"It's Just Scary" Says One of the 90K Doyle Drive Commuters

Engineers claim earthquake could destroy roadway

By Joe Rosato Jr. and John Boitnott
|  Wednesday, Nov 12, 2008  |  Updated 9:43 PM PDT
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"It's Just Scary" Says One of the 90K Doyle Drive Commuters

The time-worn, rusting structure of Doyle Drive, built in the 1930s like the Golden Gate Bridge, may be torn down in favor of a $1 billion modern roadway.

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The Golden Gate Bridge may be one of the world's great architectural masterpieces, but its southern approach is considered its ugly cousin.

"I think it's totally unsafe and busy. It's just scary," said Marin County resident Helen Stanley.

Transportation leaders and the public discussed an earthquake retrofit of the roadway leading to the iconic bridge on Wednesday.

The changes would cost at least $1 billion, transportation leaders said.

"This facility is really at the end of its useful life," said Tilly Chang of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. "It was built in the late 30s with the Golden Gate Bridge and all experts agree that it really does need to be replaced."

Engineers said Doyle Drive, which accommodates 90,000 vehicle trips per day, could come tumbling down in the event of an earthquake.

"I just think something needs to be done about it," said Marin County resident Carol Levy.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission planned a vote on whether to give $80 million dollars to help fix the roadway.

The full board still has yet to pass it, but the proposal is expected to pass.

Transportation agencies from San Francisco to Sonoma have already agreed to help pay for the project.

Drivers may be asked to contribute as well, and some say they welcome a toll.

"I personally believe bridges are important, so if they don't fix it, eventually they have to pay more money to fix it later if an earthquake or something happens," said Sayed Hashemi, a taxi driver who uses Doyle Drive often.

The Golden Gate Bridge District will revisit the idea of getting corporate sponsors to help come up with its $75 million share.

Construction could begin in 2010 and be finished by 2014.

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