The MTC-run Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) has joined with Caltrans to oversee the
replacement of the aging and earthquake-vulnerable east span of the San Francisco-Oakland
Bay Bridge. The design selected by BATA consists of a graceful, self-anchored, single-tower
suspension span over the shipping channel, connecting to a causeway. Although the design
was determined in 1998, the project suffered a series of setbacks and delays. The project
got back on track in the fall of 2000 thanks to the intervention of federal agencies.
Construction of the new span began in 2002.
Here is a timeline showing key milestones for the East Span replacement project.
East Span Replacement Project Timeline
February: Caltrans decided to pursue
the feasibility of building a new eastern span of
the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, between Yerba
Buena Island and Oakland, instead of seismically
retrofitting the existing span. The goal: to build
a new span that will meet "lifeline criteria" in
the event of a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault.
March: MTC formed the Bay Bridge Design Task
Force to develop a regional consensus on what a new span should look like. Seven MTC
commissioners representing Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties and the Bay
Conservation and Development Commission served on the Task Force. Their assignment: to
review policy and design issues, generate public involvement and forge a regional consensus
on the span replacement project.
MTC also created a 34-member Engineering and Design Advisory Panel
(EDAP) to advise the Task Force on technical issues. Between March 1997 and June 1998,
the Task Force and EDAP held 23 public meetings, plus a three-day design workshop, to
review and analyze a dozen potential bridge designs and hear public comments. In addition
to public testimony, MTC received and tallied hundreds of public comments submitted by
phone, letters and e-mail.
July: The MTC Commission adopted a series of
recommendations to guide the design process. A key MTC recommendation was that Caltrans
should develop two design types to the 30 percent completion stage for the main span
crossing the deep-water channel adjacent to Yerba Buena Island: a self-anchored suspension
span and a cable-stayed span. This would provide more information about the relative
seismic performance, cost and aesthetics of each type before a final decision was made.
MTC also ranked its priorities for allocating additional
bridge project funding authorized by the Legislature
to pay for three "amenities":
1) a cable-supported main span across the shipping channel adjacent to Yerba Buena Island
(as opposed to a continuous causeway from Oakland to the Island); 2) renovation or
relocation of the Transbay Transit Terminal; 3) building a bicycle/pedestrian path on the
August: State financing to repair or replace seven state-owned toll
bridges was finally resolved in Sacramento. Gov. Wilson signed into law two bills -- SB 60
and SB 226 (Sen. Kopp). SB 60 provides a combination of state funds and bridge toll
revenues, generated by a $1 toll increase on Bay Area bridges. The $1 increase extends for
eight years and allows MTC to continue it for two more years to pay for the amenities
proposed for the Bay Bridge. The law and the toll increase went into effect Jan. 1, 1998.
SB 226 transferred administration of the existing $1 toll on Bay Area bridges from the
California Transportation Commission to MTC, which carries out this function as the
Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA).
November: Caltrans retained the
joint-venture team of T.Y. Lin International/Moffatt & Nichol
Engineers to develop designs for the self-anchored
suspension and the cable-stay bridge types to the
30 percent stage.
June: Gov. Wilson signed into law AB 2038
(Migden), which added a bicycle/pedestrian path on
the existing west span of the Bay Bridge as a fourth "amenity" eligible
for funding from the $1 bridge toll increase.
July: MTC, in its role as BATA, adopted further
recommendations from the Bay Bridge Design Task Force. The most important is to have a
single-tower, self-anchored suspension design for the main span across the channel adjacent
to Yerba Buena Island.
September: Caltrans issued the federal Draft Environmental Impact
Statement (DEIS) for the eastern span replacement project. The DEIS evaluated several
alternatives for the design and alignment of the eastern span.
November: After holding public hearings
and reviewing public comment on the proposed alternatives,
Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration identified
building a new eastern span on the northern alignment,
with a single-tower suspension main span, as the "preferred
Voters in four cities (Emeryville, Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco) supported identical
ballot measures requesting MTC study incorporating rail on the Bay Bridge.
Conceptual planning began for a new Gateway Park on the Oakland shore, south of the
touchdown of the new east span.
