, drivers usually end up paying higher bridge tolls to cover the big bills.

So brace for a new study due out today to advise whether whether the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges need expensive seismic upgrades.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Under: Bridges, Caltrans, driving, Retrofitting, tolls | No Comments »

the warm, fuzzy politics of bike-to-work

john-fricke-and-the-twins.bmp

My Bike-to-Work Day started out really well this year, at least on a personal level.

Last year, I was a total fraud, driving the Honda Civic with the bike shoved in the back so I could use it as a prop to blend in. It’s not easy to get from Point A to B to C in the space of two hours and still report on this thing when you have to pedal a good distance.

But this morning I got off the train at Emeryville at 7:15 a.m., did some reporting at the Civic Center, and managed to get to Oakland City Hall quick enough to spend some quality time with the city’s most notable cyclists.

And a funny thing happened on my way to shrink my carbon footprint.

The traditional bike-to-work story is somewhat fluffy, but Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2008
Under: Bay Bridge, Bicycling, Bridges, Caltrans, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), driving, global warming, Retrofitting, Transit vs. driving | 5 Comments »

violence pays off for Bay Bridge

brute-force.jpg 

I can’t bear to see the Golden Gate Bridge steal all the attention, what with Tibet backers unfurling banners in preparation for the Olympic Torch sputtering through town Wednesday, from the really exciting news about the Bay Bridge.

I heard today that on Friday there will be a ribbon-cutting on the West Approach in San Francisco. I already wrote about how the project would be finished seven months early. But my initial report said middle of this month, and now it looks like it’s going to be Saturday, April 12.

Like the conquest of Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, April 7th, 2008
Under: Bay Bridge, Bridges, Caltrans, driving, Freeways, Retrofitting, Safety | 2 Comments »

taking back the streets with Caltrans

After nearly two years of blogging about transportation, I had to create a really obvious category just now: Walking.

Clearly, I haven’t written about this enough, if at all.

Remember walking? It’s how we Baby Boomers used to get to school, or to the bus stop.

But that was a different time, a time when there were Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
Under: Bicycling, Caltrans, walking | 8 Comments »