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Miller-Sweeney Bridge

Park Street Bridge
Miller-Sweeny Bridge
Fruitvale Ave Bridge

High Street Bridge
Bay Farm Island Bridge
Bay Farm Island Bike Bridge

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Miller-Sweeney Bridge is located on the Oakland Estuary (Oakland Tidal Canal), which is located in Alameda County, California. The bridge spans the cities of Oakland and Alameda. The Oakland Estuary is a navigable water way with access to the San Francisco Bay and San Leandro Bays.

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Miller-Sweeney Bridge was a project of the United States Army Corp of Engineers.  The bridge was designed by McCerary-Koretsky International Inc.  The General Contractor was Hensell Phelps Construction Co.  Steel fabrication and erection was handled by Kasier Steel Corp.  The project started in 1971 and the Bridge was opened to the Public in 1973.

County of Alameda, California owns and maintains the bridge. The bridge is the responsibility of the Alameda County Department of Public Works. The bridge is regulated by the United States Coast Guard.

Miller-Sweeney Bridge is a single leaf bascule draw bridge.

Miller-Sweeney Bridge is operational year around 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. There are two vessel restriction periods. These restrictions are 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.  There are no vessel restrictions on weekends or holidays.

The bridge is manned by a alternating four person crew. Miller-Sweeney Bridge is equipped with a Marine Radio, the working channel in the San Francisco Bay Area is Channel 9. Vessels can also gain a bridge opening by using a horn. The signal is a long blast followed by a short blast.

Note:  Vessels can transit the draw during closure hours if advance notice is given, an emergency, or tidal conditions dictate transit during closure hoursYou must call the bridge office to arrange an opening during closure hour's (510) 535-0475.

All maintenance and repairs are performed by the Alameda County Department of Public Works.

Vessel and Vehicle Statistics:

Vessel Traffic (Bridge Openings)

Opening Per Year 1,600
Total Vessels 1,900
Barges 615

Vehicle Traffic

West Bound 8,900 per day
East Bound  6,400 per day
Total Vehicle Traffic 15,300 per day
Busiest Hour West Bound
5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
945 vehicles
Busiest Hour East Bound
7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
633 vehicles
Slowest Hour West Bound
3 a.m. to 4 a.m.
13 vehicles
Slowest Hour East Bound
4 a.m. to 5 a.m.
17 vehicles

Bridge Statistics:

Vertical Clearance MLLW (Low Tide) 21 Feet
Vertical Clearance MHHW (High Tide) 15 Feet
Clearance Between Fenders 96 Feet
Maximum Vehicle Load Limit ?? Tons
Bridge Height Restriction for Vehicles None
Bridge Width ?? Feet
Bridge Length 215 Feet
Width of Roadway 52 feet
Width of Traffic lanes 13 feet
Pedestrian Sidewalk's 6 Feet 1 Inc

Information & History:

Miller-Sweeney is a single leaf bascule bridge and was built by the Army Corp of Engineers.  The bridge was turned over to the County of Alameda in 1975 and was named the Miller-Sweeney Bridge.  The Original name of the bridge was the Fruitvale Avenue Bridge and is still referred this way by many locals.  The bridge received a architectural design award in 1974.

Miller-Sweeney is our fasted bridge after securing the bridge for a opening it takes 66 seconds to raise the bridge to a height of 79 Degrees which is a full opening.  Power is supplied by two 75 hp electric motors.  These motors operate in sync for a normal opening.  However, each motor can operate the bridge on its own if necessary.   The backup emergency motor is a 5 hp motor.  Using the emergency drive it takes almost 20 minutes to raise the bridge to a full height.

When Miller-Sweeney was damaged by vessel accident (a barge weighing 4,000 tons) the emergency drive is what kept the waterway open to vessel traffic as the main drive system would have damaged the bridge further if it was engaged.

The bridge has two brake systems that stop the bridge.  The main brake is the Service Brake it stops the bridge at all positions whether its going up or down.  The secondary brake system is the Set Brake.  The Set Brake is not used in normal operating conditions.  It is only used has a backup or a a set brake if the bridge will be in one position for a extended period of time.

The brakes are Hydraulic-Thruster type systems, the Service Brake has a stopping force of 1000 ft/lbs. of torque.  The Set Brakes have a stopping force of 6000 ft/lbs. of torque.

Before you operate the bridge four gates and two cable barrier systems stop traffic and pedestrian's.  The cable barrier system is hydraulic system powered by a 7.5 hp motor.  The Barrier system on Miller-Sweeney comes out of a pit in the roadway as opposed to the overhead steel structure on the other bridges.

Miller-Sweeney is newest (except the Bike Bridge) of the bridges that span the area and it has had its share of bad luck. In 1989 the Loma Prieta Earthquake caused damage to the bridge and it was shut down to all traffic until repaired. In 1991 another mishap occurred a fully loaded sand barge hit the movable span and caused extensive damage. The bridge was down for months and cost about a million dollars to repair. Since the bridge accident Miller-Sweeney had run flawlessly and without any mishaps.

Miller Sweeney has no overhead steel structure like the Park and High Street Bridge so it's recommend that trucks with high loads use this bridge.  There have been many accidents on the other bridges concerning trucks with high loads.

Main Power to Miller-Sweeney is supplied by by the Bureau of Electricity (City of Alameda).  There are two power feeds to the bridge from the source.  The bridge can operate on either power feed.  If one power feed goes down there is an automatic transfer to the other feed.  If both feeds are down which can happen, the bridge is inoperable unless the Bridge Maintenance crew brings in the portable generator system.

An auxiliary operating panel is located on the Alameda Side of the Bridge and is also powered by the Bureau of Electricity.  The auxiliary power station can run the bridge using the main drive system.  This is used in training and emergencies.

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