The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) funded a pair of projects to improve mobility along the Interstate 580 corridor between Richmond and San Rafael.
To reduce congestion on eastbound I-580, BATA and its partners converted the right shoulder to a third freeway lane from the Sir Francis Drake Blvd. on-ramp in Marin County to the Marine Street (Richmond Parkway/Point Richmond) exit in Contra Costa County. To provide a bike/pedestrian link between the two counties, BATA and its partners have opened a path on the north side of I-580, including across the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, with concrete barriers to separate bicyclists and pedestrians from westbound freeway traffic.
Both initiatives are designed to be four-year pilot projects. Construction began in early 2017, with the third eastbound traffic lane opening in April 2018. The bicycle pedestrian path from Point Richmond to San Rafael was opened for public use on Nov. 16, 2019.
Movable Barrier on Bridge
To separate bicyclists and pedestrians from westbound traffic on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the new bike/ped path is protected by a moveable concrete barrier similar to the moveable median barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. A "zipper truck" will be used to move the barrier when necessary, typically to allow BATA and Caltrans to conduct bridge maintenance work during short closures of the bike/ped path. Most of these closures will occur at night.
The 10-foot-wide bicycle/pedestrian path meets Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Third Lane for Peak-Period Use
The third lane on eastbound I-580 typically is open to motorists daily from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and during other periods of heavy congestion. Project elements included:
- Reconfiguring the Main Street on-ramp from the San Quentin Village area of Marin County with a retaining wall to improve the traffic merge with the new lane
- Replacing pavement on the bridge approaches to accommodate heavier traffic loads (completed)
- Relocating a retaining wall in Richmond to achieve safe sight distances for vehicles traveling in the new right lane (completed)
- Constructing a barrier-separated bike/ped path from Castro Street in Richmond to Point Molate
Drivers have seen major improvements through the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge corridor, following work to expand the eastbound shoulder into a working traffic lane during evening rush hour. Bicyclists and pedestrians can use the upper deck to continue their explorations of the Bay Trail, which now totals some 360 miles of a planned 500-mile circuit of the San Francisco Bay shoreline.
Chris Lillie, Senior Project Delivery Manager
BATA worked in partnership with the California Department of Transportation, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the Transportation Authority of Marin to complete both the peak-period third lane on eastbound I-580 and the bicycle/pedestrian path.
To save money and speed completion, BATA and its partners performed the required permitting and environmental work for both projects simultaneously. Read the August 2016 Project Approval document.