New Bay Bridge toll plaza in works 

Motorists traveling on the Bay Bridge already familiar with construction sites will have one more project to keep an eye on this month, when work begins on a new $13.7 million toll plaza.

The existing toll building was built in 1936 and is a seismic safety risk because of its outdated design and perilous site above unstable seabed, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the public agency that oversees operations on the region’s seven state-owned spans.

The new structure, to be located in the parking lot directly east of the current toll plaza, is being built under strict seismic and environmentally sound guidelines. It will house all the bridge’s toll operations, although it will be about 12,000 feet smaller —
22,600 feet in total — than the existing structure because of a greater reliance on electronic ­tolling.

The $13.7 million project will be built by Swinerton Builders of San Francisco and is completely funded through toll revenue. Construction will begin later this month, and the project is expected to be completed by late 2012. The plaza will stand alongside a new tow-truck facility, with work also scheduled to begin on that project this month.

The new east span of the bridge, which is currently in the midst of construction, is slated to be finished in 2014.

Construction on the new plaza isn’t the only tolling-related news motorists should pay attention to this summer. On July 1, a series of toll increases will take effect, including an increase from $4 to $6 for motorists crossing the Bay Bridge during peak weekday travel times. Car-poolers, who previously crossed the span for free, will pay $2.50.

Roughly 280,000 motorists cross the Bay Bridge each day.

Bridge toll numbers

$13.7 million: Cost of new toll plaza
12,000: Feet smaller than current toll plaza
$6: Toll for weekday drivers during peak periods as of July 1

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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