OAKLAND — Faced with a decision that was bound to displease some, state transportation officials announced plans to replace the quake-ruined Cypress section of Interstate 880 with an eight-lane freeway along a new route.
The $695-million project will be built along Southern Pacific railroad tracks west of the original Cypress route, the state Department of Transportation announced Thursday. The decision should end speculation about a $680-million underground expressway, or the possibility of not rebuilding the freeway at all, said Caltrans project manager Irene Itamura.
Residents cheered and jeered the announcement even before Itamura finished her presentation during a meeting of the Cypress Corridor Council community group. As many as 25 homes will be displaced for the roadway.
Plans to rebuild the Cypress structure, the 1.5-mile, double-decked portion of Interstate 880 that collapsed in the October, 1989, earthquake, have been watched closely by residents of the impoverished West Oakland community that was bisected by the roadway.
Forty-two people died in the collapse; many residents of the drug-plagued neighborhood made heroic rescues of trapped motorists.
Alameda County Supervisor Warren Widener applauded the plan, which he endorsed with West Oakland's Citizens Emergency Relief Team.
"A heavy burden has been lifted with word that the concrete colossus which divided this community will not be resurrected," he said.
If the route is approved by Caltrans Director Robert Best, the California Transportation Commission and the Federal Highway Administration by July, construction could begin in late 1993 and be done by 1995, Itamura said.