It’s Golden! Workhorse Benicia-Martinez Bridge Celebrates 50th Anniversary
September 21, 2012
Spanning the Carquinez Strait along Interstate 680, and connecting Contra Costa County with Solano County, the 1.2-mile span carried both directions of traffic when it originally opened on September 16, 1962. Growing traffic volumes in the ensuing decades overwhelmed the original span, prompting MTC’s Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and Caltrans to partner on building a second parallel span, which opened in 2007. The original span was converted to carry four lanes of southbound traffic as well as a new bicycle and pedestrian pathway, while its younger sister span carries five lanes of northbound traffic.
In a unique tribute to a father-son public service duo, the newer span is named after Congressman George Miller, while the original span is named for his father, the late George Miller, Jr., who served in the state Assembly from 1947 to 1948, and in the state Senate from 1949 to 1969.
BATA financed the second span, as well as widening, retrofitting and reconfiguring of the original span, with funding from bridge tolls flowing from Regional Measure 1, approved by voters in 1988. Funding from another MTC/BATA-sponsored voter measure, Regional Measure 2, has paid for additional transportation improvements in the bridge corridor.
“The Benicia-Martinez Bridge, quite simply, was the key to unlocking the biggest period of growth in central Solano County history. So it’s entirely appropriate that we celebrate the bridge’s first 50 years, and also look forward to a healthy and prosperous middle age,” said MTC Commissioner Jim Spering, who also sits on the Solano County Board of Supervisors and is vice chair of that body.
While they are different structural types, both the old and new Benicia-Martinez spans appear as clean ribbons of roadway stretching across the Strait. A scalloped railroad bridge that sits between the old and the new motor vehicle bridges dates back to1930 and gives the site additional architectural interest. The twin-spanned car/truck facility carried nearly 18 million toll-paying vehicles in 2010-11, making it the third-busiest among the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges.
Metropolitan Transportation Commission • 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, California 94607
This page was last modified Monday September 24, 2012
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