View from southwest in 2014
|Carries||2 lanes of SR 160,|
bicycles and pedestrians
|Crosses||San Joaquin River|
and Sacramento County,
|Official name||Senator John A. Nejedly Bridge|
|Owner||State of California|
|Maintained by||California Department of Transportation and the|
Bay Area Toll Authority
|ID number||NBI 28 0009|
|Design||steel plate girder|
|Total length||9,504 feet (1.800 mi; 2.897 km)|
|Width||38.1 feet (11.6 m)|
|Longest span||460 feet (140 m)|
|Clearance below||135 feet (41 m)|
|Replaces||1926 lift bridge|
|Daily traffic||13,600 (2009)|
|Toll||Cars (northbound only) |
$6.00 (cash or FasTrak), $3.00 (carpools during peak hours, FasTrak only)
The Antioch Bridge (officially the Senator John A. Nejedly Bridge) is an automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian bridge in the western United States. Located in northern California, it crosses the San Joaquin River-Stockton Deepwater Shipping Channel, linking Antioch in Contra Costa County with Sherman Island in southern Sacramento County, near Rio Vista.
Named after state senator John Nejedly, the bridge is signed as part of State Route 160. Unlike other toll bridges in California, it has only a single lane of traffic for each direction. The current bridge was completed 42 years ago in 1978, is 1.8 miles (2.9 km) in length, and opened to traffic that December.
1926 toll bridge
The original structure was completed in 1926 by the American Toll Bridge Company (Aven Hanford and Oscar Klatt), who went on to build the original span of the Carquinez Bridge. The bridge was opened on 1 January 1926 as a connecting link on the coast-to-coast Victory Highway. Hanford and Klatt, officials with the Rodeo-Vallejo Ferry Company, had organized the American Toll Bridge Company in 1923, which built the bridge at a cost of greater than US$2,000,000 (equivalent to $30,010,000 in 2019).
The 1926 bridge featured two spans each 270 feet (82 m) long which provided a clearance of 70 feet (21 m) below when opened. The original lift span bridge was plagued with problems throughout its lifetime. Heavy traffic could cross it at no more than 15 miles per hour (24 km/h), and its narrow shipping channel led to collisions with freighters in 1958, 1963, and 1970.
In 1937, Assemblyman Earl D. Desmond urged the California Toll Bridge Authority to acquire the Antioch Bridge. Desmond believed that by purchasing the bridge, tolls could be eliminated, which would spur economic growth. Director Frank W. Clark negotiated with the American Toll Bridge Company, and the state of California acquired ownership of both the Antioch and Carquinez Bridges at a cost of US$5,943,000 (equivalent to $108,460,000 in 2019) on September 16, 1940. Tolls were reduced immediately and further reduced in 1942.
Marine traffic collisions
The narrow ship channel afforded by the raised span led to marine traffic colliding with the bridge in 1958 (rammed by Kaimana), 1963 (rammed by Pasadena) and 1970 (rammed by Washington Bear).
The 1970 collision spurred efforts to build a replacement bridge. In that incident, the lift span was stuck in the raised position. The bridge tender could not leave the bridge and remained in the control house for 20 hours. Local firemen eventually made their way to him and brought him out. The bridge was closed for repairs for 5 months.
1978 replacement bridge
Sen. Nejedly authored Senate Bill 25, which later became Chapter 765 of the California Statutes of 1972, authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds to fund the construction of a replacement to the existing bridge. The bill cited the recent extended disruptions in bridge service from marine traffic damage as well as flooding of the approaches.
Tolls are only collected from northbound traffic at the toll plaza on the south end (Antioch) of the bridge. Since July 2010, the toll rate for passenger cars is five dollars. This toll will increase to $6 beginning January 1, 2019. During peak traffic hours, carpool vehicles carrying two or more people or motorcycles pay a discounted toll of $2.50. For vehicles with more than two axles, the toll rate is $5 per axle. Drivers may either pay by cash or use the FasTrak electronic toll collection device. There are currently three booths at the toll plaza, with the far left booth dedicated to FasTrak users only; the other two booths accept both cash and FasTrak. For three axles, including cars with trailers, the toll is $16.
