The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposes to retrofit or replace the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB) East Span, which has carried vehicles between Yerba Buena Island (YBI) and Oakland since 1936. The East Span is a double-deck structure 3,696 meters (12,127 feet) in length carrying five traffic lanes in east-and westbound directions.
This FEIS has been prepared by Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to analyze potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts of several possible replacement bridge alternatives, as well as a retrofit of the existing structure and no-build alternatives. The project is exempt by statute from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is a cooperating agency as a result of its legal jurisdiction to grant or deny a bridge permit. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) declined to be a cooperating agency. The U.S. Navy was not a cooperating agency, however it participated in key processes throughout the project.
S.1 PROJECT VICINITY AND PROJECT LIMITS
Alternatives analyzed in this FEIS would seismically retrofit or replace the East Span and involve construction activities and physical changes on both ends of the span at YBI and the Oakland Touchdown and within San Francisco Bay. The western project limit is the eastern portal of the YBI tunnel located within the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF); however, project related traffic controls may extend to the western portal of the YBI tunnel and signage may extend to the West Span approach in San Francisco. The eastern project limit is located approximately 400 meters (1,312 feet) west of the toll plaza on a spit of land referred to as the Oakland Touchdown area in the City of Oakland, Alameda County. Project-related traffic controls and signage could extend east to the toll plaza (See Figure 2-3 in Appendix A). The project study area includes San Francisco Bay waters adjacent to the bridge in which construction activities would occur and Bay waters on the north side of YBI to allow for delivery of bulk materials by barge or vessel to staging areas.
S.2 PURPOSE OF AND NEED FOR THE PROJECT
The SFOBB is an important transportation component of the Bay Area providing regional access between the San Francisco Peninsula and the East Bay. On average 272,000 vehicles currently use the bridge each day. As a component of Interstate 80 (I-80), it is also a critical link in the interstate highway network.
The existing East Span is not expected to withstand a maximum credible earthquake (MCE) on the San Andreas fault (an earthquake of magnitude 8 on the Richter scale) or Hayward fault (an earthquake of magnitude 7 º on the Richter scale); it does not meet lifeline criteria for providing emergency relief access following an MCE; and, it does not meet (all) current operations and safety design standards.
The project’s Purpose and Need Statement was drafted following FHWA Technical Advisory T 6640.8 "Guidance Material for the Preparation of Environmental Documents," and more fully developed with public input received at MTC Bay Bridge Design Task Force and Engineering Design Advisory Panel (EDAP) meetings. The Purpose and Need Statement was further refined through a collaborative process among federal agencies as outlined in the NEPA/404 Integration Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (see Section 1.1 - Project Purpose and Section 1.2 - Need for Project). Due to the scale of the project, some members of the regional community urged that congestion relief be included as part of the project purpose in addition to providing a vehicular lifeline connection. The scope of the project was not expanded to include congestion relief, however, because this would have resulted in lengthy public debate about how best to implement a congestion relief solution including a plan for implementation in the YBI Tunnel and on the West Span. This would have caused the seismic safety component of the project to be substantially delayed. Caltrans anticipates beginning construction of this project in fall 2001; however, this would not have been possible if the scope of the project had included congestion relief.
This project is one of several that Caltrans has completed or is currently undertaking to address the overall need for a bridge connection between the cities of San Francisco and Oakland that meets lifeline criteria. The other projects include replacing the west approach in San Francisco, retrofitting the West Span, West YBI Viaduct and YBI tunnel, and the interim retrofit on the East Span.
S.3 PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND ALTERNATIVES
Twelve alternatives, in addition to the No-Build Alternative, were considered during the scoping phase of this project. Five alternatives including the No-Build Alternative were carried forward for the detailed analysis in this EIS, as described below. The project alternatives are shown on Figure 2-3 in Appendix A.
S.3.1 No-Build Alternative
The No-Build Alternative, which would retain the existing SFOBB East Span, would not meet the project purpose and need criteria and was evaluated primarily as a basis for comparison with the build alternatives. The No-Build Alternative assumes the seismic improvements to the East Span that were completed under the Interim Retrofit Project, completed in the summer of 2000, which strengthened bents and columns on the viaduct section on YBI and strengthened piers, bents, and trusses at selected locations on the cantilever and skyway portions of the structure.
S.3.2 Replacement Alternative N-6 (Preferred)
Replacement Alternative N-6 would meet the project purpose and need criteria. This alternative involves constructing a new bridge (two side-by-side bridge decks, each deck consisting of five lanes) north of the existing alignment and dismantling the existing structure. This alignment has been designed to maximize views of the San Francisco skyline to the north of YBI for westbound motorists and views of the East Bay Hills for eastbound motorists, while minimizing construction in portions of the Bay where geologic conditions could increase the complexity and cost of constructing bridge piers. The overall length of Replacement Alternative N-6 is approximately 3,514 meters (11,525 feet). Approximately 600 meters (1,968 feet) east of the YBI Tunnel, the alignment would transition from a double-deck viaduct structure to two parallel structures and would conform to existing traffic lanes at the Oakland Touchdown area approximately 1,300 meters (4,264 feet) to the west of the SFOBB Toll Plaza. Replacement Alternative N-6 would include a bicycle/pedestrian path on the south side of the eastbound structure. The path would be 4.7-meter (15.5-foot) wide and 0.3 meter (1 foot) higher than adjacent eastbound traffic lanes.
