The Benicia – Martinez Bridge refers to three parallel bridges that cross the Carquinez Strait just west of Suisun Bay; the spans connect Benicia, California on the north side with Martinez, California on the south side.
The original 1.2-mile (1.9 km) deck truss bridge was completed in 1962 to replace the last car ferry service in the San Francisco Bay Area. The bridge of 1962 has seven lengths of 528 feet (161 m) and a vertical clearance of 138 feet (42 m), now carrying four lanes of southbound traffic, as well as a route for pedestrians and bikers. It was named George Miller Jr., Memorial Bridge in 1975, after the California state legislature George Miller Jr. A 1,7-mile (2,7 km) bridge was constructed next to it and opened on 25 August 2007 with five lanes of northbound traffic. In 2007, Congressman George Miller Benicia – Martinez Bridge was named after the U.S. Congressman George Miller, son of Miller Jr. The expense of the 1962 era was US$ 25 million and US$ 1.3 billion for the 2007 era. (Adjusted for inflation, equal to $211 million and $1.6 billion , respectively) The bridge is part of Interstate 680, a major transport link linking other heavily traveled motorways.
The Union Pacific Railroad Bridge, the first bridge at this site, was constructed between April 1929 and October 1930 by the Southern Pacific. Union Pacific and BNSF (tracking rights) use freight trains and 36 scheduled Amtrak passenger trains per weekday. Passenger trains include California Zephyr and Coast Starlight long-distance trains and Capitol Corridor bus services.
Construction started at the end of 2001 on a newer bridge east of and parallel to the railway bridge. It is approximately 1.7 miles (2.7 km) long. The new bridge has five lanes of northbound traffic. The older bridge underwent seismic retrofits and was converted from three lanes in each direction to four lanes of southbound traffic and a bicycle / pedestrian lane, part of the San Francisco Bay Trail. Construction of the bridge included a new toll plaza with nine toll booths, two open road tolling lanes and a carpool lane at the south end of the bridge, although tolls continue to be paid only for northbound traffic. The old toll plaza at the north end of the bridge had been demolished.
The new toll plaza was retrofitted for open road tolling to promote the use of FasTrak. This involved the removal of 8 toll booths. The bridge is the largest segmental concrete bridge in California. The projected cost was $1.05 billion, and the actual cost was $1.3 billion. The initial estimated cost was about $300 million, notable for its large construction delay and large over-cost (over $1 billion). The cost of the project overshadowed the demolition of the Cypress Highway section of Interstate 880. The new bridge opened at 10:30 p.m. on 25 August 2007.
The tolls are received only from the northbound traffic at the toll plaza on the south side of the bridge. The toll rate for passenger cars is $6 as of January 1 , 2019. Carpool vehicles carrying three or more persons or motorcycles pay a reduced toll of $3.00 during peak traffic hours. For vehicles with more than two axles, the toll rate is $6 per axle.Drivers can either pay by cash or use the FasTrak electronic toll collection system. Credit cards are not approved for payment purposes.
The toll plaza has nine lanes with toll booths and nine other lanes with open road tolls (ORT) in two areas. There are two travel lanes and four shoulder lanes in one ORT zone. The other ORT zone has a carpool drive lane and two shoulder lanes. This bridge is the first open road tolling facility in Northern California and the first open road tolling bridge in California.
This amazing landmark is just one of the many must-see sights you don’t want to miss in Martinez, California:
John Muir National Historic Site
Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline Park
Briones Regional Park
Hidden Lakes Park
All of these wonderful attractions are located just a short distance from our location located at 111 Arthur Road in the Vine Hill neighborhood of Martinez! Stop by for a visit anytime!