A Brand New Path for Cyclists and Pedestrians on the Benicia-Martinez Bridge

Yesterday saw the debut of a brand-new 12-foot-wide path for pedestrians and bike riders on one of the spans of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge a way out there in the extreme East Bay. That means that you can now easily travel from the former home-town of the Zodiac Killer to the beaver-ridden shores of Martinez, CA without using your car.

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Take a look at the circuit you can now make on your bike way out in the 925. Just use the Carquinez Bridge (cost overrun = $47,000,000 in 2003) one way and the B-M Bridge (cost overrun = $1,000,000,000 in 2007 mas o menos, due, in part, to the alleged suicidal tendencies of bay area fish, srsly) the other and you’re looping, baby.

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Hurray!

Pedestrian/Bicycle Path Debuts on Benicia-Martinez Bridge

New Path Closes Gap in Bay Area Trail System 

Festivities were held today to mark the official opening of a new pedestrian/bicycle path on the George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge leading from Benicia to Martinez. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and Caltrans hosted opening events at both ends of the bridge, with a ribbon-cutting in Martinez at the foot of the bridge kicking off the festivities. Attendees then joined in the official first walk/ride across the bridge, where an opening ceremony followed at Vista Point in Benicia. A bicycle rodeo geared to youths at the nearby Amports lot was offered by the City of Benicia.

“The opening of the pedestrian/bicycle path is an exciting milestone that signifies completion of the final improvements to both spans of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge,” explained Bijan Sartipi, Director of Caltrans District 4 and an MTC/BATA Commissioner. “We are thrilled that we now have safe and efficient travel across the Carquinez Strait for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.”

The Benicia-Martinez Bridge connects Contra Costa and Solano counties across the Carquinez Strait. It is comprised of two separate spans, named for father and son (the late Senator George Miller, Jr. and current Congressman George Miller III), making the bridge a unique landmark. The 2007 addition, the Congressman George Miller III Memorial Bridge, carries five lanes of northbound Interstate 680 traffic from Martinez to Benicia and includes the Bay Area’s debut of open-road tolling technology. The original George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge, built in 1962 to carry traffic in both directions, now carries four lanes of southbound Interstate 680 traffic with full shoulders and the new pedestrian/bicycle path.

“This is a milestone project that has been in the works a long time and we are all very excited to see its completion,” said Laura Thompson, Bay Trails project manager for the Association of Bay Area Governments. “We are happy that we are making strides to close both the Bay and Ridge Trail gaps.”

Funded primarily through the Regional Measure 1 toll program approved by voters in 1988 and administered by BATA, the $50 million Benicia-Martinez Bridge project encompassed reconfiguring the bridge and adding the new path. The completion of the construction on the pedestrian/bicycle path indicates the final phase of construction on both bridges.

Caltrans owns, operates and maintains the state highway system, including seven of the eight Bay Area toll bridges. BATA, which is directed by the same policy 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.

                                                                   FACT SHEET

                 GEORGE MILLER, JR. BRIDGE PEDESTRIAN/BICYCLE LANE

    Significance        The new Benicia-Martinez pedestrian/bicycle lane on
                        the Senator George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge will
                        close a gap in the San Francisco Bay and Ridge Trails.
                        This lane also serves as a link in the Carquinez
                        Strait Scenic Loop Trail, which is a 50-mile trail
                        that crosses both the Benicia-Martinez Bridge and Al
                        Zampa Bridge spans over the Carquinez Strait.
                        Bicyclists and pedestrians using this new path will be
                        treated to stunning views of the Suisun Bay, as well
                        as the Carquinez Bridge and the Mothball Fleet.

    Official Name       George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge

    Original Structure
     Opened             September 16, 1962

    Location            Carquinez Strait linking Contra Costa and Solano
                        counties

    Roadway             Southbound Interstate 680 from Benicia to Martinez

    Configuration       Originally, three northbound lanes and three
                        southbound lanes; now four southbound lanes and one
                        pedestrian/bicycle lane

    Length of
     Pedestrian/Bicycle
     Path               11,800 feet or 2.2. miles

    Width of
     Pedestrian/Bicycle
     Path               12 feet; bi-directional travel

    Vertical Clearance
     of the Bridge      138 feet

    Type of
     Construction       Deck truss

    Project Cost        $50 million to seismically retrofit the bridge and add
                        the pedestrian/bicycle path

    Construction
     Funding            Regional Measure 1 funds:  77%

    Federal funds:      21%

    State funds:        2%

    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 earthquake.

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