Antioch Bridge

Last updated
Antioch Bridge
Antioch Bridge (14688694116).jpg
View from southwest in 2014
Coordinates 38°01′28″N121°45′02″W / 38.0244°N 121.7506°W / 38.0244; -121.7506 Coordinates: 38°01′28″N121°45′02″W / 38.0244°N 121.7506°W / 38.0244; -121.7506
Carries2 lanes of California 160.svg SR 160,
bicycles and pedestrians
Crosses San Joaquin River
Locale Antioch, California,
and Sacramento County,
California, U.S.
Official nameSenator John A. Nejedly Bridge [1]
OwnerState of California
Maintained by California Department of Transportation and the
Bay Area Toll Authority
ID number NBI 28 0009
Design steel plate girder
Total length9,504 feet (1.800 mi; 2.897 km)
Width38.1 feet (11.6 m)
Longest span460 feet (140 m)
Clearance below 135 feet (41 m)
OpenedDecember 1978;42 years ago (1978-12)
Replaces1926 lift bridge
Daily traffic 13,600 (2009)
TollCars (northbound only)
January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2021 (2019-01-01 2021-12-31):
$6.00, $3.00 (carpool rush hours)
Antioch Bridge

The Antioch Bridge (officially the Senator John A. Nejedly Bridge) is an automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian [2] bridge in the western United States. Located in northern California, it crosses the San Joaquin River-Stockton Deepwater Shipping Channel, linking Antioch in Contra Costa County with Sherman Island in southern Sacramento County, nearRio Vista.


Named after state senator John Nejedly, the bridge is signed as part of State Route 160. Unlike other toll bridges in California, it has only a single lane of traffic for each direction. [3] It is one of several bridges in the Bay area that are traversable by pedestrians and bicyclists in addition to automobiles. [2] The current bridge was completed 43 years ago in 1978, is 1.8 miles (2.9 km) in length, and opened to traffic that December. [4]


1926 toll bridge

The original structure was completed in 1926 by the American Toll Bridge Company (Aven Hanford and Oscar Klatt), who went on to build the original span of the Carquinez Bridge. The bridge was opened on 1 January 1926 as a connecting link on the coast-to-coast Victory Highway. Hanford and Klatt, officials with the Rodeo-Vallejo Ferry Company, had organized the American Toll Bridge Company in 1923, which built the bridge at a cost of greater than US$2,000,000(equivalent to $30,380,000 in 2020). [5]

The Delta Bridge corporation had formed in December 1922, [6] but did not complete a bridge at Antioch. Delta Bridge had received a franchise to build in June 1923. [7]

The 1926 bridge featured two spans each 270 feet (82 m) long which provided a clearance of 70 feet (21 m) below when opened. [5] The original lift span bridge was plagued with problems throughout its lifetime. Heavy traffic could cross it at no more than 15 miles per hour (24 km/h), and its narrow shipping channel led to collisions with freighters in 1958, 1963, and 1970.

State purchase

In 1937, Assemblyman Earl D. Desmond urged the California Toll Bridge Authority to acquire the Antioch Bridge. [8] Desmond believed that by purchasing the bridge, tolls could be eliminated, which would spur economic growth. [9] Director Frank W. Clark negotiated with the American Toll Bridge Company, and the state of California acquired ownership of both the Antioch and Carquinez Bridges at a cost of US$5,943,000(equivalent to $109,780,000 in 2020) on September 16, 1940. Tolls were reduced immediately and further reduced in 1942. [10]

Marine traffic collisions

The narrow ship channel afforded by the raised span led to marine traffic colliding with the bridge in 1958 (rammed by Kaimana), [11] 1963 (rammed by Pasadena) [12] [13] and 1970 (rammed by Washington Bear). [14] [15]

The 1970 collision spurred efforts to build a replacement bridge. In that incident, the lift span was stuck in the raised position. The bridge tender could not leave the bridge and remained in the control house for 20 hours. Local firemen eventually made their way to him and brought him out. [16] The bridge was closed for repairs for 5 months. [17]

