Category Archives: I-80

Bay Lights – San Francisco Bay Bridge to have amazing LED display

After a trip to San Francisco several years ago, I noted that the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge would be considered the signature bridge in most cities, but it is second to the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. The Bay Bridge with its two back-to-back suspension bridges is majestic and beautiful in its own right. Now, an incredible LED display, called “Bay Lights” is going make the bridge even more spectacular. From the SF Chronicle (‘Bay Lights’ a shining moment for region):

“Bay Lights” incorporates 25,000 LED lights on the west span of the Bay Bridge, and the software-generated patterns of light will glow from dusk to 2 a.m. for a full two years.

It’s a coup for the Bay Area to get a public art piece of this size and importance. The scope of the project is breathtaking – an 1.8-mile span from Yerba Buena Island to San Francisco, a crew of eight electricians working at night to attach the lights to the suspender cables of the bridge, an $8 million cost (privately fundraised, thank you) – and making it all happen was an incredible feat.

The Times has video:

Artist Leo Villareal created custom software to interpret the traffic, water and other movements in the area and light up the suspension cables on the spans that connect San Francisco to Treasure/Yerba Buena Island which is just under two miles. The privately-funded $8 million public art is a commemoration of the Bay Bridge’s 75th anniversary and will shine from dusk to 2 a.m. for two years.

The Bay Bridge opened in 1936 and used to carry US 40 and US 50. Now, it carries Interstate 80.

On the Oakland side of the bridge, construction continues on a replacement for the old cantilever bridge (a portion that collapsed during the 1989 Battle of the Bay World Series earthquake) with a self-anchored, one-tower suspension span. That tower was incorporated into the Golden State Warriors logo, a clever homage to a previous suspension bridge logo.

Now I really want to visit San Francisco again. But then again, I always want to visit San Francisco.

Highway markers from Shields Up!

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Gov. Rendell still pushing for tolls on I-80 in Pennsylvania

Rendell: Congress should remove restrictions on tolling of interstatesPost-Gazette
There he goes again — Gov. Ed Rendell wants Congress to give Pennsylvania and other states the ability to establish tolls along highways. Interstate 80 which runs through the northern half of the state has heavy out-of-state traffic. This leads to people with no familiarity of highway funding to believe that out-of-state drivers do not contribute to the roads maintenance costs. This is fiction of course, since American motorists are responsible for 90% of interstate highway funding that is collected primarily through a national sales tax on gasoline. State gas taxes tend to fund the other 10%. in short, all American drivers pay for interstate roads. Politicians, like Rendell and a previous recent governor, Tom Ridge, apparently do not understand this either. Both called for tolls on I-80. I have even created a label called I-80 so you can follow along.

American motorists and taxpayers have paid for I-80 for over fifty years. If Pennsylvania wants to toll the road or any other previously “free” interstate highway, they should have to reimburse the highway trust fund for all costs associated up until this point. If that happens, I have no problem with them putting tolls up. I’d laugh and call Pennsylvania “the toll booth state” too. It is worth noting too that Pennsylvania got more funding from the Federal Highway Trust Fund throughout the 1990s than any other state. Of course, much of it was sent to the Altoona area by Bud Shuster, who ruled the powerful infrastructure committee that allocated highway funds. Congress shouldn’t give Pennsylvannia a free pass because they spent the money poorly. If Pennsylvania wants more highway funding, they ought to increase their statewide gas tax appropriately.

H/T Jeff Kitsko, on Facebook

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FTA says no to tolls on PA I-80

Tolls on I-80 deniedThe Collegian
U.S. rejects Pa.’s request for I-80 tollsThe Inky
U.S. says no to Interstate 80 tollsPost-Gazette
Lawmakers seek plan to fix roadsCDT
There will not be tolls along I-80 in Pennsylvania as proposed, the Federal Transportation Administrator blocked it.

I was all ready to call Pennsylvania the “tollbooth state” too.

Now, it seems likely that the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be privatized which still does not make much sense over the long term to me. Once again, as Jay Hancock suggested, this is a “pernicious national trend: transforming public utilities into private monopolies.”

Adding onto the gas tax probably makes the most sense to cover funding shortfalls, but I doubt enough people have the political courage to make that decision.

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I-80 terminus

I-80 weatern terminus
SAN FRANCISCO — I can now say that I have been at both ends of Interstate 80. We jumped on it from US 101 at its western terminus for our brief jaunt to Treasure Island. I have been to the eastern terminus at I-95 in New Jersey several times. By the way, I think the eastern terminus needs to be somewhere in New York City, so that it can cross the George Washington Bridge. It would be fitting to have to big bridges on opposite ends of the road.

I-80 is easily the longest interstate that I have seen from both ends. The next longest is probably I-78, though I may have been to both ends of I-87, I can’t say for sure. I’ve passed both ends of I-84, but I wasn’t on the eastern end, I was on I-90 (Mass Pike). I have been on all of I-66 and I-68 too.

I-80′s current terminus was once the end of US 40 and US 50 until 1964, when California wiped out most of its US routes to avoid duplication with interstate highways. I can understand getting rid of US 40 since there is an I-40 in Southern California, but would it have been so bad to keep US 50 as a sea-to-sea route? I have been to the eastern end in Ocean City, Md. Additionally, extending US 50 back to San Francisco would mean that US 50 was routed over a Bay Bridge twice since there is the William Preston Lane Jr. (Chesapeake Bay) Bridge in Maryland. One of the spans of that cross is even the same X truss style as San Francisco’s Bay Bridge.

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