Monday, October 12, 2009

Outside funds to pay for Benicia bridge

Outside funds to pay for Benicia bridge
By Tony Burchyns
Posted: 10/12/2009

BENICIA -- The city may build a much-needed foot and bike bridge over Interstate 780 without spending a dime of local money, officials say.

That's because Benicia received more federal money for the proposed project last month, covering $62,000 that would have had to come from city funds, acting city engineer Mike Roberts said.

That means the entire $3.3 million bridge is expected to be paid for by outside sources.

"It's great news," Roberts said. "I've been doing this work for more than 20 years and I haven't seen a project of this magnitude that hasn't cost a local agency any funds."

With City Council approval expected later this month, the project could be completed by November 2010, Roberts said.

The project aims to solve a decades-old problem -- the lack of a safe freeway crossing in east Benicia for children and adults on foot and bikes. Southampton residents also would benefit from direct access to the Benicia State Recreation Area.

The bridge would be more than three football fields in length -- about 1,000 feet -- with a 12-foot-wide multipurpose path. It would connect Rose Drive north of I-780 to the state park's existing trail network.

The crossing would be located next to theRose Drive overpass, where there is no sidewalk.

"Not only will it connect north and south Benicia, but it is regionally significant because it will eliminate the gap in the (Bay Area) Ridge Trail and the Bay Trail Project," Roberts added.

Contact staff writer Tony Burchyns at or call (707) 553-6831.