Antioch, CA – A community celebration and ribbon cutting Wednesday morning marked the completion of the Highway 4 Widening Projects, a six-year-long collaborative endeavor by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the California Transportation Commission and the Federal Highway Administration.
Highway 4, an important artery spanning nearly all of Contra Costa County, was for years one of the worst commutes in the Bay Area. The Highway 4 Widening Projects include improvements that expand Highway 4 from four to eight lanes between Loveridge Road in Pittsburg to just west of State Route 160 in Antioch and from two to four lanes from Lone Tree Way to Balfour Road in Brentwood. The projects also added missing connector ramps at the State Route 160/Highway 4 interchange and will 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.
Download video clips of these projects – including a stunning time-lapse film – here.
CCTA funded more than a quarter of the project ($362 million) through Measure J, a half-cent sales tax reauthorized by Contra Costa voters in 2004, and through the previous Measure C.
“The Highway 4 widening and BART extension projects would not have been possible without the support of Contra Costa voters in 2004, or without the help of partner agencies. We look forward to continued public support for additional innovations and improvements on the Highway 4 corridor in the future,” said CCTA Chair Dave Hudson. “The Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s investment in improving Highway 4 will have a ripple effect across the county and provide tangible benefits not just for East County residents, but for all travelers who live, work or drive through this corridor.”
With the exception of just one structure, the entire highway facility between Pittsburg and Brentwood was reconstructed, including 21 bridges. These projects were built to last using the latest materials, including asphalt concrete (the total weight of asphalt placed is over 228,000 tons). In addition to bringing 12,775 high-paying construction jobs to the region, the projects have laid the infrastructure for potential permanent employment centers along East County’s northern waterfront.
“We are working with regional transportation planners to plan for California’s future, including this thriving community,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “We are committed to developing a transportation network that maximizes every dollar of investment.”
The Highway 4 Widening Projects include a median wide enough to accommodate a 10-mile BART extension from Pittsburg to Antioch. Now that all highway segments are complete, the BART line will be installed, and the BART station at Hillcrest is expected to open in the winter of 2017/2018.
“We are proud to be a partner on this important project to bring regional connectivity to East Contra Costa County,” said Joel Keller, BART District 2 Director. “The BART extension is being constructed with a new kind of train for the region, one that is 60% less costly to build than traditional BART trains.”
Members of East County’s rapidly-growing community enjoyed food and music as CCTA and its partners, joined by state, regional and local officials, cut a ceremonial ribbon on the newly-widened highway.
For additional information about the Highway 4 Corridor Projects, please visit www.4eastcounty.org.
Comments Made during Ceremony
Antioch Mayor Wade Harper stated that this coordinator was the 27th worst in the Nation and 2nd worst in the East Bay and now become a blessing.
“I am so grateful for this day for Antioch and the region and it’s a pleasure to be here. I am looking forward to what we can do next when we put our heads together,” said Harper.
Congressman Jerry McNerney stated today was a very happy occasion.
“I get to travel Highway 4 to get from one side of my district to another and every few weeks when I make the trip it always looks like there is stuff happening. More lanes are opening, more construction, jobs are created and now we have the final product,” said McNerney. “Folks of east county have paid their taxes, waited patiently, put up with a terrible commute and now they have a beautiful highway.”
Assemblyman Jim Frazier explained projects like Highway 4 can happen when people put themselves out there to create their own destiny.
“What we don’t realize is the appropriated money was a collaborative support from west county, central county also. They supported this project. They didn’t have to but they did because they acknowledged it was a priority project,” explained Frazier. “They have improved the transportation of goods and services, the time it takes people to get to and from work. I traveled it the other day and oh my gosh what a difference in what 33-years makes.”
State Senator Steve Glazer thanked everyone who worked on the project creating a huge impact to thousands of commuters.
“The word of the day is partnership. This doesn’t come together with folks partnering and coming together cooperating putting skin in the game,” said Glazer. “You can’t rely on someone else out there to magically come solve our problems these days. It requires us sometimes to dig into our own pockets to make this work.”
Senator Glazer also thanked everyone who worked on the project by putting on a vest calling it a hard job and a dangerous job with cars that drive fast. He gave thanks to the workers, building trades for making this happen in a safe and effective manner.
Supervisor Federal Glover stated that everyone involved in the project should be applauded.
“This is a milestone and an event worthy of a celebration due to reduced travel time, expanded transit options, improving safety and upgrading the overall travel experience of Highway 4 corridor for east county residents who have for the longest time had this as a top priority,” said Glover. “Getting to this day has not been easy, hasn’t been cheap and hasn’t been quick. There is still a lot of work to do with the completion of the BART extension through Pittsburg to Antioch but the completion of Highway 4 widening gives us an opportunity to really look at the importance of the chances within the region.”
Glover called it an amazing transition from one of the worst commutes in the United States to a ripple effect showcasing tangible benefits.
Supervisor Mary Piepho highlighted that vehicles can now drive by at full speed at 9:00 am and without the project it could not happen and would instead be a parking lot.
“This is another milestone within the transportation work within the county and the region,” said Piepho. “We can now create good movement, mobility and economic development in East Contra Costa County. We can get people to and from work to their family and maybe now get home on time to spend the evening on a ballfield with their families. My struggle now getting home from Martinez to Discovery Bay is now driving the speed limit. Sometimes the freeway is opened up so well that I am now getting passed at 75-mph. It’s an indication of fluidity on the roads and an indication that we still need to be alert and aware. This is also a safety improvement from my view.”
About the Highway 4 Corridor Projects
The Highway 4 Corridor 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 and from two to four lanes from Lone Tree Way to Balfour 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 the Highway 4 Corridor Projects/BART, please visit www.4eastcounty.org.
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is a public agency formed by Contra Costa voters in 1988 to manage the county’s transportation sales tax program and oversee countywide transportation planning efforts. CCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs that connect our communities, foster a strong economy, increase sustainability and safely and efficiently get people where they need to go. CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to keep traffic levels manageable. More information about CCTA can be found online at ccta.net.
eBART uses standard gauge, despite my vigorous protests. Converting it to BART gauge, allowing it later to be used by BART trains, will be costly, as will operating on and maintaining track with a different track gauge.
Hopefully BART will not repeat this choice in any future extension, like to Livermore.
If eBART systems are so great, why aren’t they being used for the expansion to Santa Clara County?
Contra Costa paid taxes for BART since BART’s beginning, while Santa Clara County opted out of the system. Yet Santa Clara (Milpitas, Berryessa) is scheduled to get BART service before eBART pushes through Pittsburg. If the eBART system is so economical and wonderful, why isn’t Santa Clara County getting eBART?
I can understand a different system being used to expand into Marin County given the challenges of crossing either the Golden Gate or San Rafael Bay. But why are we in East Contra Costa County given this different system when apparently it’s not worthy of deployment to Santa Clara County?
It’s a fairly short, straight and flat run from Bailey Road to Hillcrest, so what are the real savings? BART will need a separate system of processes, maintenance, procedures, parts, cars, etc. just to keep eBART running separate from BART. Where’s the ‘savings’ there?
If any given BART car, or section of track, or other system fails, there are plenty of spares (and knowledge) in the entire system that could be redeployed to address such a failure.
After the initial eBART hardware outlays go through several service cycles what’s the likelihood on the number of “bus bridges” that will be needed just on the “eBART line” because of a lack of redundancy?
eBART smells of a backhanded boondoggle. I hope I’m wrong.
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