Bay Farm bridge set for makeover

Bay Farm bridge set for makeover

Scott Weitze

The San Leandro Bay Bridge – better known to locals as the Bay Farm Island bridge – will be getting a bit of a facelift.

The car bridge will be closed nights starting in October. The bike bridge, meanwhile, will be shuttered for some daytime and some evening hours.

Caltrans will give the City Council a preview of the planned $3.4 million rehabilitation project at the council’s meeting tonight.

Built in 1953 to connect Alameda’s Main Island with Bay Farm Island and traverse the San Leandro Channel that connects San Leandro Bay with San Francisco Bay, the single leaf bascule drawbridge handles more than 20,000 crossings on a normal day. The work is expected to affect between 200 and 510 cars per hour.

The bridge rehabilitation will include pressure washing and painting of the steel in the movable truss span, which was last painted in 1978. The current hydraulic system, installed when the bike bridge was added, will be serviced.

The bridge catwalk will be modified and expanded to ease future maintenance work on the bridge, and the traffic and pedestrian gates will be replaced. No other substantive changes in the appearance or function of the bridge are planned.

To ease the effect of the rehabilitation project on traffic, bridge closures will be limited to evening hours. Closures are planned to take place from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, midnight to 4 a.m. Fridays, midnight to 6 a.m. Saturdays and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sundays through May 2016. Several detour routes will be available.

The bike bridge, which will be outfitted for better maintenance access, will have more extensive closure hours on weekdays. It will be closed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Fridays. No weekend closures to bike traffic are planned.

Boat traffic will also be affected, with no drawbridge openings for mariner passage from January 2, 2016 to May 15, 2016. Caltrans is working with the Aeolian Yacht Club and the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure other options for boats.

Funding for the project is coming from the State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

When the work contracts are awarded and the schedule for the project is finalized, residents will be notified by mail and with flyers. Electronic street sign announcements will be posted for drivers.

Details of the project and detour routes will be posted at, and updates will also be posted on Twitter, @caltransD4. The presentation to the council is available on the city's website.


Submitted by Richard Hausman (not verified) on Tue, Feb 3, 2015

More correctly, the CURRENT bridge was built in 1953. The previous bridge was a swing bridge, which was moved and currently operates in the Delta. The anchoring foundation of the previous bridge can still be seen just northwest of the current bridge.

Submitted by Question (not verified) on Tue, Feb 3, 2015

Is there plan for emergency vehicles to get to/from Alameda Hospital?

Submitted by Scott Weitze on Tue, Feb 3, 2015

Interesting, thanks Richard. Any idea where in the Delta?

Submitted by Li_ (not verified) on Tue, Feb 3, 2015

"Several detour routes will be available." Several from main island? Really? I can hardly wait to learn where they are. I'll bet the people caught in the Doolittle/Island Drive bottleneck are interested to learn too.

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Tue, Feb 3, 2015

Hey Li - the detours are shown in Caltrans' presentation for tonight; I've attached it to the bottom of the piece.

Jon Spangler's picture
Submitted by Jon Spangler on Wed, Feb 4, 2015

The scheduled bike bridge daytime reopening of 3 PM does not seem to help many Lincoln Middle School students if they get out of school early, which happens a lot.

Since the bike bridge is smaller than the auto bridge, it would seem that bike access is being compromised in order to devote relatively less time and effort to rehabbing the bike bridge than to the auto bridge. Why should bike access be more limited during this effort than auto access?

At the very least, CalTrans needs to offer Alameda lots more information before this project gets underway--this was evident from last night's discussion before the City Council when CalTrans reps did not know the answers to key questions.

Submitted by Webster (not verified) on Thu, Feb 5, 2015

When will CalTrans fix the tubes? The ceiling is unfinished from the earthquake retrofit that was done in the early 2000s.