Historical toll rates
Crossing the original 1926 bridge required a toll, but tolls were removed in 1945 after the state bought the bridge in 1940. Under the ownership of the American Toll Bridge company, in 1940, tolls were US$0.45 (equivalent to $8.21 in 2019) per car plus US$0.05 (equivalent to $0.91 in 2019) per passenger. After the state took ownership, tolls were immediately reduced to US$0.30 (equivalent to $5.47 in 2019) per car (up to four passengers). In 1942, tolls were further reduced to US$0.25 (equivalent to $3.91 in 2019). Tolls were reinstated in 1978 with the completion of the new span.
The basic toll (for automobiles) on the seven state-owned bridges, including the Antioch Bridge, was raised to $1 by Regional Measure 1, approved by Bay Area voters in 1988. A $1 seismic retrofit surcharge was added in 1998 by the state legislature, originally for eight years, but since then extended to December 2037 (AB1171, October 2001). On March 2, 2004, voters approved Regional Measure 2, raising the toll by another dollar to a total of $3. An additional dollar was added to the toll starting January 1, 2007, to cover cost overruns concerning the replacement of the eastern span.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional transportation agency, in its capacity as the Bay Area Toll Authority, administers RM1 and RM2 funds, a significant portion of which are allocated to public transit capital improvements and operating subsidies in the transportation corridors served by the bridges. Caltrans administers the "second dollar" seismic surcharge, and receives some of the MTC-administered funds to perform other maintenance work on the bridges. The Bay Area Toll Authority is made up of appointed officials put in place by various city and county governments, and is not subject to direct voter oversight.
Due to further funding shortages for seismic retrofit projects, the Bay Area Toll Authority again raised tolls on all seven of the state-owned bridges in July 2010. The toll rate for autos on the Antioch Bridge was thus increased to $5.
In June 2018, Bay Area voters approved Regional Measure 3 to further raise the tolls on all seven of the state-owned bridges to fund $4.5 billion worth of transportation improvements in the area. Under the passed measure, the toll rate for autos on the Antioch Bridge will be increased to $6 on January 1, 2019; to $7 on January 1, 2022; and then to $8 on January 1, 2025.
In September 2019, the MTC approved a $4 million plan to eliminate toll takers and convert all seven of the state-owned bridges to all-electronic tolling, citing that 80 percent of drivers are now using Fastrak and the change would improve traffic flow. On March 20, 2020, at midnight, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all-electronic tolling was temporarily placed in effect for all seven state-owned toll bridges.
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The Antioch Bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic for 12 months during the past three years. The 46-year-old structure is extremely vulnerable to damage from marine traffic and to closure as a result of flooding of the approach highway. As a result, highway traffic can be, and has been, disrupted for extended periods of time, with the result that the livelihood of many citizens and the economy of their areas has been seriously damaged.
- "Bridge dedication". Lodi News-Sentinel. (California). UPI photo. November 6, 1978. p. 19.
- California State Assembly. "An act to amend Sections 2533 and 2534 of the Streets and Highways Code, relating to roads, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately". 1977–1978 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 140 p. 363.
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- "About MTC". Metropolitan Transportation Commission. October 15, 2009. Archived from the original on November 3, 2010. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
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- Cabanatuan, Michael (June 6, 2018). "Regional Measure 3: Work on transportation improvements could start next year". SFGate.com.
- Kafton, Christien (November 28, 2018). "Bay Area bridge tolls to increase one dollar in January, except Golden Gate". KTVU.
- "Tolls on Seven Bay Area Bridges Set to Rise Next Month" (Press release). Metropolitan Transportation Commission. December 11, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
- Smith, Darrell (September 7, 2019). "Do you drive to the Bay Area? A big change is coming to toll booths at the bridges". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
- "Cash Toll Collection Suspended at Bay Area Bridges". Metropolitan Transportation Commission. March 20, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
- "Antioch Area Is Scene Of Lion Hunting". Lodi News-Sentinel. (California). UPI. 9 September 1965. p. 6. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
- "3 Jungle Cats Make Ill-Fated Freedom Bid". Spartanburg Herald. (South Carolina). Associated Press. 9 September 1965. p. 34. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
- "A second whale in bay; Humphrey still in Antioch". Lodi News-Sentinel. (California). UPI. 2 November 1985. p. 1. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
- "Second whale takes bay tour". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. November 2, 1985. p. 3A.
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