Skip to main content

November Bay Area Part 4; Richmond-San Rafael Bridge/I-580

Given that I was heading to the Marin Headlands from Mount Diablo I didn't think it would be a good idea to try to slog through downtown San Francisco and have to pay two bridge tolls.  That being the case after finishing a route clinch of CA 24 I jumped on I-580 and headed to the northern end of San Francisco Bay to cross via the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.


The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is a double deck truss bridge spanning 5.5 miles with a maximum clearance of 185 feet.  The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge connects Richmond in Contra Costa County and San Rafael in Marin County.  Construction on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge started in 1953 and was completed by 1956. The 1956 and 1957 state highway maps reflect the completion of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge on the northern end of San Francisco Bay.

1956 State Highway Map

1957 State Highway Map

Prior to 1959 the route leading to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was part of unsigned Legislative Route Number 69 between US 101 and US 40.  It wasn't until 1959 that California State Route 17 was extended over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to meet US 101.  The change from an unsigned highway to CA 17 can be seen on the 1958 and 1959 State Highway Map City inserts.

1958 State Highway Map Insert

1959 State Highway Map Insert

By 1984 I-580 had been extended over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge replacing CA 17.  The I-580 designation was one of many of what I consider to be questionable Interstate Designations in the Bay Area which replaced previous state highways with preexisting route continuity.

Currently the toll for crossing the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is $5 dollars for two axle vehicles.  After the tollbooths the official name for the structure the "John F McCarthy Memorial Bridge" can be observed.


The double decker structure of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is pretty striking.  It appears that the shoulder in theory could be utilized in the future for an additional lane if the need ever arose.  The  bridge is obviously exempt from Interstate Standards given there is not a shoulder on both sides of the roadway.






There is a decent overlook of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in Marin County at San Quentin Point.  Interesting to consider that one of the most infamous California State Prisons is literally within walking distance of the overlook.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Horace Wilkinson Bridge (Baton Rouge, LA)

Standing tall across from downtown Baton Rouge, the Horace Wilkinson Bridge carries Interstate 10 across the lower Mississippi River between West Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parishes. Unusually, the bridge is actually named for three separate people; three generations of Horace Wilkinsons who served in the Louisiana State Legislature over a combined period of 54 years. Constructed in the 1960s and opened to traffic in 1968, this is one of the largest steel bridges on the lower Mississippi. It’s also the tallest bridge across the Mississippi, with its roadway reaching 175 ft at the center span. Baton Rouge is the northernmost city on the river where deep-water, ocean-going vessels can operate. As a result, this bridge is the northernmost bridge on the river of truly gigantic proportions. Altogether, the bridge is nearly 2 ½ miles long and its massive truss superstructure is 4,550 ft long with a center main truss span of 1,235 ft. The Horace Wilkinson Bridge is one of the largest

Sunshine Bridge (Donaldsonville, LA)

Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in southern Louisiana, the Sunshine Bridge spans the lower Mississippi River near the city of Donaldsonville as part of the longer Louisiana Highway 70 corridor, which connects Interstate 10 and Airline Highway (US 61) with US 90 in Morgan City. In the years following World War II, the only bridges across the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana were located in the area of the state’s two largest cities – Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Postwar agricultural and industrial development along the river in this region led to the planning of a series of infrastructure projects in southern Louisiana that were aimed at spurring this development and modernization of the Delta region. One of these projects was known as the Acadian Thruway and was developed in the 1950s as a toll road intended to connect greater New Orleans with Lafayette and points west while providing a high-speed bypass of the Baton Rouge metro area. The Thruway, which

Natchez-Vidalia Bridge (Natchez, MS)

  Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and Vicksburg near the city of Natchez, the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge crosses the lower Mississippi River between southwest Mississippi and northeastern Louisiana at the city of Vidalia. This river crossing is a dual span, which creates an interesting visual effect that is atypical on the Mississippi River in general. Construction on the original bridge took place in the late 1930s in conjunction with a much larger parallel effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen the area’s flood protection and levee system along the Mississippi River. One of the more ambitious aspects of this plan was to relocate the city of Vidalia to a location of higher ground about one mile downriver from the original settlement. The redirection of the river through the Natchez Gorge (which necessitated the relocation of the town) and the reconstruction of the river’s levee system in the area were undertaken in the aftermath of the Great Flood of 1927, wh