A gearbox failure Aug. 9 resulted in the Rio Vista Bridge to become stuck in its upright position. Then the bridge, which carries Highway 12, was unable to be lowered. And now the bridge that connects Solano and Sacramento counties will be closed for an extended period of time.
Traffic will be rerouted while Caltrans closes the bridge, known as the Helen Madere Memorial Bridge, from 10 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Monday.
Since the gearbox used to raise and lower the bridge was damaged nearly 10 days ago, Caltrans has been manually raising the bridge, which takes several hours. According to a Caltrans press release, the gearbox has been sent in for repairs.
Caltrans spokesman Steve Nelson said officials have been coordinating a schedule with the U.S. Coast Guard, as the issues have hindered the ability of vessels to travel along the Sacramento River. The Coast Guard has partial jurisdiction over the bridge and control of the waterway.
While it’s closed, the 60-year-old vertical-lift bridge will be raised to allow three cargo ships — one leaving West Sacramento and two coming from Oakland — to pass, Nelson said.
According to Coast Guard spokesperson Rachel Thomas, the bulk carrier Funing, which is discharging cement, has been stuck at the Port of West Sacramento for nearly a week waiting to pass.
For drivers, Caltrans District 3 will be sending traffic alerts and updates via Twitter and Facebook. Individuals interested in real-time traffic information can use Caltrans’ QuickMap tool at quickmap.dot.ca.gov and they can also download the QuickMap app.