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May 16 , 2004
RIBBON-CUTTING MARKS OPENING OF NEW PEDESTRIAN/BICYCLE LANE ON CARQUINEZ BRIDGE
Oakland -- The new pedestrian/bicycle lane on the Alfred Zampa Memorial (Carquinez) Bridge is scheduled to open on Sunday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring Congressman George Miller as keynote speaker.
Led by California Highway Patrol officers on bicycles, bicyclists are expected to be the first to cross the bridge via the new path, followed by pedestrians. The 12-foot-wide path hugs the western side of the suspension bridge connecting Solano and Contra Costa counties along Interstate 80. The completion of the 1.6-mile-long path is the finishing touch to the new bridge, which opened to car and truck traffic in November 2003.
“Caltrans is pleased to provide a safe, new transportation option for residents of the region,” said Caltrans Acting Director Tony V. Harris. “This bridge is another example of the Bay Area’s dedication to improving multimodal mobility.”
Caltrans is responsible for the design, construction and management of the bridge project, while funding and oversight lay in the hands of the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA). Its members also serve on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the transportation planning, funding and coordinating agency for the nine Bay Area counties.
Stretching from a vista point on the Vallejo side to a planned landscaped trailhead with interpretive signage on the Crockett side, the new path closes a major gap in the San Francisco Bay Trail that rings San Francisco and San Pablo bays.
It links existing trails along the Carquinez Strait and Bay shoreline and through Vallejo, and serves as a vital segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which ultimately will encircle the region along an inland route. The path can be accessed from San Pablo Avenue near Merchant Street in Crockett or Maritime Academy Drive in Vallejo.
In addition to Congressman Miller and District 4 Director Bijan Sartipi, speakers at the 10 a.m. ceremony are expected to include Assemblymembers Joe Canciamilla and Lois Wolk, and two MTC/BATA commissioners: Mark DeSaulnier, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors; and James P. Spering, mayor of Suisun City.
“We thank the voters of the Bay Area for this wonderful facility,” said MTC/BATA’s DeSaulnier. “Their approval of Regional Measure 1 so many years ago provided the money that made this day possible.”
The new path brings the number of Bay Area toll bridges with a bicycle/pedestrian path to four, the others being the Golden Gate, Dumbarton and Antioch bridges. (Shuttles are available on the other four bridges in the region.) The new path is open to wheelchair users, bicyclists and pedestrians every day from sunrise to sunset. No roller blades, skateboards or dogs are allowed.
“This bicycle/pedestrian path will give outdoor enthusiasts from both sides of the strait a chance to explore sites they have previously not had easy access to,” said MTC/BATA’s Spering.
The price tag of $500 million — paid for entirely by Regional Measure 1 bridge tolls — covers the cost of the entire bridge (including the bike/pedestrian path). They money also went to rebuilding the I-80/Crockett interchange, construction of a maintenance facility and new north and south approaches to the bridge, as well as the demolition of the old westbound span, which is scheduled to be completed in 2006.
The new westbound span of the Carquinez Bridge is named for the late Alfred Zampa, a local ironworker who helped build many of the Bay Area toll bridges. It carries four lanes of traffic, including a carpool lane, and features two 10-foot-wide shoulders to ease the clearing of stalled vehicles and accidents.