Third Eastbound Lane on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Opens Today

Cross Section of Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (Looking West) Showing Proposed Improvements
Diagram showing (in orange) the new third lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to accommodate peak-period traffic in the eastbound Interstate 580 direction.
Peter Beeler

Caltrans today will open a long-awaited third eastbound lane on Interstate 580 to accommodate peak period traffic from San Rafael to Richmond. The opening of the lane marks a major milestone in the multi-year, $53 million project to convert the right shoulder to carry afternoon traffic from Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in San Rafael to a newly-expanded Richmond Parkway/Point Richmond exit in Richmond. The new lane typically will be open to traffic each day from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) affiliate, which administers revenue from the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges, is funding the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Access Improvement Projects with support from Caltrans to integrate these improvements into the state’s traffic management system. Other project partners include the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM).

A series of newly-installed electronic signs will indicate to motorists when the new third lane is open to traffic. These include both a large changeable message board on the Marin County approach to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and 20 smaller signs installed over each traffic lane on the bridge. The smaller signs will display green arrows to indicate open lanes or a red X to indicate a closed lane.

Work continues on the first-ever bicycle/pedestrian link between Contra Costa and Marin counties. To separate bicyclists and pedestrians from westbound traffic on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, plans for the new 10-feet wide, Americans with Disabilities Act standards-compliant bike/ped path call for installation of a moveable concrete barrier that will allow BATA and Caltrans to conduct bridge maintenance work during short closures of the path. Most of these closures will occur at night. A "zipper truck" similar to that used for the moveable median barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge will used to shift the barrier on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Completion of the moveable barrier project is slated for early 2019.

More information about the I-580 Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Access Improvement Projects can be found on the MTC website.

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