SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) announced today that contractors already working on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to replace the upper-deck joint will remain on-site for the next several months to replace 31 additional original joints on the upper deck of the 63-year-old span.
In the early 2000s, more than 90 percent of the bridge's 856 deck joints were rebuilt as part of the seismic retrofit or through other rehabilitation projects. It was determined at the time that the remaining 61 joints, different types of joints called sliding plate joints, did not need to be replaced. The remaining 30 joints on the lower deck will be replaced as part of an upcoming rehabilitation contract later in 2019.
"Safety is Caltrans' top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to replace the remaining sliding plate joints on the bridge beginning with those on the upper deck," said Caltrans District 4 Director Tony Tavares. "Caltrans engineers perform regular inspections of the bridge and have reinspected all joints on the bridge in recent weeks. The bridge remains safe and open to the public."
The most recent inspection of the underside of the upper deck and the upper deck joints was conducted in August 2018. The last inspection of the driving surface on the upper deck was completed in September 2017. Structural integrity issues were not identified in any of the last inspections.
Replacement of the joint at Pier 59 that experienced spalling earlier this month is expected to be complete by Saturday, March 2. Nearly identical work on the 31 additional upper deck joints is scheduled to begin March 4. Crews will begin installing temporary steel plates on the upper deck roadway at these locations on the night of Monday, Feb. 25. Work will take place overnight from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and one lane of traffic will remain open in each direction.
The 5.5-mile bicycle/pedestrian path that will establish the first Bay Trail connection between Contra Costa and Marin counties is projected to open this summer. Installation of the four-mile-long moveable barrier system that will separate bicyclists and pedestrians from westbound auto traffic on the bridge's upper deck originally was scheduled for April and is now slated for June to allow crews unfettered access to each of the additional joint repair locations over the coming months. Opening of the bicycle/pedestrian path likely will follow installation of the moveable barrier system by three to four weeks. Inclement weather could extend this schedule.
Caltrans owns and operates the state highway system including the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. BATA administers all toll revenues from the region's seven state-owned toll bridges.
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