Entries tagged with “Highway 1”.


A crowd of Tomales Bay area residents showed up at West Marin School Thursday to look over Caltrans plan to replace the Green Bridge in Point Reyes Station. The bridge carries an average of 3,000 vehicles on Highway 1 over Papermill Creek daily.

Caltrans would like to spend approximately $5.8 million to replace the 100-foot-long bridge, beginning in 2018 or 2019 and finishing three or four years later.

A team of Caltrans representatives were on hand Thursday to explain diagrams of four alternative designs for the replacement: a short, steel-truss bridge; a long, steel-truss bridge; a precast, concrete girder bridge; and a suspension bridge.

The underside of the Green Bridge.

“The current bridge was determined to be seismically deficient, and retrofitting the bridge was deemed infeasible due to limitations caused by the nature of the original structure,” Caltrans reported earlier. The bridge was built in 1929.

The alternative designs differ in: how the piers will affect the creek channel, affect neighboring properties, and alter the approaches to the bridge. They also differ in bridge height and in the thickness of the deck.

The short-steel-truss design is “very similar” to the present bridge, Caltrans says. ________________________________________________________________

The long-steel-truss design would be taller than the existing bridge.

It would have overhead bracing, which would put a limit on the height of vehicles that could use it.

Approximately 120 of the vehicles that now cross the bridge each day are trucks.

 

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Under this alternative, the bridge deck would be two feet thicker than it presently is. It would also cover more land and water, and this would have “moderate impacts to adjacent properties,” Caltrans noted.  _______________________________________________________________

The suspension-cable design under consideration would have towers at each end, anchoring the cables supporting the bridge deck.

There would be “no piers” in the creek and there would be “no change to the current road alignment,” according to the state.

 

 

 

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A spot check of residents attending Thursday’s meeting found many  people skeptical of the need to replace the bridge but resigned to it.

The hot-button issue was what will happen to traffic on Highway 1 and the intersecting levee road during the estimated 18 to 24 months of rebuilding. Caltrans has two alternative proposals for a temporary bridge, but each would be able to accommodate only one direction of traffic at a time.

Provision would be made for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and a stoplight would be installed to regulate vehicle traffic. Vehicle delays would be “about five minutes,” the highway department predicted. The traffic jams on a summer weekend would be huge, numerous people warned.

A bridge too far?

Coming in for virtually no discussion was a smaller bridge about 60 yards north of the Green Bridge. This Highway 1 bridge was also built in 1929, but no mention was made of its condition.

Another bridge too far?

Also left unmentioned was a second small bridge, which is about 50 yards south of the Green Bridge near Marin Sun Farms. What’s the condition of its piers? I wasn’t about to wade around in the muck to find out.

A “draft environmental document will be made available for public review and comment in mid-2016,” according to Caltrans. “The final environmental document is expected to be issued by early 2017, and design completion will be in late 2018.

“Construction is expected to begin in three to four years and last approximately two to three years.”

People wanting to have their concerns considered in Caltrans’ planning can write the state at: <lagunitas_bridge@dot.ca.gov>.

Welcome back for another year. The management of this blog takes great pleasure in announcing that 2013 is being brought to you through arrangements made by SparselySageAndTimely.com. Portions of this year have been pre­recorded. Any resemblance between per­sons living and dead would be ghastly.

Last week’s rainstorms here may have made shopping trips less attractive to residents who had waited until the last minute to buy Christmas presents, but in another vein, so to speak, the rains also brought forth a seldom-seen beauty.

Point Reyes Station received more than 10 inches of rain in December, and outside Mitchell cabin, the downhill entrances to gopher tunnels turned into artesian springs.

Thirteen Turns on Highway 1 north of Dogtown.

The State Highway Commission’s engineering staff half a century ago proposed straightening Highway 1 between Olema and Highway 101 at Richardson Bay. For awhile, West Marin residents were divided over the proposal.

Many residents worried that the character of West Marin would change if it were connected to East Marin and San Francisco by a high-speed highway. On the other hand, many members of the business community reasoned they would get more customers if West Marin were accessible to more people.

To demonstrate the need for a straighter and presumably safer highway, two men, Frank Myer and Lee Sefton, 52 years ago this January counted all the curves on Highway 1 between Point Reyes Station and Highway 101. As was reported at the time in The Baywood Press (the original name of The Point Reyes Light), there are 520 curves in that 30-mile stretch, and “33 of these are blind, sharp curves.”

Kite flying outside Mitchell cabin on Dec. 30.

Here is the Highway 1 survey carried out by Myer and Sefton, whom the newspaper referred to as a “citizens curve-counting committee”:

Point Reyes Station to Olema — 2 miles, 21 curves. Olema to Bolinas — 10 miles, 115 curves. Bolinas to Stinson Beach — 5 miles, 81 curves. Stinson Beach to Muir Beach — 6 miles, 166 curves. Muir Beach to Tam Junction — 6 miles, 132 curves. Tam Junction to Highway 101 — 1 mile, 5 carves.

This abundance of curves prompted a sardonic comment from Baywood Press publisher Don DeWolfe: “Makes us wonder what the motive is behind opposition to the improvement of this wonderful road.”

Despite its support from members of the business community, such as Myer, Sefton, and DeWolfe, most West Marin residents — and finally the Marin County Board of Supervisors — came to oppose straightening Highway 1, and the state abandoned the proposal. In retrospect, most of us are glad it did.

Let me now close by wishing my English-speaking friends and relatives: Happy New Year! And my Spanish-speaking friends and relatives: ¡Prospero año nuevo!