S.3.3 Replacement Alternative N-2
Replacement Alternative N-2 would meet the project purpose and need criteria. This alternative is similar to Replacement Alternative N-6, but the proposed bridge would be aligned north of the existing structure, and south of Replacement Alternative N-6. The alternative has been designed to minimize the length of the new bridge by closely following the alignment of the existing East Span. Approximately 600 meters (1968 feet) east of the YBI Tunnel the alignment would transition from a double-deck viaduct structure to two parallel structures. The 3,479-meter (11,411-foot) long span would reach the Oakland shore along the northern edge of the existing Oakland Touchdown area and conform to the existing traffic lanes approximately 1,300 meters (4,264 feet) to the west of the SFOBB Toll Plaza. Replacement Alternative N-2 would include a bicycle/pedestrian path on the south side of the eastbound structure. The path would be 4.7-meter (15.5-foot) wide and 0.3 meter (1 foot) higher than adjacent eastbound traffic lanes.
S.3.4 Replacement Alternative S-4
Replacement Alternative S-4 would meet the project purpose and need criteria. This alternative involves constructing a new bridge (two side-by-side bridge decks, each deck consisting of five lanes) south of the existing alignment and dismantling the existing structure. Replacement Alternative S-4 has been developed to avoid conflicts with the in-Bay portion of the existing East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) sewer outfall, which parallels the existing East Span to the south (see Figure S-1). This alternative would exit the YBI Tunnel on a double-deck viaduct structure and transition to two parallel structures approximately 600 meters (1,968 feet) east of the YBI tunnel. The 3,550-meter (11,644-foot) long span would reach the Oakland shore south of the existing East Span and conform to the existing traffic lanes approximately 1,500 meters (4,920 feet) to the west of the SFOBB Toll Plaza. Replacement Alternative S-4 would include a bicycle/pedestrian path on the south side of the eastbound structure. The path would be 4.7-meter (15.5-foot) wide and 0.3 meter (1 foot) higher than adjacent eastbound traffic lanes.
S.3.5 Retrofit Existing Structure Alternative
The Retrofit Existing Structure Alternative would not fully meet purpose and need criteria. This alternative would seismically retrofit and rehabilitate the existing East Span to withstand an MCE without collapse, but the bridge would most likely experience substantial damage requiring extensive repair or reconstruction that would involve an extended period of closure. This alternative does not meet lifeline criteria because the closures would impede the bridge’s ability to provide emergency relief access. The alignment of the bridge would remain unchanged. Improvements would be made to the existing structure and the East YBI Viaduct that would strengthen the substructure and modify the superstructure to permit large displacements at specified joints. In addition, two new piers would be added to the cantilever main span to provide additional support. In addition, the Retrofit Existing Structure Alternative would not permit changes to the existing bridge (roadway design); therefore, current design standards could not be attained.
S.3.6 Preferred Alternative and Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative
In December 1998, after a thorough evaluation of project alternatives and consideration of comments from the public and agencies on the DEIS, Caltrans identified Replacement Alternative N-6, self-anchored suspension design variation including a bicycle/pedestrian path, as its Preferred Alternative. In October 2000, FHWA also identified Replacement Alternative N-6 as the Preferred Alternative. Replacement Alternative N-6 has been identified as the Preferred Alternative on the basis of greater ease of construction of the main tower based on geologic conditions, aesthetic benefits such as enhanced drivers’ views, and consistency with regionally preferred alignment and design features such as expressed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
On February 12, 2001, ACOE identified Replacement Alternative N-6 as the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA) and on March 13, 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also identified Replacement Alternative N-6 as the LEDPA. The basis for the decision was that Replacement Alternative N-6 avoids conflicts with the USCG’s YBI facility, does not take land on the Oakland Touchdown designated by the Oakland Base Reuse Authority (OBRA) for a proposed park, provides easier access to bedrock to construct the main span tower, and avoids conflicts with the EBMUD’s facilities and operations. (See Section 2.2.6 - Preferred Alternative and Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative for further detail). The LEDPA determination is required by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Letters of concurrence on the LEDPA from ACOE and the EPA can be found in Appendix F.
S.3.7 Design Variations
Design variations identified for the replacement alternatives are limited to the type of bridge to be constructed over the navigational channel. The span type variations include a cable-stayed design, a self-anchored suspension design and a skyway design. In June 1998, after considering seismic performance, aesthetics, costs, and ability to construct the bridge as soon as possible, and the possible location of a bicycle/pedestrian path, the EDAP recommended the self-anchored suspension design.
