SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — After 80 years of service, the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza could finally being go into retirement after the bridge authority voted to hire an Oakland-based engineering firm to design a new look.
More than 100,000 cars a day make their way through the spans toll plaza every day. A new design means the bridge authority may have to find a way to collect the toll money it is owed.
“Our toll equipment is quite old. It was installed in 2005. For perspective, that’s two years before the first iPhone,” said Denis Mulligan the General Manager of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.
The district’s Board of Directors voted Friday morning to approve hiring Oakland-based engineering firm AECOM.
Bridge officials seem open to a variety of possibilities when it comes to the new design.
“We could put in the same old thing we have right now, or we could look at what new technology is out there and what will pave the way for the future,” said Golden Gate Bridge spokeswoman Priya David Clemens.
The bridge authority will pay the firm about a million dollars to design the new toll gantry which will hold the new, updated toll collecting equipment above the roadway, much like what’s currently used at the Benicia Bridge
The new design will also aim to help cars move through faster and improve safety for workers.
“The gantry will be accessible to our workers so they can walk out above the roadway to replace equipment, without being exposed to traffic,” said Mulligan.
One thing that won’t change is the art deco clock hanging above the toll plaza.
“People are passionate about the clock and they love it, so it will be part of the landscape for a long time,” explained Mulligan.
The design firm should have preliminary plans ready by the end of the year. The bridge authority will then get the public’s input before building the new gantry.
The new toll plaza is scheduled to be ready for use at the end of 2018.