New bridge for Palo Alto bicyclists opens over Highway 101

New bridge for Palo Alto bicyclists opens over Highway 101
Photo Credit: City of Palo Alto
By Wesley Severson - Published on November 23, 2021.

Bay Area bicyclists and pedestrians in Palo Alto now have a fancy new bridge to keep them out of harm’s way as they travel over Highway 101 from West Bayshore Road landing to East Bayshore Road landing. The 1,400-foot bridge at Adobe Creek is made of steel beams and trusses and cost $23.1 million dollars to build. It features a 12-foot-wide pathway that sits about 30 feet above the highway. According to NBC Bay Area, it takes the place of the Benjamin Lefkowitz Underpass which was closed each year during the rainy season because it would flood. 

Palo Alto employees are excited that it’s finally open. "After a year and a half of construction that included 13 million pounds of concrete, 1 million pounds of structural steel and 7,000 feet of electrical and fiber optic cable, we can definitely say now that the bridge is tangible and real," Palo Alto Public Works director Brad Eggleston told Palo Alto Online.  "This is something the community has been looking forward to for a long time and I expect will get a lot of use both for bike commuting and recreation. We actually approved this four years ago, next week, when we finally gave it the final go-ahead,” Mayor Tom Dubois said during a ribbon-cutting event Saturday covered by Palo Alto Online.  

The new bridge allows bike riders to access a Class I trail connection along with the Baylands Nature Preserve, the San Francisco Bay Trail, and Byxbee Park. It is also part of the Santa Clara County Countywide Bicycle Plan. Two things you will notice about the bridge is that during the day, you can tell that is already rusty. The rust is real and acts as a natural barrier to make the bridge last longer. At night you’ll notice the faint LED lighting system which is meant to only light up the main pathway which minimizes light pollution and the impact on local wildlife. 

The idea for the overcrossing actually came about in 2014 and was funded with city money as well as government and private grants. NBC Bay Area reports that to build the bridge, the city of Palo Alto used “a $5.5 million grant from the County of Santa Clara's Stanford Recreation Mitigation Fund, a $1 million Google grant, and a $4.35 million grant from Metropolitan Transportation Commission's One Bay Area Grant Program.”