February: Bay Bridge Design Task
Force and EDAP held a joint information briefing
to view a presentation by San Francisco representatives
on the city's proposal for a "modified southern alignment." Task
Force and EDAP members reiterated their support of
the selected northern alignment.
July: Study of rail on the bridge is concluded.
August: Design of Viaduct portion of the new span reaches100 percent
Caltrans launched a $3 million San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge West Span Pathway study
(funded by MTC/ BATA) to look at the technical feasibility and cost of extending the
bicycle/pedestrian path onto the west span. (See Executive Summary and Fact
Sheet of the report)
September: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
releases the first of two key reports. In its Interim
Final Report, released on September 22, 2000, the
Corps of Engineers endorsed the decision to rebuild
rather than retrofit the existing east span by stating, "At this point in time, a replacement alternative is preferable to a retrofit
alternative. A replacement alternative is the path that most quickly resolves the exposure
of the public to the seismic vulnerabilities of the existing structure." (See memo on the report.)
October: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater announced on
October 11, 2000 that the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) would use authority
available under federal law to transfer from the Navy to the state of California land on
Yerba Buena Island that will be needed for building the new east span. (See memo on the announcement.) The action resolved the right of way
question that at one point had delayed drilling tests (setting the project back by nine
months) and that threatened to block construction altogether.
On October 22, 2000, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
released the second of its two key reports examining
the seismic safety of the adopted design for the
new span. While acknowledging that the bridge design
was still incomplete, the report found that the design
team was "moving toward a path to design a bridge that meets the seismic performance
criteria." However, the report raised questions about
which methods Caltrans should be employing to determine
the earthquake ground motions that the new bridge
needs to withstand. The report also recommended that
Caltrans perform additional documentation, evaluation
and testing of the replacement design as it nears
December: On Dec. 7, 2000, the Engineering and Design Advisory Panel (or
EDAP, which is affiliated with the BATA-sponsored Bay Bridge Design Task Force) met to
respond to issues raised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. An expert witness clearly
demonstrated that Caltrans is using the best available method for determining ground
motion. Caltrans also made a presentation indicating that the agency intends to implement
most of the Corps' recommendations for additional documentation and testing of the new east
span design before construction begins (see letter from
April: Caltrans issued an annual report to the Legislature and governor
that detailed rising cost estimates and project time delays for the Toll Bridge Seismic
Retrofit Program. Caltrans reported that cost forecasts for the program would rise from
$2.6 billion, as adopted in SB 60 in 1997, to $4.6 billion.
May: Final Environmental Impact Statement was released.
Caltrans concludes the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge West Span Pathway study (funded by
MTC/ BATA) to look at the technical feasibility and cost of extending the
bicycle/pedestrian path onto the west span. The study found that, while such a path would
be feasible to construct, the least expensive alternative would be more than $160 million
(2001 dollars). (See Executive Summary and Fact Sheet of the report)
July: Federal Highway Administration official record of decision was
BATA issues its cost review of the of the Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program conducted by
the Bechtel Infrastructure Corp. that details the potential for up to $630 million in
additional cost increases in excess of the Caltrans forecast released in April.
October: Funding for the east span was secured with the passage of
Assembly Bill 1171. A budget of $5.085 billion was established for the Toll Bridge Seismic
Retrofit Program that included a $448 million program contingency.
December: Bids for the skyway portion of the bridge were opened.
January: Construction officially commenced on the skyway portion of the
April: Bids for the W2 Land Foundation for the Self Anchored Suspension
Bridge were opened.
December: Bids for the South/South Detour on Yerba Buena Island from the
Tunnel to the Self Anchored Suspension Bridge were opened.
January: Bids for the E2/T1 Marine Foundations for the Self Anchored
Suspension Bridge were opened.
May: A single bid for the Self Anchored Suspension Bridge was opened.
June: Caltrans requests assistance from BATA to review their cost
forecasts of the Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program.
August: Caltrans issued a report
to the Legislature and governor that revealed rising
cost estimates and project time delays for the Toll
Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program. Caltrans reported
that cost forecasts for the program would rise from
$4.6 billion, as adopted in AB 1171, to $8.6 billion,
including a $900 million program contingency.
The new east span (both westbound and eastbound)
is expected to be open to traffic in late 2013.