The TRANSPLAN committee OK’d the use of $1.4 million in developer money to change the plan of the bridge so that eBART trains could pass under it. While the officials, representing all of East County, expressed regret that the request from BART wasn’t made sooner, Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor said the decision made sense.
If TRANSPLAN had ignored BART and gone through with the original plans, the bridge would need to have been knocked down and rebuilt to ensure eBART trains could safely pass through, according to Taylor.
“It’s better to do it up front than turn around three, five, 10 years later and go back and re-do it,” Taylor said. “The last thing I’d want to do is to spend taxpayers’ money to build a bridge, which is extremely expensive, and five years later turn around and tear the bridge down.”
The plan now calls for the northbound connector ramp to be widened and realigned for eBART. Contractors will also need to minimally reconstruct a soundwall. BART will also pass along future savings from eBART to help repay TRANSPLAN for the work.
The revised 4-160 connector would make it easier for drivers on what used to be called the Highway 4 Bypass to connect with Highway 160 and over the Antioch Bridge. Currently, northbound drivers must pass through Oakley city streets or exit the freeway at Hillcrest Avenue in Antioch and reverse direction.
According to transportation officials, the project is still in the developmental stage and will cost roughly $50 million. Funding would come mainly from Antioch Bridge toll money. Taylor believes it could be a decade or so before work gets started.
TRANSPLAN faced three options: 1) to continue with the original plan and not take eBART into account; 2) to widen the northbound bridge for $1.4 million; or 3) to completely reconstruct the northbound ramp for $3.3 million. Transportation officials decided to take eBART into account, and chose the lesser expensive of the final two items.
“This is way down the road,” Taylor said. “You have to plan way into the future. It’s not for today – it’s for tomorrow.”