The Final Environmental Impact Statement/Statutory Exemption/Final Section 4(f) Statement (FEIS) for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB) East Span Seismic Safety Project (East Span Project) summarizes the impacts of alternatives to retrofit or replace the existing East Span. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) does not typically include a preface in environmental documents prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A preface is provided in this FEIS to summarize events that affected the contents of the FEIS; it also lists the technical studies prepared in conjunction with the FEIS. This preface:
Project Development Activities Regarding Bridge Design
The MTC has played a major role in developing the East Span Project. MTC is a regional governmental agency that provides regional transportation planning and coordination of transportation activities for the nine-county Bay Area. MTC functions as both the regional transportation planning agency (RTPA), a state designation, and for federal purposes under 23 USC 134, as the region’s metropolitan planning organization (MPO). As such, MTC is responsible for implementing the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), which is a comprehensive blueprint for the development of mass transit, highway, airport, seaport, railroad, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Requests from local agencies for state and federal grants for transportation projects are screened by the MTC to determine their compatibility with the RTP. MTC is also the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), under Section 30950 of the California Streets and Highways Code.
MTC organized the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Design Task Force (Task Force) to consider replacement bridge alternatives following Governor Pete Wilson’s February 1997 decision that replacement alternatives should be considered. All the members of the Task Force are MTC Commissioners. The Task Force mandate was to develop a consensus recommendation on a design option for a new eastern span of the SFOBB and recommend any additional features that might be included in the design of the bridge that would not be borne by funding allocated from the State of California. Bay Area bridge users, through a toll surcharge at the state-owned toll bridges, will pay for the additional features, such as a bicycle/pedestrian path.
The MTC Task Force formed an Engineering and Design Advisory Panel (EDAP) to advise the Task Force on issues of cost, engineering feasibility, design factors, and seismic safety. The EDAP is comprised of technical experts in structural and civil engineering and architecture. EDAP deliberations included meetings and workshops open to the public for presentation of design concepts from interested parties. Beginning with the first of four formal public hearings on March 27, 1997, the Task Force considered replacement bridge options (e.g., different types of replacement bridge structures) and the cost and feasibility of including amenities such as a tower for the main span and a bicycle/pedestrian path.
The Task Force made its summary recommendations to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) on July 30, 1997, concerning replacement bridge types, alignment, and a request for additional analysis needed to determine cost and feasibility of design components and features. Recommendations of the Task Force were transmitted to Caltrans and the State Legislature to assist in the determination of potential funding needs for the project.
In response to Task Force recommendations, Caltrans initiated the requested preliminary design studies. The 30-percent design studies were used to determine the seismic performance, cost, and aesthetics of the bridge types recommended for further study by the Task Force. The EDAP reviewed results of design studies in a series of public meetings and made specific recommendations to the Task Force (see Appendix E: Consultation and Coordination). On June 24, 1998, following extensive public comment, the Task Force forwarded an advisory recommendation to MTC that the replacement bridge be a concrete skyway structure with an asymmetrical self-anchored suspension main span supported by a single steel tower. A 4.7-meter (15.5-foot) wide bicycle/pedestrian path 0.3 meter (1 foot) higher than the traffic lanes located on the south side of the eastbound structure was also recommended and accepted by MTC.
Replacement Alternative N-6, self-anchored suspension design variation with a bicycle/pedestrian path, analyzed in this FEIS, is consistent with the bridge type recommendation defined through the Task Force proceedings and is designated as the Preferred Alternative in this FEIS. Caltrans and the FHWA have considered and performed preliminary engineering on a range of possible project alternatives in accordance with NEPA requirements and in consultation with permitting and regulatory agencies. Five alternatives (No-Build, Retrofit Existing Structure, two replacement bridges north of the existing bridge, and one replacement bridge south of the existing bridge) were considered in the Draft EIS for the East Span Project. Caltrans and the FHWA identified Replacement Alternative N-6 as the Preferred Alternative following circulation of the Draft EIS and consideration of public and agency comments on the document. Copies of the comments are contained in Volume II: Section 1 — DEIS Comments and Responses.
Project Activities Since Release of the DEIS
This FEIS has been prepared pursuant to the requirements of NEPA by FHWA and Caltrans, acting as joint lead agencies. The U.S. Coast Guard is a cooperating agency. The FEIS evaluates potential impacts of the Preferred Alternative (Replacement Alternative N-6, self-anchored suspension design variation with a bicycle/pedestrian path) as well as four other alternatives that were evaluated in the Draft EIS. The alternatives have been assessed for their ability to provide a seismically upgraded bridge over a portion of San Francisco Bay between Yerba Buena Island (YBI) in San Francisco and Oakland. This project is exempt by statute from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) under California Streets and Highways Code (CSHC) Section 180.2 and CEQA Section 21080.
On September 24, 1998, the DEIS was circulated for a 60-day public review period, during which public hearings were held on the project. The hearings were held in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Solano counties in October 1998. Public and agency comments were accepted orally and in writing at public hearings and accepted directly from commenters by mail, facsimile, and e-mail. The public review period closed on November 23, 1998. Some comments, along with new issues raised since the DEIS, led to substantial activity to reexamine several aspects of the project.
The City and County of San Francisco and the Navy expressed strong opposition to any replacement alternative placed north of the existing bridge. The CCSF was concerned with the impacts of a northern alternative on future development of land on YBI that is expected to be transferred from the Navy to CCSF under the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act. The Navy’s opposition to a northern alternative was based on its view that there would be adverse impacts to historic resources and the CCSF’s concerns about economic impacts on the future redevelopment potential of properties as envisioned in the Draft Naval Station Treasure Island Reuse Plan (1996 Draft Reuse Plan).
In late 1998 and early 1999, efforts were made to resolve the concerns of the CCSF and the Navy, including meetings and negotiations led by the National Economic Council, an office within the Executive Branch of the federal government. In response to these efforts, Caltrans prepared several additional studies. One study (Land Use Associated with the SFOBB East Span Seismic Safety Project and the Naval Station Treasure Island Draft Reuse Plan, dated January 2000) evaluated the potential impacts of the East Span Project on the CCSF’s proposed development on the eastern side of YBI. The conclusion of the study was that CCSF would retain redevelopment potential on the eastern end of YBI with construction of any of the East Span build alternatives, although some adjustments would be required with the northern replacement alternatives. To date, the only public document addressing CCSF's proposals for base reuse is the 1996 Draft Reuse Plan, which was approved by the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors in 1996. As part of its baseline assumptions, the CCSF's Draft Reuse Plan assumed that the existing SFOBB will remain in place, since the plan was prepared before replacement alternatives for the SFOBB had been developed. The Draft Environmental Impact Report (required by the California Environmental Quality Act) and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (required by the National Environmental Policy Act) for base reuse have not yet been published by the CCSF and the Navy; these pending documents will provide more up-to-date information about the alternatives being considered for base reuse.
Another Caltrans study (CCSF S-1 Modified Alignment and the Impacts to the EMBUD Sewer Outfall, dated November 1999) examined the potential impacts of a southern alternative that the CCSF was proposing in place of the alternatives discussed in the East Span DEIS. Caltrans concluded that the CCSF Modified S-1 Alternative would result in cost increases in the millions of dollars, increased risk of environmental damage resulting from possible effluent release from the outfall, and complexity of long-term maintenance. Because of the disagreement between the CCSF and Caltrans, the National Economic Council asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to complete an independent review of reports, data, and analyses conducted by both Caltrans and CCSF in regard to impacts to the outfall. On January 7, 2000, the ACOE concluded that constructing the CCSF Modified S-1 Alternative over the EBMUD outfall would delay the project schedule by a minimum of 8 to 15 months, increase construction risks, and increase project costs by tens of millions of dollars.
In February 2000, the CCSF raised two new issues, suggesting that the existing span could be retrofitted to meet lifeline standards and that the design for Replacement Alternative N-6 was unsound. In April 2000, Caltrans completed a report (Replacement vs. Retrofit) to summarize information on these two issues. At the request of the National Economic Council, the ACOE conducted an independent review of the information culminating in conclusions in September and October 2000. The ACOE concluded that replacing the existing bridge would be better than retrofitting it and that the replacement structure type was appropriate. ACOE also stated in its final report that "Based on safety considerations, it is the Corps team's opinion that, at this point in time, a replacement alternative is preferable to a retrofit alternative. A replacement alternative is the path that most quickly resolves the exposure of the public to the seismic vulnerabilities of the existing structure."
