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Far-Reaching Plan Bay Area Takes a Big Step Forward  


Plan Bay Area Logo Officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) will vote on the Plan Bay Area Preferred Land Use Scenario and Transportation Investment Strategy at a special joint public meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, 2012, at the Oakland Marriott City Center in the Junior Ballroom at 1001 Broadway, Oakland.

When completed, Plan Bay Area will be the region's 25-year guide to jobs, population and housing distribution, in addition to transportation investments. A draft Plan Bay Area is slated for release in late 2012, to be followed by public hearings throughout the region in January through March 2013. MTC and ABAG are expected to approve a final plan by spring 2013.  


Read more about the interagency Plan Bay Area effort here    


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Seismic Retrofit Projects Proceeding Apace   


Seismic safety is of the utmost importance in earthquake-prone California. While the Bay Bridge seismic retrofit is usually in the headlines (see following article), several other projects are also in the works. 


Dumbarton Bridge to Close on Memorial Day Weekend  

As part of the seismic retrofit, the 1.6-mile Dumbarton Bridge (State Route 84) will be closed on Memorial Day weekend from 10 p.m. Friday, May 25, to 5 a.m. Tuesday, May 29, so that crews can replace the existing expansion joint on the western side of the bridge with a state-of-the-art seismic joint that will absorb and dissipate energy during a seismic event. Click here for alternate routes and additional information. When completed in 2013, the Dumbarton Bridge will meet all current seismic and safety design standards.


Seismic retrofit work on the Antioch Bridge involved installation of steel cross-braces on supporting piers.

Antioch Bridge Retrofit Completed  

In April, construction crews completed a 21-month, $47 million project to bring the 1.8-mile Antioch Bridge up to contemporary seismic safety standards. Cross-braces and steel hinges were installed to strengthen the piers that support the bridge deck. Work crews also installed 82 separate bearings to allow the bridge deck to move independently of its supports in the event of an earthquake. About 15,000 vehicles travel between Contra Costa and Sacramento counties daily. For further details, click here


Doyle Drive Demolished

During a weekend closure April 27-30, crews worked around the clock to demolish the old Doyle Drive and connect a seismically safe, temporary bypass to the completed Battery Tunnel and High Viaduct. This new route through the Presidio will carry traffic until construction is complete in 2015. 


The replacement of Doyle Drive is led by the California Department of Transportation, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and the Federal Highway Administration.   


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Bay Bridge Milestone: Main Cable Placed on Self-Anchored Suspension Span 

The final strand of the main cable for the signature self-anchored suspension (SAS) portion of the new Bay Bridge East Span was hauled into place in early April, marking a major milestone in the construction of this key seismic safety structure. Workers used a state-of-the-art hauling system designed specifically for this operation to pull each of the 137 cable strands from the east end of the span up and over the tower, then down to loop around the west end, then back over the tower and down to re-anchor in the east end. Unlike traditional suspension bridges where the cables are anchored into the ground, a self-anchored suspension bridge's cable is anchored in the road decks. The completed SAS cable will act like a giant sling, supporting the weight of the deck.


One of the 137 steel strands waits to be pulled into place on the SAS. Photo by Mark Jones. 

Once all 137 strands (each made up of 127 high-tensile-strength wires) were connected to the anchor rods that lock them into place, crews began the cable compaction process in which four hydraulic compaction devices, each operating on different sections of the cable, squeezed the strands together to eliminate any loose space between them. This process was 98 percent complete by mid-May, with only the sections of the cable near the east end of the span still needing to be compacted. When compaction is completed in June, workers will have effectively created out of 17,399 wires a mighty, 31-inch-thick steel rope nearly one mile in length and weighing nearly 5,300 tons. Next up: connecting the main cable to the deck with individual suspender cables. Work on that part of the project has already begun, and the new East Span is on track to open to traffic by Labor Day 2013.


See more on the cable hauling and compaction process here.


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2011 Annual Report Released  


MTC's 2011 Annual Report, titled "On the Job," is a salute to Bay Area transportation workers. In addition to MTC's financial statements for fiscal year 2010-2011, the report features photographic portraits of the men and women who are working hard to provide today's transportation services and build tomorrow's improvements.  View the online gallery of transportation worker portraits here. Printed copies of the report are available from MTC's library (510-817-5836).  


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Bike to Work Day 2012 Cyclists Set Record

The sun is just rising above the Bay Bridge in the distance as these cyclists make an early-morning stop at an Energizer Station in San Francisco. Photo by Noah Berger.
Ideal weather conditions contributed to record-breaking numbers of Bike to Work Day participants on May 10, 2012. Officials estimated a 20 percent increase in bicycle traffic over last year's event, with cyclists citing fitness, cost savings, congestion relief and decreased emissions as reasons for their participation. Thousands of commuters were counted at more than 350 Energizer Stations staffed by volunteers, where all could enjoy a healthy snack or refreshing beverage while mingling with fellow cyclists, including elected officials, schoolchildren
Two boys at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Energizer Station clutch bananas on their way to school. Photo by Georgia Lambert.
and little ones being towed by industrious parents.

For additional photos and a video featuring Bike to Work Day festivities in San Francisco, click here.


As part of National Bike Month, Bike Commuters of the Year were chosen from each of the nine Bay Area counties, and Team Bike Challenge continues throughout May. For details, click here.

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Multi-Axle Vehicle Tolls to Rise July 1  

Drivers of big-rig trucks, cars and trucks hauling trailers, and other vehicles or combinations with more than two axles need to take note that the second step in the two-phase toll increase approved in 2010 for multi-axle vehicles on Bay Area toll bridges takes effect July 1, 2012. The first step in the toll increase took effect in July 2011. The Bay Area Toll Authority approved the two-step increase in tolls for multi-axle vehicles on the state-owned bridges in January 2010 as part of a comprehensive toll increase package to finance seismic retrofits of the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges, to help offset the increased cost of debt financing resulting from financial market turmoil that began in 2007, and to counter revenue losses caused by a decline in toll-paying traffic on the bridges since fiscal year 2003-04.

California state law (Streets & Highways Code Sec. 30150.2) requires that tolls on state-owned toll bridges be based on the number of axles on a vehicle or the total number of axles on a vehicle plus the total number of axles on a drawn trailer or vehicle. View the new toll schedule here.

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MTC Projects Win Awards of Merit 

Congratulations to MTC staff members who won an Award of Merit in the Long Form Video category as part of the California Association of Public Information Officers' "Excellence in Communication Awards." The video, titled "Transportation Priorities - How Would YOU Invest?", was screened at Plan Bay Area workshops in January.

"Adapting to Rising Tides: Transportation Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Pilot Project," funded by the Federal Highway Administration and prepared by MTC, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission and Caltrans, won two awards of merit:
  • 2012 American Planning Association California Northern: Award of Merit - Focused Issue Planning; and
  • 2012 Association of Environmental Professionals: Award of Merit - Environmental Resource Document.  

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