Construction costs (2002 dollars), associated with each alternative are shown in Table S-1. The cost for the replacement alternatives shown in the table assume the preferred design variation (self-anchored suspension).
In April 2001, Caltrans published updated cost information for the Preferred Alternative (Replacement Alternative N-6, suspension bridge design option). It reflects cost increases due to such factors as increasing construction costs in a robust and competitive local economy; significant increases in the costs of steel; schedule delays which magnified the inflationary effect; and additional design amenities such as the belvederes and a wider bike path than is standard. Caltrans estimates that the current cost of Replacement Alternative N-6, suspension bridge design option, would be $2.6 billion.
Caltrans did not prepare updated cost estimates for the other project alternatives in April 2001. However, the most significant factors contributing to increased costs would apply to all of the build alternatives.
The enabling legislation for the project, Senate Bill 60, signed by then-Governor Pete Wilson in 1997, anticipated the possible need for additional funding beyond original estimates and required Caltrans to return to the Legislature if necessary. In accordance with Senate Bill 60, Caltrans has submitted its cost estimates to the Legislature and anticipates that it will address the need for additional funding within the next few months.
Table S-1 Cost Estimate Summary for Build Alternatives
Cost to Construct
Replacement Alternative N-6
Replacement Alternative N-2
Replacement Alternative S-4
Retrofit Existing Structure
Source: Caltrans, May 1998
S.3.9 Accommodation of Multi-Modal Strategies
While none of the project alternatives presented above would include facilities for high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes or rail transit, a retrofitted East Span or a replacement span could accommodate an HOV lane or light rail transit (LRT) by converting one travel lane and one shoulder in each direction, reducing the capacity of the East Span to four travel lanes, and making some structural modifications. Since multi-modal strategies would reduce the number of mixed-flow travel lanes, the selected strategy would have to capture a ridership that matches the loss in mixed-flow vehicular capacity on the SFOBB and its approaches. Otherwise, vehicular operations on the SFOBB and approaches would be comparatively worse. The accommodation of rail and five lanes of traffic would require significant modifications.
As currently proposed, the retrofit or replacement East Span could accommodate the live loads associated with LRT type trains. "Heavier" vehicles, such as commuter or high-speed rail, could also be accommodated but would require that substantial modifications be made to the current designs.
An HOV lane or rail on the East Span would therefore be structurally and operationally feasible; however, it was determined that implementation of either multi-modal strategy would involve substantial institutional and funding challenges.
An HOV lane or rail on the SFOBB has not been identified as necessary in any regional planning process or document. Neither the HOV nor a rail system is currently identified as a regional transportation priority. Before either can be included in the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) as a priority, new institutional arrangements would be required, such as the identification of a governing body to operate the rail system. The body would not be created until there is a regional consensus on the strategy. This consensus does not currently exist.
The construction and operation of the facilities necessary to implement an HOV or rail system would require additional funding and sources of funding beyond those committed to the East Span Project. A rail system, in particular, would involve areas well beyond the SFOBB itself, because rail would be part of a much larger system extending throughout the region. No funding has been programmed or identified for either HOV lanes or rail on the bridge.
The implementation of any multi-modal strategy on the SFOBB would be subject to independent evaluation and funding as a separate project in the future. The East Span Project does not preclude the implementation of an HOV lane or a rail system on the East Span in the future.
S.3.10 Alternatives Considered but Withdrawn
In addition to the alternatives considered above, Caltrans considered other project alternatives that were ultimately withdrawn from further consideration. These alternatives included the following: four northern alignments and four southern alignments for a replacement bridge with two side-by-side decks and a double-deck structure for either a northern or a southern alignment (see Figure 2-19 in Appendix A for side-by-side replacement alternatives).
These alternatives were rejected for a variety of reasons, as described in Section 2.7-Alternatives Considered and Withdrawn. Important considerations that contributed to rejection or withdrawal of alternatives included adverse geologic conditions (deep young Bay Mud and distance to bedrock for founding the main tower), inability to meet American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) design standards, less than optimal roadway geometry, constructablilty issues for temporary detours, conflicts with the EBMUD sewer outfall, and limitations on panoramic views.
S.3.11 Design Variations Considered But Withdrawn
Replacement refinement studies evaluated variations for the bridge profile, which refers to the rise in roadway elevation from the Oakland Touchdown area to the YBI East Viaduct connection. Although the MTC Bay Bridge Design Task Force Engineering and Design Advisory Panel (EDAP) stated a general preference for the elevated grade profile variation, a constant grade profile has been used in this analysis. Substantial cost savings were identified when the profile at the main span tower was lowered to a position similar to the constant grade variation yet was still acceptable to the overall bridge architecture. Additionally, construction of the bicycle/pedestrian path at the same grade as the bridge rather than at an elevated grade would produce slightly slower downhill speeds for bicyclists and result in improved safety for path users.
