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Suspension Bridge Spans the Carquinez
Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge Takes Its Place Among the Bay
Area’s Striking Landmarks
The new westbound span of the Carquinez Bridge opened amid a daylong celebration in
early November. Linking Contra Costa and Solano counties along Interstate 80, the graceful,
twin-towered structure is the first major suspension bridge to be built in the United
States in 30 years — and the first in California since the Bay Bridge and the Golden
Gate Bridge were completed in 1936 and 1937 respectively.
Some 15,000 members of the public braved stormy
weather to participate in the inaugural walk across the new span. (Photo:
Bill Hall, Caltrans)
Some 15,000 members of the public braved stormy weather to
celebrate and to walk across the bridge’s road deck, which opened to vehicular
traffic three days later. The new structure replaces the adjacent outdated 1927 span, which
is scheduled for demolition.
“Caltrans is proud to honor the hard work and dedication of the men and women who
built this bridge,” said Bijan Sartipi, director of Caltrans District 4. Caltrans was
responsible for the design, construction and day-to-day management of the bridge
replacement project, while funding and oversight lay in the hands of the Bay Area Toll
Authority, an arm of MTC.
“We have the voters of the Bay Area to thank for this magnificent structure,”
said MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger. “It was their foresight in approving
Regional Measure 1 — which raised the bridge tolls to pay for this bridge as well as
many other important transportation improvements in the Bay Area — that made this day
Festivities kicked off in the morning with a street
fair organized by the local community in Crockett, the southern anchorage of the Carquinez
Bridge. A midday ceremony — keynoted by California’s outgoing governor, Gray
Davis — was highlighted by the cutting of an iron chain, in keeping with the
span’s ironworker heritage.
High school marching bands led a parade across
the completed bridge. (Photo: Bill Hall, Caltrans)
The new westbound span of the Carquinez Bridge features three lanes of Interstate 80
mixed-flow traffic (with a carpool lane to be phased in at a later date) and two
10-foot-wide shoulders to ease the clearing of stalls and accidents. A pedestrian/bicycle
lane along the west side of the span scheduled for completion in early 2004 will close a
gap in the regional Bay Trail.
Vista points are in the process of being constructed — one on either side of the
— Réka Goode