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Park Street Bridge (Alameda County)

Park Street Bridge
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The Park Street Bridge is located on the Oakland Estuary (Oakland Tidal Canal), which is located in Alameda County, California. It spans the cities of Oakland and Alameda. The Oakland Estuary is a navigable waterway with access to the San Francisco and San Leandro Bays.

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The Park Street Bridge was engineered and built by the Federal Government and the County of Alameda.  Park Street opened for service in October 1935.  Park Street is currently the oldest draw bridge served by the County of Alameda.

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

The Park Street Bridge is a double leaf bascule drawbridge.

The Park Street 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.

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.

The bridge is manned by a alternating four-person crew.  Park Street 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.


The Alameda County Department of Public Works provides preventive maintenance to the bridge.

Vessel and Vehicle Statistics:

Vessel Traffic (Bridge Openings)

Opening Per Year 1,755
Total Vessels 2,150
Barges 601

Vehicle Traffic

Northbound 21,400 per day
Southbound  16,800 per day
Total Vehicle Traffic 38,200 per day
Busiest Hour North Bound
7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
2255 vehicles
Busiest Hour South Bound
4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
1520 vehicles
Slowest Hour North Bound
3 a.m. to 4 a.m.
52 vehicles
Slowest Hour South Bound
4 a.m. to 5 a.m.
65 vehicles

Bridge Statistics:

Vertical Clearance MLLW (Low Tide) 21 Feet 1 inch
Vertical Clearance MHHW (High Tide) 14 Feet 8 inches
Clearance Between Fenders 240 Feet
Maximum Vehicle Load Limit 44.5 Tons
Bridge Height Restriction for Vehicles 15 Feet 4 inches
Bridge Width 57 Feet
Bridge Length 250 Feet
Width of Roadway 44 feet
Width of Traffic lanes 12 feet
Pedestrian Sidewalk's 6 Feet

The Park Street Bridge is our busiest bridge with over 2000 vessel openings a year.   It's also the main thoroughfare into downtown Alameda and average's almost 40,000 vehicles per day.  It receives heavy pedestrian traffic as well.

Park Street and High Street are similar designs are share many of the same characteristics.  Both are double leaf bascule bridges and each leaf of the bridge can be operated independently.  Park Street employees a steel superstructure that utilizes Steel channels with cross lacing and rivets.  High Street being four years newer has a superior design of I-Beams.

The Bureau of Electricity (Alameda) supplies power to the Bridge, backup power is supplied by PG&E.  A 75 hp main motor and a 5 hp backup motor provide the muscle to raise the bridge.  Park Street is stopped by two Service Brakes and two hydraulic brakes.  The Service Brakes are used to stop the bridge in normal operating conditions.  The Hydraulic Brakes are used for emergency stopping power.

Park Street is the only bridge operated by the County that has two complete operator towers.  The Alameda Tower is the main operational tower and can operate both leafs under normal or emergency power.  The Oakland Tower can only operate the Oakland leaf under normal or emergency drive.  The dual tower system has been put to good use during the current renovation of the Park Street Bridge.

Park Street had a electrical update in the 60's which was a improvement over the early 1930's technology.  Now that we are in the late 1990's the Park Street 60's technology is quite dated.  This will change when the renovation is complete.

Each leaf of the bridge can open to a 76-degree position, this is considered a full opening. A normal opening is 45-degrees and can accommodate 95% of vessel traffic.. With a full opening the bridge can accommodate almost any vessel. The main limiting factor would be vessel width and the depth of the channel.  Each leaf of the bridge is 120 feet in length, a massive counterweight which is out of view helps balance the bridge when opening.

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