Single and dual-tower options were considered for the main span towers for the cable-stayed and self-anchored suspension design variations. Following an evaluation of seismic safety, potential environmental impacts, construction requirements, and aesthetic considerations, the single-tower design option was recommended by the EDAP and a dual-tower option was withdrawn from further consideration.
Through several meetings, Caltrans considered the interests and opinions of the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). The committee considered design variations for a bicycle/pedestrian path on the replacement alternatives including a single path on one structure and dual paths, one on each structure. Caltrans also analyzed replacement alternatives without a path.
Based on recommendations of the committee and the approval by MTC to use toll revenues to fund a path, a single 4.7-meter (15.5-foot) wide path elevated 0.3 meter (1 foot) above the adjacent eastbound travel lanes has been added to the design of the eastbound structure for the replacement alternatives. BPAC’s initial recommendation of a dual path design was not selected for the following reasons:
S.4 ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIOECONOMIC IMPACTS AND PROPOSED MITIGATION MEASURES
The No-Build Alternative would not implement any improvements and would therefore have no socio-economic or environmental impacts. However, such impacts could occur in the event of an MCE because the existing bridge would continue to be vulnerable to damage or collapse.
The Retrofit Existing Structure Alternative and all of the replacement alternatives, including the Preferred Alternative, would have short-term construction related and long-term (permanent) impacts on the physical and socioeconomic environment of the project study area.
Summary of Impacts
Table S-3 at the end of this chapter provides a summary of the environmental impacts of the project alternatives and proposed mitigation measures.
S.5 CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION
FHWA and Caltrans served as the joint lead agencies in preparation of this Environmental Impact Statement (NEPA)/Statutory Exemption (CEQA). The U.S. Coast Guard is a cooperating agency.
This environmental document was prepared in consultation and coordination with various federal, state, and local agencies and organizations. Notable consultation and coordination activities are summarized below.
S.5.1 Project Organization and Committees
Several groups were organized to advise Caltrans and FHWA decision-makers for the East Span Project. Table S-2 lists the groups and their roles.
Table S-2 Project Advisory Groups
Project Development Team (PDT)
(Comprised of 31 Federal, State, and local agencies, elected officials, special service districts and professional organizations.)
Served as the technical advisory committee to Caltrans. Met periodically to address project issues requiring technical direction or resolution.
Metropolitan Transportation Commission Bay Bridge Design Task Force
(Comprised of seven Metropolitan Transportation Commission Commissioners.)
Coordinated local deliberations on the location, design and potential funding strategies for a replacement structure.
MTC Bay Bridge Design Task Force Engineering
and Design Advisory Panel (EDAP)
(Comprised of technical experts in structural and civil engineering, seismicity and geology, and (bridge) architecture.)
Provided technical expertise, analysis and recommendations to the Task Force.
Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC)
(Comprised of key members from ad-hoc bicycle, alternative transit, elderly/disabled community, and public access groups.)
Represented the interests of various groups advocating installation of a bicycle/pedestrian path and proposed design features of the path on replacement alternatives.
Oakland Gateway Planning Group
(Comprised of the East Bay Regional Park District, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, Port of Oakland, City of Oakland, Oakland Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board, Oakland Army Base Reuse Authority, National Park Service and the Association of Bay Area Governments/Bay Trail, and Caltrans.)
Coordinated efforts to begin planning a shoreline park in the Oakland Touchdown area.
S.5.2 Key Interagency Coordination
NEPA/404 Integration Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Process
Since September 1997, consultation has been ongoing with federal agencies under the western states Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for integrating the requirements of NEPA and Section 404 of the Federal Clean Water Act. Under the MOU process, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the ACOE, the EPA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) have been asked to concur on the project purpose and need statement, criteria for alternative selection, and range of alternatives to be considered. Several meetings have been conducted to date under the MOU process. At the meetings, participants from the agencies listed above considered the seismic safety-based project purpose and need statement and the range of alternatives proposed for evaluation. Following the meetings, written concurrence was received from each signatory agency (letters are presented in Appendix F).
Consistent with the NEPA/404 Integration MOU, Caltrans and FHWA have identified Replacement Alternative N-6 as the Preferred Alternative in December 1998 and October 2000, respectively. The ACOE and the EPA identified Replacement Alternative N-6 as the LEDPA in February and March 2001, respectively, pursuant to Section 404(b)(1) of the federal Clean Water Act. EPA, ACOE and USFWS have also provided their preliminary agreement on conceptual mitigation for impacts to special aquatic sites (see letters in Appendix F).
Other federal, state, and regional agencies with regulatory and permitting obligations for the East Span Project were invited to participate in the NEPA/404 MOU meetings. These included:
Coordination Regarding Historic Properties Pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act
Meetings regarding historic resources involving Caltrans, the FHWA, the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), the Navy, the USCG, the cities of Oakland and San Francisco, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) were held in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and its implementing regulations.
