A $74 million project undergoing environmental review would add a third eastbound lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and a bike/pedestrian path on the span’s upper deck.
On Friday, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt forwarded a project fact sheet from the Contra Costa Transportation Authority that estimates the vehicle lane and bike/ped path could be completed by 2018.
The project would convert the existing shoulder on eastbound I-580 to a third travel lane between Marine Street in Contra Costa County and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Marin County.
The plan also includes a bi-directional bicycle lane on the upper deck. The 10-foot-wide bike/ped lane would be separated from traffic by a moveable concrete barrier system similar to the one that was just installed on the Golden Gate Bridge.
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The project is not cheap. The eastbound lane portion is estimated to cost $30 million, while the bike/ped path is estimated at $29 million. A $15 million contingency was included in the total estimate.
But the project isn’t so simple. The wall along eastbound I-580 will need to be removed so that the highway can be widened to accommodate a third lane:
The bicycle and pedestrian path would add another crucial link to the planned 500-mile San Francisco Bay Trail connecting 46 Bay Area cities.
On Tuesday, legislation was introduced requiring the design phase of the eastbound lane to begin while the project is undergoing environmental review. That could speed up the project by up to 18 months, according to the Marin Independent Journal.
“This project will reduce commute times substantially,” Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, told the IJ. “Congestion on the bridge extends all the way to Highway 101 and affects not only commuters on the bridge, but also commuters heading north.”
Here is the projected timeline for the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge proposals: