SACRAMENTO — Concept renderings of the replacement for the 108-year-old I Street bridge in Sacramento have been released by the firm that won a design competition for the planned structure. The outdated bridge is dangerously narrow for modern vehicles and leaves little room for pedestrians and bicycles to pass each other on the narrow sidewalk.
While the replacement bridge, a few hundred yards upstream of the current bridge, will have 12-foot-wide sidewalks and 8-foot-wide bike lanes, a priority will also be the design which local officials want to be a signature bridge across the Sacramento River. It will also have space for a trolley car as well.
The concepts released by T.Y. Lin International include using an organic nest concept made popular by the arena built for the Beijing Olympics, a solar panel design which produces its own power to raise the roadway for river traffic, and a design that incorporates a garden down the length of the bridge.
Just as important as the replacement bridge are efforts to redesign the old bridge which will remain for train traffic across the river. Motor vehicles will no longer be allowed on it and the city of West Sacramento wants to use the upper deck for pedestrians and bicycles only. That means the maze of on and off ramps built for motor vehicles can be torn down opening up the riverfront on both sides. It also opens up the south end of Old Sacramento which is now locked in by traffic ramps.
Public input will play a big role in choosing a design. The $170 million needed for construction will still have to be acquired from federal and state sources with local government making a contribution. City officials feel there is a good chance that money will be available with the recent interest in providing money for infrastructure by federal and state lawmakers.