In April 1997, several organizations were invited to submit comments on the East Span Project with respect to historic properties. These organizations included:
In July 1997, Caltrans gave a brief presentation on the East Span Project to representatives of the Oakland Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board, Oakland Heritage Alliance, California Preservation Foundation, and San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board. The Oakland Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board (LPAB) responded by letter on January 14, 1998, advocating that consideration be given to a retrofit of the existing bridge rather than a replacement and suggesting several mitigation measures if a replacement alternative were selected (See Appendix G for a copy of the letter).
Since then, Caltrans and the Oakland Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board (LPAB) have continued to coordinate regarding potential mitigation measures and other historic preservation issues associated with the East Span Project.
On December 10, 1998, Caltrans held a meeting with representatives from the City of Oakland and its Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board, the Oakland Heritage Alliance, and the Port of Oakland to discuss possible measures to mitigate project effects on historic properties.
On February 1, 1999, representatives from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation ACHP, Caltrans, FHWA, the Navy, the CCSF, the USCG, and the SHPO toured the project area and the historic properties.
The following day, meetings were held to discuss project effects on historic properties and mitigation. Representatives from the CCSF, California Preservation Foundation, National Park Service (NPS), Navy, USCG, FHWA, SHPO, and ACHP attended the first meeting and discussed the differing effects of the replacement alternatives on the Navy’s historic properties on Yerba Buena Island and measures proposed to mitigate project effects on them. Representatives from the City of Oakland's Landmarks Board and Public Works Department, Port of Oakland, FHWA, SHPO, and ACHP attended the second meeting and discussed measures to mitigate for the loss of the East Span under the replacement alternatives.
An Addendum Finding of Adverse Effect Report and Consideration of Proposed Mitigation Measures were sent to the SHPO, ACHP, Navy, USCG, local governments, and other interested parties in October 1999. A draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), included in the Consideration of Proposed Mitigation Measures Report, was also distributed for review and comment. After consideration of comments, the MOA was finalized and executed in May 2000. On May 26, 2000, an alternative-neutral MOA was signed by all required parties: SHPO, ACHP, USCG, and FHWA. The Navy, local governments, and Native Americans were also invited to sign the MOA as concurring parties and the MOA was circulated to these concurring parties in June 2000. Three Native Americans signed the MOA as concurring parties. A copy of the MOA is included in Appendix O.
Coordination has taken place with Native Americans concerning archaeological site SFr04/H. In November 1997, Caltrans solicited comments from 14 Native Americans regarding the upcoming excavation. The names of the Native Americans were provided by the California Native American Heritage Commission. Two Native Americans responded. The Archaeological Survey Report for SFr04/H, based on the excavation was sent to the Native American Heritage Commission and the Native American monitor who was present during site excavations. Caltrans will provide the treatment plan currently being prepared for the site to all Native Americans on the NAHC list and all signatories to the MOA with the goal of soliciting early input on its development.
For additional information, please see Sections 3.10 and 4.10 - Historic and Cultural Resources, Appendix E - Consultation and Coordination for chronology of Section 106 consultation, and Appendix O - Memorandum of Agreement.
Coordination Pursuant to Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act
Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, codified in Federal law at 49 U.S.C § 303, declares that "[i]t is the policy of the United States Government that special effort be made to preserve the natural beauty of the countryside and public park and recreation lands, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and historic sites."
Coordination pursuant to 4(f) took place concerning historic resources and the Gateway Park as summarized below.
Pursuant to Section 4(f), coordination took place concerning historic resources such as the existing East Span and the historic structures on YBI. Details of this coordination can be found in the section above titled, Coordination Regarding Historic Properties Pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
The proposed Gateway Park is located at the Oakland Touchdown (see Figure 6-9 in Appendix A) on land that is part of the former Oakland Army Base (OARB). The OBRA’s Reuse Plan designates 5.9 hectares (14.7 acres) at the westernmost portion of the Army Base as the site of a proposed public access shoreline park.
Caltrans initiated coordination meetings with the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) and the Port of Oakland to discuss the East Span Project, land use issues, and Gateway Park development possibilities. The City of Oakland, the Army, the NPS, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) have also participated. Meetings to discuss the proposed park were held on October 7, 1997; November 18,1997; February 18, 1998; July 22, 1998; December 2, 1998; February 10, 1999 and August 11, 1999.
In response to the Department of the Interior's letter commenting on the DEIS, Caltrans and FHWA held a meeting with interested agencies on March 11, 1999 to discuss the status of the Gateway Park in relation to Section 4(f). In addition to Caltrans and FHWA, participants included staff from the City of Oakland, EBRPD, Port of Oakland and the National Park Service.
Participation by the National Park Service
The NPS participated in activities associated with the proposed Gateway Park in coordination with the East Span Project. The NPS attended meetings on October 7, 1997; November 4, 1997, February 18, 1997; May 20, 1997; June 2, 1998; July 22, 1998; and March 11, 1998. The NPS’s key concern was the impact that Replacement Alternative S-4 could have on the Gateway Park.
