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  CalTrans to Close Richmond San Rafael On-Ramp for Two Years
November 25, 2011

Without consulting with or informing any City of Richmond officials and without any public notification or outreach, CalTrans is on the verge of implementing a massive deck repair project on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge that for two years will close the east bound on ramp from Western Drive and the San Pablo Peninsula. This on ramp is used by Chevron (including Rod and Gun Club users), East Brother Light Station, City of Richmond Terminal 4, Pt. San Pablo Yacht Harbor and Dutra Materials. It would also have been used by contractors doing a massive cleanup project at Point Molate.

During the entire two-year construction period, any vehicles coming from the San Pablo Peninsula that would now head east on I-580 will have to make a right turn onto the bridge (heading west), cross the bridge to Marin County, make a u-turn and then cross the bridge again (heading east) in order to end up going east on I-580. It will add at least 11 miles and a minimum of at least 12 minutes at the speed limit of 55 mph for each trip. It will adversely affect the businesses and the residents at Pt. San Pablo Yacht Harbor, the users and employees of Dutra Quarry and the users of the Chevron Rod and Gun Club. This scope of detour is unbelievable and unprecedented!

Just so everyone understands the impact of the proposed detour, we have compiled the following rough estimates for the two-year construction period:

  • 580,320 extra miles driven
  • $295,963 cost to drivers at IRS mileage rate of $0.51 (no tolls included)
  • 572,892 extra pounds of GHG emitted
  • 11,605 hours of extra driving time


These are just the direct impacts. Other indirect impacts would include:

  • Cost of lost time for 11,605 hours of extra driving time
  • Impact on business at East Brother Light Station and Pt. San Pablo Yacht Harbor.
  • Cost of additional delays from extra traffic taking detour.
  • Additional costs of Point Molate cleanup due to contractor delays and related expenses.


I am sure there are more.

I just found out about this on November 14, 2011, when I was handed the Fact Sheet below by the owner of Pt. San Pablo Yacht Harbor. I immediately emailed Cheryl Nevares, the CalTrans project manager, for more information, but I have never heard back from her.

It appears that CalTrans has misused a CEQA provision for exemption of maintenance projects to illegally make this a stealth project without public scrutiny, without considering alternatives and without mitigations. Apparently, Caltrans utilized a Categorical Exemption under CEQA and Categorical Exclusion under NEPA, which is why no one heard about an environmental document.  They essentially used the maintenance and repair categories for both State and federal environmental clearance.

Adding insult to injury, CalTrans has refused to even consider integrating into the project any aspect of the proposed Bay Trail connection across I-580.

What can you do? Press “reply to all,” and let CalTrans and the staff of Senator Loni Hancock and Assembly Member Nancy Skinner know that this is unacceptable. Senator Loni Hancock and Assembly Member Nancy Skinner have already contacted CalTrans and asked for a meeting to discuss the project.

CalTrans Richmond-San rafael Bridge Closure.jpg