Construction meant to improve safety and ease traffic congestion at the Interstate 80/Gilman Street interchange in Northwest Berkeley is slated to begin by the end of the year, according to a fact sheet recently released by the Alameda County Transportation Commission.
The project design includes adding two roundabouts at the Gilman Street intersections on either side of I-80, a traffic signal and facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians, according to the fact sheet. Planning and construction costs are currently estimated at around $63 million, with funding provided by state, regional and local sources.
The project is meant to remedy a lack of safe pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, long left turn queues and “higher than average” rates of injury collisions, among other issues, the fact sheet states.
A 2017 report showed that, between 2011 and 2013, “33 accidents were recorded on the I-80/Gilman Street interchange on- and off-ramps, which is a 27 percent increase over the previous 3-year period,” according to the environmental assessment for the project.
In the area of the interchange, breaks in defined bicycle lanes and a gap in the San Francisco Bay Trail create a lack of clearly defined bicycle and pedestrian routes to recreational amenities west of I-80, including the Tom Bates Regional Sports Complex, the assessment states. This results in “potential conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians.”
Construction for phase one of the project involves building a pedestrian and bicyclist overcrossing across I-80 and is set to begin by the end of 2020 and conclude in 2023, according to the fact sheet.
Phase two construction, which includes improvements to the interchange and local streets, as well as further pedestrian and bicycle improvements, is set to begin in summer 2021.
According to the fact sheet, the features will create safer access for pedestrians and cyclists, reduce congestion, shorten queues and simplify traffic operations at the interchange.