City of Oakland
Numerous meetings were held with the Mayor’s Office and staff from Planning, Economic Development, Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board, and Public Works divisions. City representatives have made presentations and comments at other public meetings, such as the MTC Bay Bridge Design Task Force and EDAP. The City’s key concerns are the aesthetic design of the East Span and the Oakland Touchdown area, mitigation for impacts to the historic qualities of the existing East Span and the potential for community involvement and employment during the construction phase.
City and County of San Francisco
Numerous meetings were held with the Mayor’s Office (Treasure Island Project) and staff from the Planning, Traffic and Parking, and Public Works departments. The key concerns of the CCSF are construction period impacts on Yerba Buena Island, land use conflicts that include potential loss of revenue, access impacts at Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island, and detours and ramps on Yerba Buena Island.
United States Navy
Meetings were held with locally assigned Navy personnel from San Bruno and San Diego and personnel in Washington, D.C. to address the agency’s key concerns including impacts to historic resources on YBI, impacts on the Navy's process to dispose of its property on YBI, and construction-period impacts.
United States Coast Guard
Meetings were held with the USCG regarding potential project impacts on its facility on Yerba Buena Island. The Coast Guard’s key concerns are 24-hour, 7 days a week access to its facility during and after construction, slope stability, land use conflicts ( including the replacement of four USCG buildings), and impacts to crew quality of life from construction-period activities such as noise, dust, debris, and safety.
S.5.3 Community Involvement
In addition to the scoping process, public open houses, and public hearings, a variety of public participation activities have been conducted over the course of the engineering and environmental studies. These public involvement activities are listed below followed by a brief description (please see Appendix E for additional information).
MTC Bay Bridge Design Task Force scoping meetings gave agencies and the general public the opportunity to provide input on alternatives and issues to be evaluated in the EIS. Meetings were held in Contra Costa, Alameda, Solano, and San Francisco counties on April 16th, 22nd, 23rd, and May 8th, 1997, respectively.
Four additional public information open houses were provided to enable interested Bay Area residents to view the preliminary design concepts and obtain more information about the project. The open houses were held in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Solano counties on December 8th, 9th, and 11th, 1997 and March 25, 1998, respectively. Approximately 300 people attended.
Environmental Organizations Meeting
On October 3rd, 1997, Caltrans held a meeting with environmental interest groups in collaboration with BCDC and MTC. The goal of the meeting was to solicit the environmental concerns of these groups and provide them with information on the project purpose and need, alternatives, the environmental process, and construction schedules. In addition, information was mailed out to several of the groups that did not attend.
Public Hearings and Response to Comments on the DEIS
Following distribution of the DEIS, Caltrans and FHWA held four public hearings to give the public an opportunity to learn more about the project and to discuss the project with Caltrans staff. A copy of the DEIS was available for viewing at each meeting and also available on the Caltrans website. These hearings were held in Alameda, San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Solano counties on October 14, 15, 20 and 22, 1998, respectively. Approximately 174 people signed in as attending the hearings. Many other people who dropped in to view the exhibits or talk with staff did not sign the attendance sheets. Public and agency comments on the DEIS were accepted orally and in writing at the above-mentioned public hearings and accepted from other people by mail, facsimile, and e-mail. Approximately 700 individual comments on the DEIS were received, and responses are included in Volume 2 of the FEIS.
Other Public Outreach
Additional public involvement has included a total of 65 presentations given to various public groups, agencies, and professional associations over the course of the project. Four issues of a project newsletter were also distributed to over 3,500 interested parties including federal, state, and local agencies; elected and appointed officials; city and county staff; special interest groups; and the general public. The newsletters described the study alternatives, process and schedule, announced the community workshop series, and provided information about study progress and activities. Newsletters will continue to be produced and distributed periodically.
S.6 APPROVALS REQUIRED
The project requires the following approvals from federal, state, and regional agencies (see Appendix E for additional information):
S.7 CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
Issues of controversy associated with the East Span Project include:
While these issues are not fully resolved, none of them would prevent the project from being implemented as the issues move toward resolution. The following is a summary of each issue and how they either have been or will be resolved.
The provision of rail service on the replacement alternatives is an issue raised by some East Bay communities and the City and County of San Francisco. Section 2.5 Accommodation of Multi-Modal Strategies, identifies the fundamental obstacles to implementing rail service on the SFOBB as part of this project. However, it is likely that additional public discussion of rail service on the SFOBB and in the larger Transbay Corridor will continue since Phase 1 of the MTC Bay Bridge Rail Alternatives Study, completed in June 2000, concluded that replacement alternatives could accommodate light rail in the future.
Dredged Materials Disposal
Disposal of dredged material in the San Francisco Bay is a highly regulated activity. Many reviewers of the DEIS commented that it did not adequately address plans for disposal, quality of dredged material and how the project complied with the disposal regulation process.
