Cars speed by under the 23rd Avenue overpass in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. The overpass is showing its age and is on schedule to be demolished and replaced. The railings seen on the north side of the overpass are the same as the ones on the south side of the bridge that unexpectedly fell onto Interstate 880 Monday night, causing a major accident and traffic delays. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group) ( Laura A. Oda )
But the $105 million project to replace it and an overcrossing just to the south has been slow to materialize, representative of the estimated $57 billion worth of backlogged state highway repairs and replacements that has become a subject of partisan impasse in the state Capitol.
The 23rd Avenue overcrossing was built in 1947 and looks its age. Construction of its replacement, planned since 2009, is expected to begin next year as a contractor finishes rebuilding the 29th Avenue crossing.
With gas-tax revenues drying up as more fuel-efficient cars take over the roads in California and across the nation, the race to repair critical highway infrastructure before tragedy strikes is becoming more pressing. Two people were hospitalized in the Oct. 20 collapse.
Infrastructure renewal is a nationwide problem that raises political hackles and is inextricably linked to economic health. In Sacramento and Washington, D.C., Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on how to pay for public works.