The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) is spearheading 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 plans to establish a path on the north side of I-580, including 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 and the third eastbound traffic lane opened in April 2018.
MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments in September 2015 approved amendments to the long-range Plan Bay Area and the short-range Transportation Improvement Program that cleared the way for the next phases of design and environmental review.
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 include:
- 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
Movable Barrier on Bridge
To separate bicyclists and pedestrians from westbound traffic on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, plans for the new bike/ped path call for installation of a moveable concrete barrier that will allow BATA and Caltrans to conduct bridge maintenance work during short closures of the path. Most of these closures will occur at night. A "zipper truck" similar to that used for the moveable median barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge will used to shift the barrier on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.
The bicycle/pedestrian path will be 10-feet wide and comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Completion of the moveable barrier project is slated for early 2019.
Point Richmond-Point Molate Bike Shuttle
Bicyclists who want to travel between Point Richmond and Point Molate on the Richmond side of the bridge can take advantage of an on-call bike shuttle service while construction crews work to build the new barrier-separated bike/pedestrian path along the north side of I-580. The shuttle operates seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To request shuttle service simply call (925) 382-3234.
Location and highlights of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge access improvements
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, when the multi-year project is done, will be able to use the upper deck to continue their jaunts on the Bay Trail, which circles most of the 500 miles of San Francisco coastline. Mark Jones has more.
Chris Lillie, Senior Project Delivery Manager
BATA is working in partnership with the California Department of Transportation, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the Transportation Authority of Marin to complete both the third lane for 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.