Since publication of the DEIS, a Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) was prepared for the project and is included as Appendix M. The DMMP was developed in accordance with the Long Term Management Strategy (LTMS) that provides a policy framework and strategies for the placement of dredged material in the Bay region. The DMMP assesses impacts from dredging and disposal activities associated with construction and evaluates a range of reuse/disposal options for the dredged material. Some disposal options considered in the DMMP are not currently available, but may become available during project construction. Sediment sampling and analysis have also been completed to determine how much dredged material is suitable for unconfined aquatic disposal; a letter from the Dredged Material Management Office on October 31, 2000 outlines its conclusions regarding suitability (see Appendix G -Agency Consultation Letters). Final disposal options will be determined based on permitting processes, site availability and cost-effectiveness.
Several agencies are concerned about the adequacy of Caltrans’ efforts to reduce and/or mitigate construction period impacts.
Construction-period impacts are identified in Section 4.14 - Temporary Impacts During Construction Activities. Caltrans is coordinating with USCG, the CCSF, EBMUD and other agencies about their specific construction-period concerns, some of which are discussed in Section S.5.2 - Key Interagency Coordination. Caltrans will continue coordination with these agencies during project construction to reduce construction-period impacts to their facilities and operations.
YBI Land Use
The Naval Station Treasure Island is closed and the Navy is in the process of transferring its property to the CCSF. The Navy and the CCSF are concerned about how the replacement alternatives will impact the land transfer and reuse plans outlined in the 1996 Draft Treasure Island Reuse Plan.
Based on preliminary information included in the CCSF’s Draft Treasure Island Re-use Plan, potential land use impacts on YBI resulting from replacement alternatives are identified in Section 4.1.6 - Development Trends. The redevelopment concepts described in the 1996 Draft Reuse Plan can be generally accommodated with any of the East Span Project alternatives. The general reuse of Quarters 1 through 7, redevelopment of Building 262, development of a conference center, live/work units and artisan cottages can co-exist with Replacement Alternatives N-6, N-2, and S-4 or the Retrofit Existing Structure Alternative. Caltrans will coordinate with the CCSF to develop compensatory measures for documented losses in rental income from Quarters 1-7 incurred during the construction period and to establish protective measures to prevent construction-period damage to Quarters 1-7 and Building 262.
YBI Access Ramps
The CCSF requested that Caltrans provide new access ramps to YBI.
As part of the East Span Project, the eastbound on-ramp on the east side of the YBI tunnel would be rebuilt to current standards; Caltrans developed preliminary configurations for the other ramps for the CCSF to consider; however, the reconstruction and funding for other new ramps on YBI, which are owned by the Navy, are not part of the East Span Project. Future improvements to the other ramps are possible under a separate project because MTC has made them eligible for future funding in the Regional Transportation Plan.
Gateway to the City of Oakland
The City of Oakland’s key concerns are the contribution of the aesthetic design of the East Span and the Oakland Touchdown area to a gateway entrance to the City and mitigation for impacts to the historic qualities of the existing East Span.
Caltrans has met with the City to discuss its concerns about the development of a gateway entrance at the Oakland Touchdown. A gateway entrance to the Oakland Touchdown area is beyond the scope of the East Span Project. Caltrans will cooperate with the East Bay Regional Park District in its planning program for the Gateway Park. It is assumed that EBRPD will include the City of Oakland as part of the park planning process. Please see Memorandum of Agreement discussion below for mitigation measures for impacts to the historic qualities of the existing bridge.
Design of Bicycle/Pedestrian path (replacement alternatives)
The replacement alternatives include the single bicycle/pedestrian path recommendation made by the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) to the MTC Task Force, though the dual path was BPAC’s first choice. BPAC’s initial recommendation was a path on each structure at about the level of the roadway. This was not selected by MTC for reasons discussed in Section S.3.10 - Design Variations Considered But Withdrawn. Some members of the bicycling community expressed strong support for other path locations such as below-deck designs. Although complete consensus may not have been reached within the bicycling community, BPAC's recommendations have not changed and for purposes of identifying the preferred alternative, the adoption of one of BPAC’s recommendations has resolved the issue.
Bridge Alignment (build alternatives)
Public agencies have expressed their opinions and preferences for certain build alternatives based on their views of potential impacts of construction period activities and/or the permanent structure. Agencies that have expressed a preference for a particular alignment include but are not limited to the CCSF, USCG, Navy, the City of Oakland, the Port of Oakland, BCDC, EBRPD, and EBMUD.
Caltrans has held several meetings with these agencies to date to discuss their preferences for a particular bridge alignment and what the impacts and mitigation would be under the Preferred Alternative.
Memorandum of Agreement
The Navy, the CCSF and the City of Oakland raised concerns about the contents of the MOA, which is intended to mitigate project-related impacts on historic structures. The Navy declined to sign, citing its opposition to northern replacement alternatives and disagreement with the determination of impacts on historic properties; it also requested that the CCSF be included as a concurring party. The CCSF declined to participate in the MOA process because it wanted further consideration of its proposed southern replacement alternative. The City of Oakland declined to sign, raising concerns that the mitigation established for the loss of the historic bridge was not adequate, and that Caltrans and FHWA should consider a variety of other kinds of mitigation suggested by the City.
