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Ramp revamp

Submitted by on 1, August 24, 2009 – 5:50 am3 Comments

construction-shotThe county’s congestion management folks and the City of Oakland plan to redo the 23rd Street and 29th Street on- and off-ramps for I-880.They’re holding a public study session at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall so they can lay out their plans.

Good news: You’ll be able to get onto Northbound 880 from 29th much more easily (and that famed U-turn when you get off at 23rd? Still there.) Bad news: They’ll consolidate the two Northbound on-ramps at 23rd into one, which could lead to hecka backup on Park Street during your morning commute.

City staff has said that while the project would have benefits including way better access to the freeway from 29th Avenue, they’re worried that losing an on-ramp at 23rd could create a line of traffic on Park Street that’s about 1,000 feet longer than it is now (and a jar of jelly beans to the first person who can tell me how many cars that is  – show your work).

Separately, the city’s transportation commission – which looked this thing over two years ago – said they were worried the improvements could draw more drivers from the Miller-Sweeney Bridge onto the Park Street Bridge.

The county agency is looking for ways to fix the problems, including line-jump lanes for buses and high-tech traffic fixes.

In addition to reconfiguring the ramps, the project would include removal and replacement of the low-hanging 23rd Street and 29th Street overcrossings (to reduce the incidence of oversize vehicles hitting them), re-striping the Park Street triangle, and new and better coordinated traffic signals.

The congestion management agency hopes to have the project, which is estimated to cost $95 million, start construction in 2012 and wrap up in 2015.

A recent Caltrans report identified the area as “a major bottleneck on I-880” due to the way the interchanges as spaced, the low clearance of the overcrossings and the way the ramps are configured. They’re hoping the fixes will speed up traffic there.

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