Antioch/Oakley, CA—The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)/Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), joined by state, regional, and local officials, marked the completion of work on the much-needed $50 million connection between State Route 160, the Senator John A. Nejedly Bridge (Antioch Bridge), and Highway 4 with a brief ribbon cutting ceremony this morning.
The new ramps—one connecting westbound Highway 4 to northbound State Route 160, and one connecting southbound State Route 160 to eastbound Highway 4—eliminate the U-turn that was previously required at Hillcrest Avenue, reduce through traffic and congestion on Oakley’s city streets, and improve access for Eastern Contra Costa County.
The completed State Route 160/Highway 4 Direct Connector Ramps add an additional 12-foot auxiliary lane to State Route 160 in both directions between the State Route 160/Highway 4 Interchange and the East 18th/Main Street Interchange. The new structure crosses the median of Highway 4 at a height that can accommodate a future BART extension.
The project features sound wall extensions and new retaining walls in addition to the 2.62 new lane miles under construction, and was funded entirely by $50 million in Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) Bridge Toll Funds.
“MTC/BATA is proud to support these important improvements, which enhance safety and mobility for the residents and motorists of Eastern Contra Costa County,” said Federal Glover, MTC/BATA Commissioner and Contra Costa County Supervisor.
The addition of the interchange connectors is part of a massive $1.3 billion undertaking by CCTA and project partners to widen the Highway 4 corridor between Pittsburg and Antioch in eastern Contra Costa County and extend BART to Antioch.
“This latest segment of the Highway 4 improvement projects is furthering our efforts to improve regional mobility, revitalize the local economy, and improve the quality of life for 250,000 residents in East County,” said CCTA Executive Director Randell Iwasaki. “These projects are possible in large part due to the passage of a local half-cent sales tax by Contra Costa voters in 2004.”
Recap of the Ceremony:
Iwasaki explained that when he first came to Contra Costa, he had to meet Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor and ended up having to do a U-turn at Hillcrest to get to Brentwood while coming over the Antioch Bridge from Sacramento. He thought that was not the best way to move people in East County so this project to him solves that problem by having to drive through Oakley or go through Antioch.
“This will cure greenhouse gas; reduce congestion in Oakley and on the roadways. Today we are here to celebrate that,” said Iwasaki.
“I want to thank everybody who made this happen. I am excited about the things we can do when we all work together for a common goal,” said Harper. “This connector will make transportation much safer and faster coming from work, home, or school.”
Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick remembered the days past where commuters would have to come off Highway 4 and into Oakley to continue their travel highlighting this $50 million project was supposed to start many years into the future.
“We can now say stay the course, the two new connector ramps will end the wonder for many and for the rest of us provide structure to our somewhat chaotic commute,” said Romick. “This ribbon cutting and improvements over the next few months will provide relief to the long suffering commuters of East Contra Costa.”
Assemblyman Jim Frazier stated this project was “my baby” and when he was on local committees, he saw a savings from the Antioch Bridge and those funds should be used on this project.
“This is just a testament to where the locals do it better,” says Frazier. “The CCTA in partnership with the MTC is making this happen. It would never happen if you had to depend on the State of California.”
In living in the City of Oakley, Frazier says that this connector has many benefits not just in traffic, but economic development such as making the northern waterfront much more viable for economic growth.
“This is a dream come true and if I die, I want this thing named after me,” said Frazier
Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho was pleased with the new connector ramp to the Senator John Nejedly Bridge, also known as the Antioch Bridge. Piepho called this a job well done and thanked everyone who worked on this connector and made it happen.
“This is another project by the CCTA that is on time and my personal favorite, under budget,” said Peipho. “We can now drive north from far East County without having to circumnavigate the cities of Antioch and Oakley. “The culmination of all these Highway 4 projects that are coming together in this corridor is over a billion dollars.”
Piepho highlighted that Randy Iwasaki and his team at CCTA made a significant effort to start using recycled water for dust suppression during construction to protect water supply for urban uses.
“We should require recycled water as practice on all ongoing projects locally and statewide,” said Piepho. “I know that was not an easy task to get accomplished, it was not easy for Randy Iwasaki to get authority to use recycled water on the project but his persistence and the help of his team it paid off. I learned from the Ironhouse Sanitary District that nearly 6-million gallons of recycled water has been used on this Highway. That means 6-million gallons of precious water has been preserved for people.”
“I am a little bit speechless today because this project has been near and dear to me. I am truly honored to be here today after serving on CCTA for nearly 21 years,” said Glover. “It was a long time before we were able to look at things that were important here before we could make them happen because East County was really not looked at much. With this corridor here, it starts to tie together, regions. That is huge. It’s not just East County that gets this benefit, it’s the whole region.”
Glover highlighted the team not being CCTA or MTC, but folks from CALTRANS in moving items forward.
“As I look at this opening today, I look back to all of the things we tried to accomplish. When I look at the list and we knocked things off, this was a huge piece,” said Glover. “Things came together… in 2014 we had the first pile of dirt we shoveled, it’s really good to be here today to be able to cut the ribbon and open up the road that will make such a difference in so many people’s lives.”
CCTA Board Chair and San Ramon City Councilman David Hudson highlighted how he never could make a meeting on time even after leaving earlier each day and still never made a meeting on time due to Highway 4.
“Today we are conscious partners to the communities along Highway 4 and are very grateful to our partners like MTC and especially grateful to the 130,000 vehicles who make this trip through the corridor each day while we complete construction. That is a very big deal,” said Hudson. “The CCTA is proud to deliver on our commitment to the voters on projects like this one on time, under budget, and significantly reduce traffic congestion and the time spent in an automobile.”
Hudson says today we will celebrate this connector, but they are not finished yet until they get BART up and running.
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel and we want out of this tunnel,” said Hudson.
“We are pleased that the communities of Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood and all the residents of eastern Contra Costa will benefit from the connectors by creating greater accessibility,” said Sartipi. “The mobility and connectivity is great not just for those living in the communities, but for those who want to enjoy the recreational treasures of this region.”
Saritpi highlighted this connector now eliminates U-turns people have to make coming off the Antioch Bridge who want to head to Brentwood, while reducing traffic on local roads.
The Highway 4 projects include improvements that will help modernize eastern Contra Costa County. The projects expand Highway 4 from four to eight lanes between Loveridge Road in Pittsburg to just west of State Route 160 in Antioch, from two to four lanes from Lone Tree Way to Sand Creek Road in Brentwood, add missing connector ramps at the State Route 160/Highway 4 interchange, and add a BART extension from Pittsburg to Antioch. This will greatly improve transit accessibility for the region, help reduce traffic congestion, and enhance the quality of life for the more than 250,000 residents of eastern Contra Costa County. The projects have been carefully staged to keep 130,000 vehicles per day moving as major construction and demolition work continue. These projects, plus previously constructed projects in the region, bring the total investment in East County to $1.3 billion, including State, Federal, Contra Costa Transportation Authority Measures C and J, regional bridge tolls, and other funds.
For additional information about Highway 4 Corridor Improvements/BART, please visit www.4eastcounty.org