FHWA and Caltrans considered the concerns raised by the Navy, the CCSF, the City of Oakland, and others regarding the MOA. In an effort to address these concerns, FHWA and Caltrans revised the MOA several times in consultation with the SHPO and ACHP. The SHPO and ACHP's signatures executing the MOA (see Appendix O of this FEIS) indicate agreement with the mitigation measures and the project's compliance with the provisions of Section 106.
Safety of Bridge Design (replacement alternatives)
The CCSF has raised concerns about the safety of the replacement bridge design. A study conducted by the ACOE determined that "the Caltrans design team is highly qualified, using state-of-the-art design methods and is moving along a path to design a bridge that meets the seismic performance criteria." (Final Report, Evaluation & Assessment of Proposed Alternatives to Retrofit/Replace the East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, October 27, 2000.)
Bridge Design Parameters
For the East Span Project, Caltrans estimated the greatest rock motions from the Safety Evaluation Event (SEE). This is defined as an earthquake that generates the largest motions expected to occur at the bridge site once every 1,500 years (a 1,500 year return period or a 10 percent probability of occurring during the structure's 150 year expected life). The Seismic Safety Peer Review Panel and the EDAP both accepted and agreed that the bridge should be designed for these SEE ground motions.
A report prepared by the ACOE later concluded that in using these standards, the performance of the bridge could not be predicted in the event of a Maximum Credible Earthquake (MCE), which it defined as the largest earthquake reasonably capable of occurring based on current geological knowledge. The ACOE report erroneously stated that an MCE would be a greater seismic event than a SEE.
During a meeting held on December 7th, 2000 to discuss seismic safety evaluations for the East Span, the Ad Hoc Committee on Ground Motions made a presentation to EDAP about the difference between MCE and SEE. The Ad Hoc Committee determined that ACOE's conclusion regarding SEE and MCE was based on an error in one of the ACOE’s tables and that MCE motions fall well below the SEE motions in all relevant data ranges, particularly during the initial shaking. As a result, the Ad Hoc Committee determined that Caltrans is designing a replacement bridge to the higher SEE standard.
S.8 MAJOR UNRESOLVED ISSUES WITH OTHER AGENCIES
Partial Restoration of Barge Access Channel (northern alternatives)
As part of its eelgrass mitigation, Caltrans proposes to fill in a portion of the barge access channel following all construction activities. Raising the level of the Bay bottom to pre-construction elevations would allow for on-site restoration of impacted eelgrass and increase the likelihood of successful eelgrass recolonization. The ACOE and the Regional Water Quality Control Board could permit this mitigation measure. Under its current policies, BCDC would not. However, BCDC is in the process of re-evaluating and revising its marshes and mudflats policies and the revised policies may allow the use of dredge material for restoration/creation of eelgrass beds within its jurisdiction. If the Commission does not change its policies prior to permitting the Bay Bridge, Caltrans would revise its mitigation proposal to eliminate the use of dredged material and allow the channel to fill in naturally.
Bicycle Access to YBI from Path (replacement alternatives)
The CCSF has expressed concerns about bicycle and pedestrian access onto Yerba Buena Island from the western terminus of the bicycle/pedestrian path on the East Span. While the CCSF's Draft Reuse Plan for YBI proposes bicycle and pedestrian modes as the primary modes of transportation on YBI and Treasure Island, bicycle and pedestrian facilities on YBI are currently very limited. Caltrans would consult with the Navy and/or other property owners on YBI about their interest in having directional signage installed for path users on the bridge. If consultation results in agreement on the nature and placement of the signs, Caltrans would install the signage within its right-of way.
Public Access at the Mitigation Site for Special Aquatic Sites
In consultation with the resource agencies, Caltrans proposes to provide on and off-site mitigation for impacts to special aquatic sites. For the off-site mitigation, BCDC staff has requested that Caltrans provide public access by completing a portion of the Bay Trail. BCDC's policies require that a project provide the maximum feasible public access to the Bay consistent with the project. For any of the replacement alternatives, for which the off-site mitigation is a component, Caltrans would provide a bicycle and pedestrian path with belvederes from the Oakland Touchdown to Yerba Buena Island, and a public access staging area with parking at the Oakland Touchdown. These public access facilities are a significant investment and are unprecedented in the Bay Area in terms of cost. Caltrans does not propose any public access at, through or around its mitigation area; Caltrans has concluded that public access at the mitigation site is inconsistent with providing high quality habitat for resident and migratory wildlife. Providing public access at the mitigation area, as requested by BCDC staff, may also require the placement of fill in jurisdictional wetlands. Caltrans will continue to work with BCDC through the permitting process to address this public access issue.
S.9 FINAL STEPS