The three-year construction project to add two new lanes plus shoulders to the low-rise section of the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge is coming to an end ahead of schedule. A slate of dignitaries gathered on the new portion of the bridge to celebrate the event with a ribbon-cutting and a ceremonial drive across the new lanes.
Construction on the bridge began in January 2000, and was expected to last three years. The bridge will open to commute traffic on the morning of Monday, Nov. 4.
The San Mateo-Hayward Bridge widening is the first of several major Bay Area bridge projects to be completed in a $1.6 billion program funded by Regional Measure 1 -- the 1988 voter-approved ballot measure that raised tolls on the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges to a uniform $1 to pay for a package of transportation improvements.
Before the widening project, the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge had four lanes (two in each direction) on the flat section and six lanes (three in each direction) on the high-rise section.
After construction, the bridge is six lanes wide all the way across, with two shoulders in eachdirection on the 4.7-mile-long low-rise trestle section. The entire bridge had earlier beenstrengthened as part of Caltrans’ toll bridge seismic retrofit program.
"Commuters traveling between the East Bay and San Mateo County will have something to celebrate, come Monday," said MTC Chair Brown. "Having the extra lanes and shoulders should make traffic flow much more smoothly in a corridor that has been a serious bottleneck in the past."
"This is yet another example of delivering meaningful congestion relief to Bay Area motorists," said Caltrans’ Morales. "This route was formerly the 11th-most congested route in the Bay Area and has been significantly improved."
Originally built in 1967, the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge currently carries 87,000 vehicles daily, a figure that is expected to reach 95,000 by the year 2010.
The $200 million widening project includes the addition of three new toll booths, each equipped with FasTrak(TM) electronic toll collection, and extension of the formerly two-mile-long westbound carpool lane by one mile eastward along the eastern approach to the bridge. A pedestrian/bicycle overcrossing of State Route 92 on the Hayward side of the bridge also has been built, to provide improved north-south access for the existing Bay Trail in that area, and portions of the trail between the San Mateo-Hayward and the Dumbarton bridges on the eastern side of the bridge have been upgraded. In addition, a bicycle shuttle across the bridge itself has been launched.