Bridge across Troubled Water

The geography of the Bay area means that it is frequently necessary to cross bridges. There are six major bridges that cross the bay (View Map). The most famous is the Golden Gate that carries the 101 Freeway from San Francisco into the North Bay. The other one of note is the two-deck Bay Bridge, across which Dustin Hoffman drives in his Alfa Romeo in The Graduate. The two that I use most often are the Benicia and Carquinas bridges which link to the East Bay areas.

Fortunately, I do not need to cross either on my way to work. The bridges are both a source of tail backs and are financed through a $4 toll. The toll only applies in one direction, but a daily commute will still consume about $1000. The toll booths do not take credit or debit cards, so you must have cash with you or have a special transponder fitted to your car. This latter option is preferable as you do not need to stop as you go through the toll booths, and there are special lanes for transponder fitted cars which reduces queuing times.

A new North bound span has been built for the Benicia bridge, which opens today. This will give the crossing five lanes in each direction. The toll booths also include an enhanced transponder system, which allows drivers to go through at full freeway speeds, rather than slow down to 20mph as is required at the other crossings. The original stated purpose of this blog was to focus on differences between the US and the UK, but the Benicia Bridge illustrates that somethings are the same; originally budgeted to cost $300m, the final cost was $1.2bn.

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Published in: on 25 August, 2007 at 8:46  Leave a Comment  

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