Oakland: Embarcadero Bridge Replacement Work to Begin June 2015

Rendering: City of Oakland. 
A crucial transportation link on Oakland's Embarcadero is about to close for two full years as a replacement bridge is being constructed across Lake Merritt Channel. The small, perfectly non-descript 2-lane bridge that connects the Jack London Square neighborhood with Brooklyn Basin and points beyond has been found to be at risk of collapse during a major earthquake and will be completely rebuilt. Construction work for the new bridge is slated to begin in mid-June 2015 with a completion date set for June 2017. The bridge has a budget of about $23 million with the vast majority of funds coming from the federal highway bridge program. Beyond just being a necessary investment in our infrastructure, what's exciting about this project is that the new bridge will be wider, allowing for the addition of bike lanes and sidewalks in both directions. Additionally, a new public restroom will be constructed near the northern end of the bridge.

I'm relieved to see this upgrade as the current bridge is not very bike friendly despite having bike lanes leading up to the bridge on both sides. To get across by bike, one option is for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk which is narrow and on the west side of the bridge only, making it difficult to access if traveling north. The other option is to merge into the traffic lane which can be harrowing as freeway-bound cars often speed across this narrow bridge. Offering a safe and easy way to travel from JLS to Brooklyn Basin will become increasingly important as thousands of people will be moving into their new apartments in the Brooklyn Basin development in the coming years. The new bike lanes will also close a significant gap in the Bay Trail network with the west side of the new bridge offering a 12-foot multi-use path directly connected to the existing Bay Trail. To make things even more exciting, plans are underway to build a bike and pedestrian path along Lake Merritt Channel with a new bridge going east across the railroad tracks. All these improvements will really help to connect the future residents of this area to the rest of Oakland while connecting the rest of Oakland to the many recreational offerings of the Bay Trail, Brooklyn Basin and Jack London Square.

Rendering: City of Oakland
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July 2, 2015 at 7:05 AM delete

will there still be a way for bikes and pedestrians to cross over this bridge during the closure or what will be the alternative bike route for people traveling from east oakland to Jack London Square? I ride my bike along the embarcadero to JSL from Fruitvale all the time. What is my alternative route?

July 14, 2015 at 5:19 PM delete