Naval Station Treasure Island is currently undergoing base closure and the Navy is working closely with CCSF, the Local Reuse Authority following base closure policies. At the same time the base closure procedure was progressing, Caltrans' project to seismically upgrade the East Span following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was progressing. In order to provide adequate land for the East Span Project, on October 26, 2000, FHWA used its authority under 23 USC 107 (d) to transfer to Caltrans the Navy land on YBI needed for the East Span Project. This action allowed Caltrans to file a deed for the land on October 25, 2000, providing Caltrans with adequate rights-of-way and control of access for construction of any alternative under consideration.
Concerns regarding impacts to historic properties were raised by several parties, including the Oakland Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board and the Navy. Meetings were held in December 1998 and February 1999 to discuss the impacts and possible measures to mitigate project effects on historic properties. The MOA was revised based on consideration of comments received. In late May 2000, an alternative-neutral MOA was executed by all required parties: SHPO, ACHP, USCG, and FHWA (see Appendix O for a copy of the executed MOA). The Navy, local governments, and Native Americans were also invited to sign the MOA as concurring parties. Three Native Americans signed the MOA as concurring parties.
In December 1998, following receipt and consideration of all public and agency comments on the DEIS, Caltrans identified a Preferred Alternative (Replacement Alternative N-6). FHWA identified Replacement N-6 as its Preferred Alternative in October 2000, after receiving the results of ACOE's review of retrofit versus replacement. A meeting was held on October 10, 2000 in which FHWA and Caltrans made a presentation to ACOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicating that Replacement Alternative N-6 was also the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA). The USCG also attended the October 10, 2000 meeting. ACOE and EPA asked at the meeting that Caltrans respond to several technical questions regarding environmental impacts and project design. Caltrans subsequently provided the agencies with responses to the questions that had been raised. On February 12, 2001, ACOE concurred with the identification of Replacement Alternative N-6 as LEDPA. EPA concurred on March 15, 2001.
The impacts information presented herein is based upon the following technical studies and analyses that have been prepared for the project.
Addendum Archaeological Survey
Report Maritime Archaeology
Addendum Finding of Adverse Effect
Air Quality Study Memorandum
Bicycle and Pedestrian Study
Biological Assessment (Retrofit Existing Bridge Alternative)
CCSF S-1 Modified Alignment and the Impacts to the EBMUD Sewer Outfall
Community Impact Assessment
Conceptual Mitigation Plan for Special
Aquatic Sites (presented in Appendix N)
Consideration of Proposed Mitigation
Measures for Project Effects on
Historic Buildings and Structures
Dredged Material Management Plan (presented in Appendix M)
Finding of Adverse Effect: Buildings and Structures
Finding of Effect for Archaeological Resources
Hazardous Wastes Assessment
Historic Architecture Survey Report Historic Property Survey Report
Land Use Issues Associated with the
SFOBB East Span Seismic Safety
Project and the Naval Station
Treasure Island Draft Reuse Plan
Location Hydraulic Study
Natural Environment Study
Noise and Vibration Study
Phase I Archaeological Survey Report — Maritime Archaeology
Positive Archaeological Survey Report
Relocation Impact Report
Retrofit vs. Replacement
Sediment Sampling and Analysis Report
Supplemental Draft Section 4(f)
EvaluationTraffic Circulation, Access, and Parking Assessment
Treatment BMP Feasibility Study
Visual Impact Assessment
Copies of this FEIS and the technical studies that support this FEIS are available at the following locations:
Caltrans Public Information Office
111 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612-3006
Contra Costa County Library
1750 Oakpark Boulevard
Pleasant Hill, CA 94526
Metropolitan Transportation Commission/Association
of Bay Area Governments Library
101 Eighth Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Oakland Main Library
125 14th Street
Oakland, CA 94612
San Francisco Main Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
John F. Kennedy Library
505 Santa Clara Street
Vallejo, CA 94590
The FEIS can also be found on the internet here. Caltrans can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This FEIS is being distributed to all persons, organizations, and agencies noted on the distribution list or that have requested a copy. The FEIS will also be made available to interested persons and groups. No action can be taken on the project until a Record of Decision is issued, a minimum of 30 days following the notice of the FEIS availability in the Federal Register.