Broadway Bridge on the horizon but where will it land in West Sac?

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By Monica Stark

Back in May, a big piece of local news was that Shell Oil Products was selling its West Sacramento refinery to the Port of West Sacramento. At a Broadway Bridge open house at Arthur Benjamin Health Professions High School on Thursday, July 27, city officials revealed that area is currently being thought of as a preferred crossing of the Broadway Bridge, connecting South River Road and 15th Street to the Broadway corridor.

For about the next two years, the cities of West Sacramento and Sacramento are studying the environmental impacts of that location, as well as three other possible drop-offs (or alignments) into West Sacramento from Broadway. (See sidebar for more information.) In short, the alignments consider 15th Street in two spots and South River Road in three spots.

Hailing the Shell deal, City of Sacramento supervising engineer for the department of public works, Jesse Gothan stated: “To (West Sacramento’s) credit, they have that deal with Shell. That’s impressive to get that.”

The Shell refinery, according to press materials last spring, is a “strategic parcel which is located at the crux of future traffic and bike/pedestrian infrastructure including: Broadway Bridge, River Walk trail extension, Modifications to 15th Street between Jefferson Boulevard and South River Road, including relocation of the railroad tracks leading to the Port of West Sacramento.”

The demolition and clean-up of the six-acre Shell facility, which has been in operation since the 1940s, according to city of West Sacramento official press releases, sends “another strong signal to the real estate development community that the transition of the Pioneer Bluff district from legacy industrial operations to future riverfront mixed-use development continues to move forward.” The agreement provides a framework for Shell to phase out operations and to clean up all contamination on the property under the supervision of the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The Shell refinery aside, what about the others? Would those refineries be able to relocate? Those kinds of questions are currently being considered when weighing the options.

Engineers and scientists would do right by following science, not public opinion or politics, says Gothan.

Some of the feasibility issues other than the real estate of the refineries, surround habitat, whether there are tree impacts, impacts on the river way that are unique to one but not the other, if it’s in a flood zone, if there’s ground water contamination, impacts to mariners from the U.S. Coast Guard, where there are different utility lines that cross the river at one location versus another, and how West Sacramento can work around those existing utilities. The list goes on, and while the multiple sites are being considered for West Sacramento, Broadway is the only location on the Sacramento side. Long ago, Land Park residents as well as CalTrans vehemently opposed a crossing at Sutterville Road. Currently, the Land Park Community Association supports the Broadway Bridge and improvements on the street near Tower Theatre.

With the worst-case scenario of 2036 being the estimated time frame for the Broadway Bridge completion, if funding was at the fingertips of our local governmental agencies, the cities could get that $180 million bridge done between eight to 11 years.

Answering the questions — What are the potential cost increases for each of them? What are the schedule impacts for each of them? What are the environmental constraints impacts? — the two cities are embarking on a cost-benefit analysis of the alignments, explained Gothan.

“We’re going to carry forward a few of the alignments to the full environmental analysis and that will probably take about 18 months to complete. So, upon getting the environmental approvals, then the team will be looking at securing future design funds.”

Cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento have been planning a water front for quite a while. In 2003 a riverfront master plan was adopted for improvements on both waterfronts. In 2011, the cities adopted the Sacramento River Crossings study which looked at crossings at seven different locations. In 2014, the cities launched the I Street Bridge replacement project, which is the new bridge which connects Railyard Boulevard to C Street, and takes all the auto traffic off of I Street and puts it on this new bridge. Also that year, West Sacramento got funds to do a feasibility study for Broadway Bridge. It looked at several different alignments and some of the pros and cons. In 2015, West Sacramento got a $1.5 million Teichert grant to do the environmental reviews. The grant has a 50 percent match, so each city is contributing $750,000, of local transportation dollars to the overall budget of this phase.

The Broadway Bridge will be movable to allow boat passage and will carry cars, bikes, pedestrian traffic and accommodate future transit options, including a future streetcar alignment within the bridge itself. The project also includes installation of a bridge interconnect fiber optic line to allow the new bridge, and I Street and Tower Bridges to be operated by one system.

There have been some concerns for neighbors in Land Park regarding traffic impacting streets south of Broadway. Likened to the Freeport Boulevard Road Diet, which was officially completed last November, Gothan said Broadway improvements will make the area more bike and pedestrian friendly and that the city will be launching that project in September. “In the feasibility study, traffic doesn’t really cut through Land Park. It’s really the destinations of the central business district,” he said.

The new bridge will be defined as “neighborhood friendly” per the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.


Broadway Bridge alignments

The following options are being considered as drop-offs into West Sacramento from the Broadway Bridge. The cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento are in environmental review for each of these options.

Alignment A
On the West side of the river, Alignment A connects directly to Jefferson Boulevard via 15th Street. The primary constraints, or factors, for this alignment are to avoid the Shell tank farm and to maintain the existing 15th Street alignment at the 5th Street intersection. To accomplish this, on the east side alignment A must start angling away from Broadway several hundred feet east of the railroad tracks. This serves to maintain adequate skew across the river. However, by doing so, it creates a significant skew at the railroad tracks and impacts the existing Chevron facilities on both sides of the tracks.

Alignment B
This alignment also connects directly to Jefferson Boulevard via 15th Street, but the 5th/15th Street intersection is reconfigured, which is consistent with the City of West Sacramento’s circulation plans for Pioneer Bluff. Alignment B also avoids direct impacts to the Shell tank farm. By realigning 15th Street, the alignment is able to avoid impacting the Chevron facilities on the east side of the river. The skew across the railroad tracks is similar to that of Alignment A.

Alignment C1/C2
Alignment C connects directly to 5th Street several hundred feet south of the 15th Street intersection. At approximately 2,000 feet long, this alignment is the shortest and most direct. The specific connection point at 5th Street will be required to meet the City of West Sacramento’s intersection spacing standards. By doing so, alignment C impacts the Shell tank farm. The alignment has two variations (C1 and C2). C2 aimed to optimize the bridge skew across the river and to minimize impacts to Phillips 66 facilities. An active Kinder Morgan petroleum line runs in the vicinity of Broadway and under the Sacramento River, which conflicts with alignment C2. Alignment C1 avoids the Kinder Morgan line, but also impacts Phillips 66 and creates a greater skew across both the river and railroad tracks.

Alignment D
Based on preliminary input and analysis, alignment D aims to balance the transportation benefits and impacts resulting from a new cross-river connection with the right of way constraints, and the real estate potential, for Pioneer Bluff, Stone Lock, and Southport. At the time of writing this technical memorandum, only informal coordination has been initiated with the USCG regarding alignment D. Based on the USCG preliminary feedback, the movable navigation span for alignment D would need to be wider than the 170 feet proposed for alignments A, B, and C to enable tug and barge traffic to negotiate the river bend immediately downstream. To confirm the navigation channel required, the cities will need to submit a formal request to the USCG. This request will also subsequently be submitted to the waterway users for a 30-day comment and response period. The project team has prepared preliminary cost estimates for alignment D to inform stakeholders and
decision-makers of the potential cost implications of the longer overall alignment and wider movable
span. A cost comparison table is included in the executive summary, and detailed assumptions are
included in the Cost Estimate Technical Memorandum. Alignment D impacts property owned by Ramos and Buckeye Terminals on the west side. On the east side, the alignment directly impacts Phillips 66 tanks south of Broadway and encroaches into Miller Park, requiring a significant configuration of the existing access to both the park and marina.

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