Contact: Jo Murray, 510-238-8430, 800-492-9786 (pager)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OAKLAND, Calif. — Mayor Jerry Brown, assisted by "Amelia Earhart" and "Bessie Coleman," today dedicated the new Hegenberger Road/98th Avenue Gateway to Oakland International Airport as part of the airport’s 75th anniversary celebration.
Characters representing the two historic aviatrixes unveiled a 6-by-17 foot banner celebrating the airport in the roadway median. Earhart left from Oakland in 1937 on her ill-fated flight around the world, and Coleman, the first African-American woman in the world to earn a pilot’s license, were among the early flyers who signed the airport’s first log book.
The colorful banner is one of a series, created by Oakland’s Daniel Quan Design, representing both Oakland arts and cultural attractions and significant moments in the airport’s history. There are 75 6-foot banners along the sides of the road, and 14 17-foot banners in the median.
Following the unveiling of the banner, local elected officials rode along the new route to the airport in vintage cars, owned by members of the California Motor Car Company, driving through a banner on 98th Avenue.
"The festivities give us a chance to reflect on Oakland International’s role as a vital and innovative force in aviation history as we mark 75 years of aviation excellence," said Steven Grossman, director of aviation for the Port of Oakland. "The landscaping and the banners introduce the icons and landmarks of the East Bay to travelers, and create a striking and functional gateway to the cities of Oakland, San Leandro and Alameda. Completion of this gateway is the first of many important projects as the airport grows to meet the region’s future aviation needs."
The ceremonies also included remarks by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown; Paul Rose, representative from the San Francisco Regional Office of Gov. Gray Davis; Oakland Vice Mayor Larry Reid; Alameda Mayor Ralph Appezatto; San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young; Darlene Ayers-Johnson, second vice president of the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners; John Glover, deputy executive director of the Port of Oakland; William E. Claggett, executive director of the Oakland Community and Economic Development Agency, Claudette Ford, director of the Oakland Public Works Agency; and LaVerda Allen, president and chief executive officer of The Allen Group, a woman-owned firm and one of three companies that made up the ASC Joint Venture that served as construction manager on the 98th Avenue improvements.
When the airport was dedicated 75 years ago, its 7,020-foot runway was the longest in the world. The runway was located at what is now Oakland’s North Airport, serving business jets and general aviation. It is linked by a taxiway to the South Airport, where the main commercial runway and passenger terminals are located.
The airport will continue its celebration next week with activities for passengers and employees and an airport history exhibit created for the terminals by the Oakland Museum of California.
The gateway project includes repaving of Hegenberger Road and the widening of 98th Avenue, the main routes between the airport and Interstate 880, and construction of the Doolittle Road overpass to provide better access to the airport from 98th Avenue.
Forty-eight Canary Island palm trees have been planted along Hegenberger and 98th Avenue, creating one of the largest collections of Canary Island palms in the Bay Area. The teal color of the ornamental historic streetlights complements the extensive new landscaping along the sidewalks and in the median.
Funding for the $4.6 million Hegenberger Road beautification project came from the City of Oakland and the Port of Oakland. Hegenberger also has been resurfaced between Doolittle Road and MacArthur Boulevard, thanks to a $1 million contract financed by the Federal Highway Administration and Measure B sales tax funds from the Alameda County Transportation Authority. Construction started in June 2001.
Work began in June 1999 on the $114 million 98th Avenue and cross-airport roadway project, with funding from City of Oakland, the City of Alameda, the Port of Oakland, the Federal Highway Administration and Measure B funds from the Alameda County Transportation Authority.
The inbound lanes on 98th Avenue will open to the public June 20 and the outbound lanes will open this fall. An extension of Doolittle Road, crossing the airport and giving easier access to the City of Alameda, is to be completed in the fall of 2003.
Last year Oakland International Airport served 11.4 million passengers and handled more than 600,000 metric tons of air cargo. Oakland International has approximately 200 flights a day on 13 domestic and international carriers to 33 nonstop destinations. The airport is a revenue division of the Port of Oakland.
This year the City of Oakland is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a 16-week season of community-hosted events and activities, culminating in the 2nd Annual Art & Soul Festival in the Frank Ogawa Plaza on Sept. 1-2. ###
Note to editors: High-resolution copies of the aviation banners, suitable for print reproduction, can be downloaded at http://www.oaklandairport.com/media_photos.shtml.