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Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Joint Replacement Project Is Completed

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) -- Evening commuters on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge have just gotten some good news. The joint replacement project has been completed, ending the nightly shutdown of all but one lane in each direction.

Caltrans was forced to replace the joints after a large concrete chunk hit a car on the bridge's lower deck the morning of Feb. 7 and more concrete fell in the afternoon. No one was injured, but the bridge was closed for much of the day.

Crews replaced the upper deck expansion joint responsible for the falling concrete, then started work on replacing the remaining joints on the upper deck.

"Safety is Caltrans' top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to replace the remaining sliding plate joints on the bridge, starting with those on the upper deck," said Caltrans District 4 Director Tony Tavares.

Each of the 31 joints that date back to the 1950s has been replaced by a new concrete joint with a rubberized seal designed to shrink and expand with changing temperatures.

The new joints should prevent cracking of the surrounding concrete road deck.

Next year, Caltrans will replace 30 joints on the lower deck of the bridge in conjunction with a bridge painting contract.

But evening commuters aren't completely out of the woods.

In the coming weeks, the agency will be straightening a portion of the bridge's steel truss, which was impacted by a large truck. Truss repair will require nightly lane closures in both directions, according to the agency.

The bridge has served Bay Area residents for the past 63 years.

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