1978 replacement bridge

Sen. Nejedly authored Senate Bill 25, which later became Chapter 765 of the California Statutes of 1972, [18] authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds to fund the construction of a replacement to the existing bridge. The bill cited the recent extended disruptions in bridge service from marine traffic damage as well as flooding of the approaches. [18]

The high-level bridge opened in December 1978. Shortly before completion, the replacement bridge was named to honor Sen. Nejedly. [1] [19] [20]


Tolls are only collected from northbound traffic at the toll plaza on the south end (Antioch) of the bridge. Since July 2019, the toll rate for passenger cars is $6. During peak traffic hours, carpool vehicles carrying three or more people or motorcycles pay a discounted toll of $3.00. All-electronic tolling has been in effect since 2020, and drivers may either pay using the FasTrak electronic toll collection device, using the license plate tolling program, or via a one time payment online. [21]

Historical toll rates

Crossing the original 1926 bridge required a toll, but tolls were removed in 1945 after the state bought the bridge in 1940. Under the ownership of the American Toll Bridge company, in 1940, tolls were US$0.45(equivalent to $8.31 in 2020) per car plus US$0.05(equivalent to $0.92 in 2020) per passenger. After the state took ownership, tolls were immediately reduced to US$0.30(equivalent to $5.54 in 2020) per car (up to four passengers). In 1942, tolls were further reduced to US$0.25(equivalent to $3.96 in 2020). [10] Tolls were reinstated in 1978 with the completion of the new span.

The basic toll (for automobiles) on the seven state-owned bridges, including the Antioch Bridge, was raised to $1 by Regional Measure 1, approved by Bay Area voters in 1988. [22] A $1 seismic retrofit surcharge was added in 1998 by the state legislature, originally for eight years, but since then extended to December 2037 (AB1171, October 2001). [23] On March 2, 2004, voters approved Regional Measure 2, raising the toll by another dollar to a total of $3. An additional dollar was added to the toll starting January 1, 2007, to cover cost overruns concerning the replacement of the eastern span.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional transportation agency, in its capacity as the Bay Area Toll Authority, administers RM1 and RM2 funds, a significant portion of which are allocated to public transit capital improvements and operating subsidies in the transportation corridors served by the bridges. Caltrans administers the "second dollar" seismic surcharge, and receives some of the MTC-administered funds to perform other maintenance work on the bridges. The Bay Area Toll Authority is made up of appointed officials put in place by various city and county governments, and is not subject to direct voter oversight. [24]

Due to further funding shortages for seismic retrofit projects, the Bay Area Toll Authority again raised tolls on all seven of the state-owned bridges in July 2010. The toll rate for autos on the Antioch Bridge was thus increased to $5. [25]

In June 2018, Bay Area voters approved Regional Measure 3 to further raise the tolls on all seven of the state-owned bridges to fund $4.5 billion worth of transportation improvements in the area. [26] [27] Under the passed measure, the toll rate for autos on the Antioch Bridge will be increased to $6 on January 1, 2019; to $7 on January 1, 2022; and then to $8 on January 1, 2025. [28]

In September 2019, the MTC approved a $4 million plan to eliminate toll takers and convert all seven of the state-owned bridges to all-electronic tolling, citing that 80 percent of drivers are now using Fastrak and the change would improve traffic flow. [29] On March 20, 2020, at midnight, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all-electronic tolling was temporarily placed in effect for all seven state-owned toll bridges, and as of December 10, 2020, all of the state-owned toll bridges are now permanently cashless. [30]

Animal incidents

In 1965, three circus lions escaped from a truck passing over the Antioch Bridge. Two were quickly recaptured, but one drowned after falling into the river. [31] [32]

Humphrey the Whale was stranded near the Antioch Bridge in 1985. [33] [34]

