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City officials and boosters are celebrating after a long-awaited pedestrian-bicycle bridge was hoisted by crane and installed late Saturday night and early Sunday morning over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Emeryville.

The arched South Bayfront Bridge was hoisted by crane and set into place by Richmond-based contractor Ghilotti Bros. during a four-hour overnight window allotted by the railroad, which could have assessed a financial penalty if the project took too long.

When it opens next year, possibly by summer 2021, the bridge will provide a long-sought connection safely over the eight railroad tracks below between Ohlone Way and the Bay Street area with Horton Street.

City Councilman John Bauters, a self-described “transportation nerd,” was among those who watched the overnight installation.

Bauters said:

“The City of Emeryville achieved a significant milestone in the early hours of Sunday morning. Long bisected by both the Union Pacific Railroad and the I-80/580 Freeway, east to west connectivity and access between residential neighborhoods, local shops, and the Bay Trail for bicycles and pedestrians has been limited to a couple routes dominated by cars.”

Councilmember John J. Bauters A pedestrian-bicycle bridge is hoisted by crane over railroad tracks in Emeryville, Calif. on Saturday, December 20, 2020.

He said the cost of the bridge project is about $22 million, with additional costs still to come for connecting paths and the creation of Horton Landing Park on the east side of the train tracks.

The city says on the project website:

“Pathways in the park will connect the bridge to adjacent streets at Horton Street just south of 53rd Street and near Stanford Avenue. The greenway within Horton Landing Park will connect to a future greenway segment that extends southward to Sherwin near Halleck Street.”

Bauters said:

“The South Bayfront Bridge is representative of Emeryville’s reprioritization of active transportation in building a livable city and our commitment to safe streets, as well as a major step forward in our efforts to build a network of safe routes for all transportation modalities.”

Bauters added:

“I am excited to have witnessed the ‘Great Hoist’ and know we are just getting started.”

Bauters, vice chairman of the Alameda County Transportation Commission, noted numerous projects coming online in Emeryville, saying:

“The completion of the new Doyle Street separated greenway segment next week, the parking protected bike lane on 59th, expansion of protected bike lanes onto north Horton and now the bridge has really made this week amazing.”

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