Chain-Cutting Ceremony Marks West Approach Opening

Mon May 12, 2008 - West Edition

Celebrating a milestone for one of the busiest bridges in the nation, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger attended April 11 the opening for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge West Approach. Cost of the seismic retrofit project is $429 million and it has created thousands of jobs.

“The Bay Bridge is an economic and transportation colossus and we are rebuilding it to make it seismically safe for generations to come,” said Schwarzenegger. “I could not be more proud of the incredible workers who are making the West Approach of the bridge a reality, a full seven months ahead of schedule. This is exactly the type of skill and cooperation that the people of California expect and deserve from their government.”

The West approach refers to a 1-mi. (1.6 km) stretch of Interstate 80 linking San Francisco to the Bay Bridge. It is delineated by Fifth Street and the San Francisco anchorage on Beale Street. Seismic safety work on the West Approach involves completely removing and replacing this 1-mi. section of freeway in its original footprint, as 280,000 vehicles continue to use the bridge each day.

“Not that long ago, people’s eyes would glaze over when they heard the word ’infrastructure.’ Now everyone understands that a state can prosper and soar economically only if it has the roads, bridges, tunnels, transit, ports and other projects that make our daily lives and daily business possible. We have come a long way in just a few short years and we have much more to do,” said Schwarzenegger.

As part of the governor’s multi-pronged approach to rebuilding California, he is also calling on the federal government to increase investment in infrastructure.

The federal government has historically been the single largest contributor to national infrastructure projects, but its contribution has fallen dramatically over the past two decades.