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  1. 1 2 2015 Named Freeways, Highways, Structures and Other Appurtenances in California (PDF) (Report). Caltrans. 2016. pp. 71, 255. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Antioch Bridge" . Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  3. "Antioch Bridge". Caltrans, District 4. 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  4. "Bridge Facts: Antioch Bridge". Bay Area Toll Authority. Archived from the original on 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  5. 1 2 "New Year sees Antioch Bridge opened to travel". Berkeley Daily Gazette. 1 January 1926. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  6. "Antioch Bridge Company Formed". Sacramento Union. 22 December 1922. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  7. "To build bridge in delta region". Madera Tribune. United Press Dispatch. 4 June 1923. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  8. "Desmond Asks For Purchase Delta Bridge". Lodi News-Sentinel. (California). 10 February 1937. p. 2. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  9. "Buy Antioch Bridge, Urges Earl Desmond". Lodi News-Sentinel. 21 February 1938. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  10. 1 2 "Tolls on Carquinez and Antioch Bridges Again Reduced by State to 25 Cent Rate for Passenger Cars" (PDF). California Highways and Public Works. Division of Highways, Department of Public Works, State of California. 20 (6): 1–2, 15. June 1942. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  11. "Ramming Closes Antioch Bridge". Lodi News-Sentinel. 2 January 1959. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  12. "Freighter Rams Antioch Bridge". Santa Cruz Sentinel. UPI. 18 December 1963. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  13. "Cargo Ship Dents Bridge at Antioch". Lodi News-Sentinel. 18 December 1963. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  14. "Antioch Bridge". Bridging the Bay. University of California Berkeley Library. December 2, 1999. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  15. "Antioch Bridge". Lodi News-Sentinel. 15 January 1971. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  16. "Anxious Perch". Ogden Standard-Examiner. 6 September 1970. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  17. "Antioch Bridge Open To Traffic". Lodi News-Sentinel. UPI. 19 January 1971. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  18. 1 2 California State Assembly. "An act to add Article 4.5 (commencing with Section 30760) to Chapter 2 of Division 17 of the Streets and Highways Code, relating to the Antioch Bridge, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately". 1972 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 765 p. 1374. The Antioch Bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic for 12 months during the past three years. The 46-year-old structure is extremely vulnerable to damage from marine traffic and to closure as a result of flooding of the approach highway. As a result, highway traffic can be, and has been, disrupted for extended periods of time, with the result that the livelihood of many citizens and the economy of their areas has been seriously damaged.
  19. "Bridge dedication". Lodi News-Sentinel. (California). UPI photo. November 6, 1978. p. 19.
  20. California State Assembly. "An act to amend Sections 2533 and 2534 of the Streets and Highways Code, relating to roads, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately". 1977–1978 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 140 p. 363.
  21. "Antioch Bridge". CalTrans. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  22. Regional Measure 1 Toll Bridge Program.; Bay Area Toll Authority. Archived November 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  23. Dutra, John (October 14, 2001). "AB 1171 Assembly Bill – Chaptered". California State Assembly. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
  24. "About MTC". Metropolitan Transportation Commission. October 15, 2009. Archived from the original on November 3, 2010. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
  25. "Frequently Asked Toll Questions". Bay Area Toll Authority. June 1, 2010. Archived from the original on November 22, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
  26. Cabanatuan, Michael (June 6, 2018). "Regional Measure 3: Work on transportation improvements could start next year".
  27. Kafton, Christien (November 28, 2018). "Bay Area bridge tolls to increase one dollar in January, except Golden Gate". KTVU.
  28. "Tolls on Seven Bay Area Bridges Set to Rise Next Month" (Press release). Metropolitan Transportation Commission. December 11, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  29. Smith, Darrell (September 7, 2019). "Do you drive to the Bay Area? A big change is coming to toll booths at the bridges". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  30. "Cash Toll Collection Suspended at Bay Area Bridges". Metropolitan Transportation Commission. March 20, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  31. "Antioch Area Is Scene Of Lion Hunting". Lodi News-Sentinel. (California). UPI. 9 September 1965. p. 6. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  32. "3 Jungle Cats Make Ill-Fated Freedom Bid". Spartanburg Herald. (South Carolina). Associated Press. 9 September 1965. p. 34. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  33. "A second whale in bay; Humphrey still in Antioch". Lodi News-Sentinel. (California). UPI. 2 November 1985. p. 1. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  34. "Second whale takes bay tour". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. November 2, 1985. p. 3A.


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