The Leimert Blvd Bridge connects Park Blvd to the Oakmore Neighborhood, spanning Sausal Creek and Dimond Canyon. Originally designed by architect George Posey, the 357-foot open-spandrel arch bridge was the largest of its type on the West Coast at the time of its construction in 1926. This would be eclipsed four years later when the iconic Bixby Bridge on the Big Sur coast opened in 1932. Over the years, the bridge has received several historic designations and recognitions, preserving its status as a treasured historical landmark of the Oakmore Neighborhood.
In 1980, the bridge was designated as eligible for listing on the National Register for Historic Places by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and also designated as a landmark by the City of Oakland Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board (LPAB). In 2004, the Leimert Blvd Bridge was denoted as eligible for the Caltrans Historic Bridge Inventory and is currently eligible for listing on the National Register for Historic Places. After the Loma Prieta earthquake, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) selected the Leimert Blvd Bridge for seismic retrofitting under the statewide Seismic Safety Retrofit program, considering its age, construction, and proximity to the Hayward Fault.
In 1997, a seismic retrofit design was proposed, calling for the circular steel casings to be fitted to the bridge arch columns and bases as well as the removal of the structure’s original horizontal concrete braces. However, the plans were ultimately rejected by the SHPO and LPAB during environmental review as it was concluded the proposed project would have a significant impact on the historic status of the bridge. As a result, the City began the effort to create a new retrofit design that would avoid impact to the bridge’s landmark status and historic designation.
The City has completed a new retrofit design compliant with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards (SOIS) for the Treatment of Historic Properties protocols required to maintain the historic significance and existing appearance of local landmark. The new design preserves the bridge’s original structural members while enhancing its structural capacity through use of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) wrapping. The revised plans were advertised by the City for construction bidding and the project was ultimately awarded to Disney Construction Inc.
Construction activities are anticipated to commence in August/September 2023. Equipment will be staged on City property (Dimond Canyon Park) east of Park Blvd at the top of the canyon and north of the bridge. Access to areas under the bridge is anticipated by entering the canyon below the bridge from the staging area at the top of the slopes, and/or equipment would need to be lowered from the bridge structure to the construction work area beneath the bridge. The proposed CFRP wrap does not require demolition. The minimal concrete removal of unsound concrete required at spalled areas are not anticipated to produce significant dust. All clearing, grubbing and earthwork required by the project will be performed in accordance with construction Best Management Practices (BMP) to provide dust control of any dust from construction.
The City of Oakland wishes to thank Leimert Blvd Bridge users in advance, for their patience and cooperation as we work to enhance and strengthen this critical transportation corridor in the Oakmore Neighborhood better withstand future earthquakes.
City Project Manager
Mustafa Humran, P.E.