Rep. George Miller to Keynote Celebrations for Completion of New Benicia-Martinez Bridge | News

News Release

Rep. George Miller to Keynote Celebrations for Completion of New Benicia-Martinez Bridge

Northbound Span to Open for Traffic Sunday
Thursday, August 23, 2007

OAKLAND, CA — U.S. Rep. George Miller will be the featured speaker at public events to be held Saturday morning, Aug. 25, on each side of the Carquinez Strait to celebrate completion of the second Benicia-Martinez Bridge. The first event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. at Martinez Waterfront Park in downtown Martinez, with a second event slated for 11:15 a.m. on a hilltop site off Park Road in Benicia that offers a spectacular view of the new bridge. The five-lane, 1.2-mile viaduct is scheduled to begin carrying northbound Interstate 680 traffic on Sunday, Aug. 26.

“We’re celebrating the successful completion of a job well done by thousands of dedicated workers,” said Rep. Miller. “This bridge is more than just a much-needed highway capacity enhancement. It’s a testament to years of hard work by the engineers and architects who designed the bridge, the iron workers, concrete workers, heavy equipment operators, electricians and many others who built the bridge, and to the legions of people who worked to solve the technical challenges that arose along the way.”

The New Benicia-Martinez Bridge is just east of and parallel to the Union Pacific Railroad bridge and the original 1962 freeway bridge (which is named for Rep. Miller’s father, the late George Miller, Jr., who served in the state Assembly from 1947 to 1948, and in the state Senate from 1949 to 1969). A resolution to name the new span the Congressman George Miller Bridge was approved this week by the state Legislature. “This is a tribute to generations of outstanding public service by the Miller family,” said Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd, who chairs the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA). “Nowhere else in California, and perhaps nowhere in the world, are there two major bridges, side by side, named for a father and son.”

The original Benicia-Martinez freeway bridge, currently configured to carry three lanes of traffic in each direction, will be converted to accommodate four southbound traffic lanes plus a new bicycle and pedestrian pathway. Modifications to the existing structure are scheduled for completion in 2009.

Funded primarily through the Regional Measure 1 toll program approved by voters in 1988 and administered by the BATA, the $1.2 billion New Benicia-Martinez Bridge project encompassed construction of an all-new interchange between Interstates 680 and 780 in Benicia, reconstruction of the I-680/Marina Vista interchange in Martinez, and a new toll plaza on the Martinez side of the bridge. The new toll facility includes nine staffed booths. To the left of the toll booths are a dedicated high-occupancy vehicle lane and two open-road tolling lanes, which will allow vehicles equipped with FasTrak® toll tags to bypass the toll plaza altogether and safely proceed onto the bridge without slowing (see lane configuration diagram). Known as FasTrak Express, these lanes mark the Bay Area debut of open-road tolling.

“Open-road tolling is a huge step forward in toll plaza efficiency,” noted Randy Rentschler, director of legislation and public affairs for MTC. “By eliminating the need to slow down and squeeze through the toll booths, the FasTrak Express lanes can handle more than 1,800 vehicles per hour. That’s 50 percent more than a traditional FasTrak-only lane and over four times as many as a toll lane where drivers have to stop to pay cash.”

The FasTrak Express lanes, like the FasTrak system in place at all Bay Area toll lanes, use overhead antennae to read the toll tag and a computer system to automatically deduct tolls from motorists’ prepaid accounts. Cameras will record the license plate numbers of vehicles not equipped with FasTrak and a violation notice will be mailed to drivers who fail to pay the toll. To view an online simulation of the new FasTrak Express lanes, go to: http://bata.mtc.ca.gov/projects/new_benicia.htm

A gallery of photographs of the new bridge is available at: www.mtc.ca.gov/news/photos/benicia.htm.

“This unique segmental bridge will bring congestion relief to the 100,000 motorists who use it every day, and that will have a positive impact on transportation throughout the Bay Area,” said Caltrans Director Will Kempton.

Caltrans owns, operates and maintains the state highway system, including seven Bay Area toll bridges. BATA, which is directed by the same policy to Key board as MTC, administers toll revenues from the region's state-owned toll bridges. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

Note to Editors: For further information, see Fact Sheet below.

FACT SHEET: CONGRESSMAN GEORGE MILLER BRIDGE

The New Benicia-Martinez Bridge, also known as the Congressman George Miller Bridge, will carry all northbound Interstate 680 traffic across the Carquinez Strait, with five 12-foot lanes and two full 10-foot shoulders. Included in the work is a new toll plaza at the south end that features one dedicated carpool lane, two “open road tolling” FasTrak™ lanes and nine cash/ FasTrak™ lanes . In addition, Booth #3 will accept carpools during commute periods.

Location: Carquinez Strait linking Contra Costa and Solano counties

Roadway: Northbound Interstate 680 from Martinez to Benicia

Bridge Type: Balanced Cantilever Segmental (cast-in-place)

Length: 7,435 feet (main span); 8,790 feet (including approaches)

Width: 83.5 feet, with five 12-foot lanes and two full 10-foot shoulders

Height : 141 feet over the Carquinez Strait shipping channel

Project Cost: $1.2 billion, includes new I-680/I-780 interchange, reconstruction of I-680/ Marina Vista interchange in Martinez, and a new toll plaza on the Martinez side.

Funding Sources: Regional Measure 1 toll funds, approved by Bay Area voters in 1988; Regional Measure 2 toll funds, approved by Bay Area voters in 2004; State Highway Operations & Protection Program (SHOPP); Proposition 192 monies.

Construction Dates: November 2001 – August 25, 2007

Seismic Safety: A “Lifeline” structure designed to remain in service following a maximum credible earthquake. The Interstate 680 corridor has been designated as a primary route for transporting emergency supplies into the Bay Area after a major quake.

Deep-Water Foundations: 99 eight-foot diameter piles with seven-foot diameter rock sockets drilled to a depth of 254 feet. Footings weighing 1,700 tons each were precast at Mare Island in Vallejo and installed over the driven pile casings with the use of a custom-built catamaran crane barge.

Bridge Piers: 17 piers, 12 of which are in the water.

Concrete: Bridge superstructure is built with high-performance lightweight concrete, pre-cooled with ice and liquid nitrogen, and then post-cooled with water running through PVC cooling pipes. Compressive strength of the concrete is greater than 10,000 pounds per square inch. The main bridge span includes 190,000 cubic yards of concrete.

Bridge Segments: 344 cast-in-place segments and nine span-closure pours, plus two mid-span expansion hinges. Each bridge segment is about 16 feet long. The nine span-closure pours are 10 feet long. Due to a parabolic soffit, structure depth ranges from 37.5 feet to 14.9 feet. Span lengths range from 275 feet to 657 feet.

Conversion of Original Bridge: Six-lane 1962 bridge (also known as George Miller, Jr., Bridge) will be converted to accommodate four southbound lanes plus a bicycle/pedestrian pathway. Modification of original span is scheduled for completion in 2009.

Contact: 
John Goodwin, BATA: (415) 778-5262
Lauren Wonder, Caltrans: (510) 286-6120
BATA/MTC Public Information: (415) 778-6757

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