Bay Bridge Eastern Span Bike Path Now Set to Open in September

The bike-pedestrian path on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, pictured in May 2014.  (TJ Gehling/Flickr)

Work to fully extend the bike and pedestrian path along the eastern span of the Bay Bridge from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island is back underway.

After a set of delays, the project is now slated to be completed this September, Caltrans spokeswoman Leah Robinson-Leach says.

"The public has been patient," said Robinson-Leach. "They have waited for this. And there's so many cyclists looking forward to have that entire bike path for a full experience to get to the island, as well as come back to Oakland."

The delays came during Caltrans crews' ongoing  demolition of the old eastern span and as the agency changed its design plan for the bike path extension to Yerba Buena Island.

Currently, the Bay Bridge Trail, the official name of the bike path, starts in Oakland but stops adjacent to the eastern span's suspension tower. Initially, Caltrans said it would complete the path by the fall of 2014.

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Word of its new completion date was first reported by NBC Bay Area.

Bicycling advocates say that despite the delays, they're optimistic about the project's future.

"It's really important to get this right, and that's what is happening here," said Chris Cassidy, spokesman for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

The Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, which oversees seismic retrofit work on the Bay Area's seven major state-owned bridges, approved the overall change from a truss to a cantilever design. On Thursday, Caltrans plans to ask the committee to back the specific contract adjustments to move the project forward.

Caltrans on Monday began measuring and fitting a set of beams that will be used to support an observation deck on the path near Yerba Buena Island.

The bike-pedestrian path currently stops about 1,200 feet short of Yerba Buena Island. The agency expects the extension to cost $8 million.

Cassidy, the SFBC spokesman, noted in an email that the eastern span bike path is on track to be completed as new residential developments emerge on both Yerba Buena and Treasure islands.

The current path opened to the public in September 2013 just after the new eastern span opened to motor-vehicle traffic.

The path is open now, but it's been closed from time to time for safety reasons as the old bridge is taken down.

Earlier this year, transportation officials and bike advocates acknowledged it could take another decade for a bicycle path to be built along the Bay Bridge's western span into San Francisco.

When the entire project is completed, engineers expect as many as 10,000 people to use the path daily, Cassidy said.