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Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program
The State Could Save Millions of Dollars Annually by Implementing Lessons Learned

Report Number: 2018-104

Figure 1

Bay Area Seismic Program Toll Bridges

  1. The Antioch Bridge
  2. The San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge
  3. The Benicia - Martinez Bridge
  4. The Carquinez Bridge
  5. The Dumbarton Bridge
  6. The Richmond - San Rafael Bridge
  7. The San Mateo - Hayward Bridge
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Figure 2

History of the Seismic Program

Figure 2 is a timeline of the seismic program. In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake caused the collapse of a deck section on the east span of the Bay Bridge. In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 192 authorizing $650 million for the seismic retrofit of state-owned toll bridges. In 1997, Caltrans decided to replace the east span. In 2000, Caltrans finished the retrofit of the San Mateo-Hayward and Vincent Thomas bridges. In 2001, The Legislature set funding for the seismic program at about $5.1 billion. In 2002, Caltrans officially began construction on the east span while concurrently finishing the retrofit of three bridges: the Carquinez, the San Diego-Coronado, and the Benicia-Martinez. In 2004, Caltrans completed the retrofit of the west span of the Bay Bridge. In 2005, Caltrans completed the retrofit of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Also in 2005, the Legislature created the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, authorized an additional $3.6 billion for the seismic program, and gave the Toll Authority funding responsibility for any additional east span Bay Bridge cost overruns. In 2009, the Legislature added the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges to the seismic program. Caltrans completed the retrofit of the Antioch Bridge in 2012 and the Dumbarton Bridge in 2013. Also in 2013, the east span officially opened to traffic. Caltrans expects to complete the replacement of the east span of the Bay Bridge in 2019.

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Figure 3

Oversight Committee Composition

This chart shows the membership of the toll bridge program oversight committee. The oversight committee consists of three members: the director of California Transportation Commission, the director of Caltrans, and the executive director of both the Metropolitan Transportation Committee and the Bay Area Toll Authority, the last two of which are legally separate entities that share the same staff, directors, and facility. The California Transportation Commission advises the secretary of transportation and the Legislature on transportation matters. Caltrans' designs, constructs, operates, and maintains transportation systems for which it is responsible. Further, Caltrans builds bridges and transportation facilities, develops risk management plans for the seismic program, and reports on the status of seismic program projects to the oversight committee. The Metropolitan Transportation Committee provides regional transportation planning to the Bay Area, which includes developing a financial plan for the regional transportation system and developing funding sources for transportation projects. The toll authority manages all toll revenue from the state-owned Bay Area bridges and sets toll prices.

The purpose of the oversight committee is to provide oversight and direction to the state's seismic program. In doing so, the oversight committee reviews project status and costs, evaluates project changes including change orders over $1 million, resolves issues, and provides program direction. In addition, the oversight committee provides quarterly reporting to the Legislature, the California Transportation Commission, and the public. Staff from each member organization make up a program management team that supports the oversight committee. As of 2016, the oversight committee is subject to open meeting laws.

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Figure 4

Bay Area Toll Prices

In 1988, Regional Measure 1 brought the base toll on all Bay Area bridges to $1. In 1997 the Legislature increased the toll to $2. Regional Measure 2 passed in 2004 and brought the base toll to $3. An amendment to the Toll Bridge Seismic Program in 2005 increased the toll to $4. In 2010, the addition of Antioch and Dumbarton bridges to the seismic retrofit program necessitated an increase to $5.

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Figure 5

Cormorants Relocated From the Prior East Span During Construction

A photo of four Double-Crested Cormorants standing on a beam above the water, overlooking the new east span.

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Figure 6

Effect of Oversight Committee Actions on Seismic Program Budget and Costs

A bar graph showing changes in the Seismic Program's budget from 1997 to 2019. In 1997 the seismic program budget started at $2.62 billion and increased to $8.69 billion by 2005. After the formation of the toll bridge program oversight committee in 2005 the budget stabilized. When the Legislature added the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges to the seismic program in 2009, the program's budget increased to $9.44 billion. However, decreases in costs for those bridges and the removal of funds from the seismic program budget by the oversight committee in 2010 and 2013 reduced the budget from $9.44 billion to $8.95 billion. The cost to date of the seismic program is $8.81 billion. The oversight committee's estimated completion date for the seismic program, primarily the east span of the Bay Bridge, is 2019, and it projects the total cost will be $8.92 billion, nearly $500 million less than its 2009 budget.

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