Richmond-San Rafael Bridge joint replacement project: 29 down, two to go

By Mark Prado
Richmond-San Rafael Bridge
Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. John Huseby photo via Caltrans.

Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority say construction crews have now replaced 29 of the 31 upper deck joints on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

Work is continuing at the last two locations, and the project remains on track for completion later this month. The two remaining joints on the upper deck are of different types than those replaced in the early stages of the project, however, and work at these locations will involve the construction of additional structural steel components. Though the pace of progress on the final joint replacements will be slower than on earlier phase, the final two upper deck joints are expected to be in place by mid-July, with the entire upper deck project on track for completion by the end of July. Another 30 joints on the lower deck of the bridge will be replaced next year.

Each of the original 1950-era joints is being replaced by a new joint that features a rubberized seal designed to shrink and expand with changing temperatures. This will prevent cracking of the surrounding concrete road deck.

To minimize impacts to commute traffic, joint replacement work is being done at night. Drivers can expect one lane of traffic to be closed most nights from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. New steel plates have been installed at work locations. Drivers can pass over these plates at posted speeds. There is no need to slow down for these plates. Berkeley photographer Karl Nielsen last month joined the work crews to capture their nightly race to get the necessary work done in time to accommodate morning commute traffic.



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