SAN LEANDRO -- Caltrans crews will begin widening a three-mile stretch of Interstate 880 in San Leandro later this month to add a southbound carpool lane and replace two overpasses. As a result, drivers will soon see nightly ramp and lane closures between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Completion of the first segment, which spans from Hegenberger Road to just north of Davis Street, is scheduled for the fall of 2014. The second segment, from Davis Street to just south of Marina Boulevard, is slated to be done by spring 2016 and includes new overpasses at Davis Street and Marina Boulevard to "improve vertical clearance on Interstate 880 and reduce the frequency of big rigs with high loads hitting the bridges," according to the Caltrans website.
Plans also include replacing 3,000 feet of soundwall, widening the San Leandro Creek Bridge, improving pedestrian access and bike lanes on the Davis Street overpass and reconstructing on- and offramps at 98th Avenue and Hegenberger Road.
Caltrans staff said the project -- estimated to cost $83.4 million -- aims to ease congestion on I-880, which is expected to see a 30 percent increase in traffic volume by 2035. A new left turn on westbound Marina Boulevard to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center development is also being considered.
Caltrans' tentative plans were met with concern by several City Council members when presented to the City Council Monday night, particularly plans to do pile driving for the first half of the new Davis Street overpass between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on four nights in May. The second half will be done next May. Pile driving for the first half of the Marina Boulevard overpass is scheduled during daytime hours in April, and the second half will be done next April and May.
Councilman Jim Prola, whose district includes the Davis Street overpass, suggested the pile driving take place at alternate times on the weekends or during lower traffic times midweek during the day rather than through the night.
"Pile driving is literally something that will drive people crazy. It's just constant, a constant bang," Prola said. "Somebody who lives in that Davis West neighborhood, it's going to be unbearable, especially if you do it from 10 to 5. I mean, it's just unrealistic to think that you can do that for that long, period, and not disrupt somebody's sleep."
An option mentioned by city staff to offer hotel vouchers to residents unable to sleep was well received by multiple council members and Wafaa Aborashed, president of Davis West Neighborhood Group.
"If these people are going to be impacted for those days, count on it that you take people out of their homes and take care of them," said Aborashed, a 22-year resident. "No kid is going to sleep that night. No worker is going to sleep that night. We are all going to be impacted. ... I am really concerned about the quality of life for my community, 410 houses that are going to be impacted by this."
Mayor Stephen Cassidy said community outreach on the project needs to be ramped up and suggested additional public meetings once the pile driving begins.
Caltrans is hosting two open-house meetings Jan. 16 to share information about the project. More information can be found at www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/880sbhovlane.
Ashly McGlone covers San Leandro, San Lorenzo and the Washington Township Health Care District. Contact her at 510-293-2463. Follow her at Twitter.com/AshlyReports.