OAKLAND (KCBS) – A $130 million replacement of the rickety 5th Avenue bridge in central Oakland may be loud and dusty, but at age 60-plus, it’s more than necessary.

“This project is going to make the 880 around 5th Avenue a lot better,” said Caltrans spokesman Matt Robinson.

There are plans to shift traffic just south of downtown three times over the next two and a half years.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

“This freeway was built in the 50s, so we’re looking at 60 years now that people have been driving on this, pounding on the roadway, and the weather has taken it’s toll too,” said Robinson. “And now Caltrans is working on making it smoother and safer.”

But that work comes at a price for local businesses. The earth moving, pile drivers and jackhammers really make it hard to concentrate, let alone hear the telephones.

“The vibrations are enough to break our thinnest glass, which is one-eighth inch thick, but it’s not too big of a loss,” said Miguel Aviles at nearby East Bay Glass Company.

The 880 work among California’s last major seismic retrofits will be 46-feet wider than the current structure. It is due for completion in summer 2013.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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