29th Avenue overcrossing set for closure

29th Avenue overcrossing set for closure

Michele Ellson

The future 29th Avenue overcrossing. Image courtesy of Caltrans.

Island commuters who are already facing delays due to work on the High Street Bridge will soon face a fresh obstacle to their commute: Reconstruction of the I-880’s 29th Avenue overcrossing, which sits in Oakland just across the Park Street Bridge.

Caltrans crews will close the overcrossing between Ford Street and East 10th Street on April 3 in order to demolish the existing crossing and build a new one. Construction activities for the overcrossing project are expected to take place through October 2016.

Construction activities will result in some nighttime closures on I-880 in both the northbound and southbound directions, as well as some occasional on-ramp and off-ramp closures.

The overcrossing reconstruction is part of a $100 million effort to improve access and safety at the 23rd Avenue and 29th Avenue entrances to and exits from the I-880. Construction activities are expected to take place through 2018.

Detours for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are listed at the bottom of this story.

Caltrans plans to replace a pair of two-lane 23rd Avenue overcrossings with a single three-lane span; the 29th Avenue overcrossing, which holds two lanes now, will also be replaced with a three-lane crossing. The spans will have better bike and pedestrian access than they do now, Caltrans representatives told Alameda’s Transportation Commission at its March 2014 meeting.

Other project phases include construction of a new I-880 North off-ramp to 29th Avenue and a roundabout on East 9th Street, and reconfiguration of 23rd Avenue. Caltrans has already constructed a portion of a planned retaining wall on East 8th Street in Oakland, between Portwood and Lisbon avenues.

The work is being done to replace spans that are at the end of their useful lives. The new overcrossings will be 14 inches taller than their predecessors, Caltrans representatives told the Transportation Commission at the March 2014 meeting.

At that meeting, commission members and one Alameda resident expressed concerns that the new overcrossings would clog traffic, rather than lightening it. But a Caltrans representative said the fixes would provide more direct access from 29th Avenue to and from the Park Street Bridge.

Caltrans is hosting a public meeting to discuss the planned closures from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Main Library, 1550 Oak Street. Addition information is available on the 29th Avenue overcrossing project page on Caltrans’ website.

The project is one of several that will be affecting Island commuters over the next 19 months. The Alameda County Public Works Agency has initiated daytime closures for deck repairs and rehabilitation of the High Street Bridge that will be in effect from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays through April 27, and nighttime closures of the Park Street Bridge for repairs are expected to follow.

The Bay Farm Island Bridge is also set for a $3.4 million makeover to begin in October, with nighttime closures planned to take place through May 2016. The Bay Farm Island bike bridge will also experience daytime closures during weekdays, and boat traffic will also be affected.

DETOUR INFORMATION FOR CLOSURE OF 29TH AVENUE OVERCROSSING

Vehicle traffic

From Alameda Park Street Bridge to Oakland 29th Avenue:
Left turn on Ford Street
Right on 23rd Avenue
Right on East 12th Street
Left on 29th Avenue

From Oakland 29th Avenue to Alameda Park Street Bridge:
Right turn on East 12th Street
Left on 23rd Avenue

Pedestrian and bicycle traffic

From Alameda Park Street Bridge to Oakland 29th Avenue:
Right turn on East 7th Street
Left on Derby Street
Right on Elmwood Avenue/East 8th Street
Left turn through the pedestrian walkway towards East 9th Street
Left on East 9th Street
Right on East 29th Avenue

From Oakland 29th Avenue to Alameda Park Street Bridge:
Right on East 9th Street
Right through the pedestrian walkway toward Elmwood Avenue/East 8th Street
Right on Derby Street
Right on East 7th Street

Comments

Submitted by MJ (not verified) on Tue, Mar 17, 2015

Thanks for the detailed update, Michele!

Submitted by Jan Greene on Tue, Mar 17, 2015

Sorry, not enough coffee yet to understand the full implications of all this bridge work. So does this mean we won't be able to get onto 880 from Park Street starting April 3? If so, people would be using the Fruitvale and High Street onramps during the morning commute, but just Fruitvale during the day and evening until April 27. Is that right? Just trying to picture how people will get to the freeway from the East end. Thanks!

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Tue, Mar 17, 2015

Hey Jan: Just e-mailed Caltrans to find out. Stay tuned.

Submitted by Li_ (not verified) on Tue, Mar 17, 2015

Have the various state, regional, local transit/public works departments gotten together and developed a timeline for when accesses are closed? Especially over-lap times. I'm not sure, but seems like there will be a time when one will have to take the tube to 880, to Heggenberger, to Doolittle, to Island Dr to get to Temple Isreal. We need a visual, if they have one. Thanks for checking.

Submitted by Mr. Dubious (not verified) on Wed, Mar 18, 2015

Michele. When you speak to Caltrans, also please try to find out who will be responsible for design of the intersections and traffic signals at the freeway interchanges. When this project was introduced a few years ago, they told us we would have a left turn signal to get onto 880N from the new 23rd Ave overpass, and it would likely back up traffic in the morning onto Park Street. If the City of Oakland controls the signals, it will be a total disaster! All you need to do is look at how they've botched up everything related to Fruitvale under 880, and the new interchange at High Street, with traffic exiting Alameda backed up day and night because of the badly timed signals for the left turns to get onto 880N (improved only by closing the bridge). Oakland's engineers seem to have never heard of "smart signals" and appear to be incapable of timing signals so cars aren't sitting through green lights because the intersection is full. And I'm sure they don't care about the impact on Alameda.

I think we all would benefit if you were able to get the attention of Caltrans about this and we actually could find someone who cares and can affect decisions. Otherwise, Alameda residents will be paying for Oakland's incompetence for years, regardless of Caltrans' good intentions.

Thanks for your help on this.

Submitted by nora (not verified) on Wed, Mar 18, 2015

Is it just me, or are there a whole lotta public works projects; street, ramp, and bridge closures and new residential developments going on ALL AT ONCE??? Has anyone thought about the logistics here? is everyone in such a rush to spend Federal/state grant money before it expires that they have to tear up everything at the same time? Whoa, baby!

Submitted by Maureen (not verified) on Thu, Mar 19, 2015

Am I understanding this correctly that two of the bridges will have closures from April 3 to April 27th? If so, couldn't they start this new project on April 28th, when the other bridge project is complete? Besides just traffic tieups, it seems dangerous to limit on/off access to the island if both bridges or access points will be closed at the same time.

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Hi Maureen: The Park Street Bridge won't be closed, just the 29th Avenue overcrossing; there are detours listed at the bottom of the story. And Jan: Still waiting to hear back from Caltrans.