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Transportation News

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Retrofit Completed

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

Photo: William Hall, Caltrans

Bay Area transportation officials cut the ribbon

Left to Right: Steve Heminger, Joe Nation, Ron Tudor,
Steve Kinsey, Irma Anderson, Albert Boro, Wil Kempton,
James C. Ghielmetti, Will Travis, Bijan Sartipi
(Photo: John Huseby, Caltrans)

Caltrans held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, September 22, 2005, to celebrate the successful completion of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Seismic Retrofit Project.

Originally completed in 1956, the Richmond-San Rafael is more than 4.5 miles long. The four-year rehab project was the most complex single retrofit program ever attempted by Caltrans. Among the many tasks were strengthening the piers, and installing "viscous dampers" — essentially, massive shock absorbers. Despite the many challenges, the project came in $136 million dollars under budget.

While most of the bridge structure was retrofitted, the low-lying trestle section on the Marin County side had to be completely replaced. Caltrans and the contractors replaced the entire trestle, section by section, while keeping the bridge open to traffic the entire time.

To make matters even more challenging, the structural maintenance of the bridge deck — originally scheduled to take place after the completion of the retrofit — was moved up, and performed concurrently with the retrofit. All of the expansion joints were replaced, and the concrete deck sections were repaired.

The Bay Area Tolll Authority (BATA), which is staffed by MTC, provided funding for the project from Regional Measure 1 bridge toll moneys. BATA also provided project oversight.