Most visitors to the area look at the Dumbarton Bridge and see nothing more than what it is; a bridge. However, locals will tell you that there are quite a few interesting facts about the bridge that may just provide you with a deeper appreciation for the area. Plus with the new project, the bridge is being made safer while also taking into the delicate surrounding environment into consideration.
- The bridge was never officially named. It is called the Dumbarton Bridge because of Dumbarton Point, which was named after Dumbarton, Scotland in 1876.
- The bridge sees an average of 81,000 vehicles per day.
- The Dumbarton Bridge travels through a portion of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Natural Wildlife Refuge. This is a delicate ecosystem with a salt marsh, mud flats and a migratory bird flyway. This is the very unique ecosystem that had to be thoughtfully considered in the design of the new project.
- The California clapper rail, which is an endangered species is present at the western bridge terminus area.
- When the bridge initially opened, the toll to cross was only 40₵ each way.
- In 1951, the state purchased the bridge for $2.26 million.
- Caltrans rebuilt the bridge in 1982 because of concerns about safety and issues concerning traffic congestion. The project cost $70 million, and raised the toll to 75₵ to help offset these expenses.
- The San Francisco Bay Natural Wildlife Refuge is accessible where the Ravenswood trail runs just north of the western bridge terminus.
- The bridge includes not only a two-way bicycle path, but also a pedestrian path on one path. This allows residents on either side to have the option of biking or walking to work with no restrictions, if they work on the opposite side of where they live.
- The toll plaza is in Harold and Maude, a 1970 movie.
- In September 1984, a controlled explosion demolished the original bridge’s center span.
- Dumbarton Express provides bus service across the bridge, which connects to BART. Transbay buses are also run by AC Transit.
- The Dumbarton Rail Bridge just south of the main one has not been used since 1982. A western portion collapsed due to a fire in 1998. There is talk of this abandoned bridge being used for future services.
- During the current safety project, a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan had to be carefully created to ensure the surrounding environment would not be adversely affected. This includes a sheet pile wall, pumping plant and drainage pipe to protect the marshlands.
- This was the first bridge to handle vehicular traffic crossing the bay.
- The fishing piers you see on either side of the bay were the ends of the original bridge. Ravenswood Pier, which is at the western side has been closed at least 20 years and will be removed as part of the seismic retrofit project. The eastern pier will remain open.
- Nearly 100 bearings have been added to the bridge to permit shifting should a seismic event occur.
- The Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct crosses between the current Dumbarton Bridge and the old Dumbarton Rail Bridge.
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