Bay Bridge Closure Over Labor Day Weekend Makes Way for New Span

Image: Bay Bridge Closure Over Labor Day Weekend Makes Way for New Span Foreground: The newly constructed east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013 12:29 PM

By Michael Mullins

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The closure of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Wednesday night will keep the thoroughfare shut down for five days until a new span opens up Tuesday, Sept. 3.

The Bay Bridge closure over the upcoming Labor Day weekend will force area drivers to rely on local subways lines, limited, rerouted bus services and the ferries to take them where they have to go in place of being able to use their car.

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"Thursday and Friday it's going to be very busy so we're encouraging people to either use the ferries or modify their plans not to travel in the peak 8-8:30 in the morning and 5-5:30 in the afternoon," Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) spokesperson Jim Allison said in anticipation of the closure, local ABC News affiliate KGO reported.

The last transit buses to travel over the bridge will do so at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, after which time they will be rerouted to take passengers to four subway locations in San Francisco that can take them across the Bay.

As part of Interstate 80, which directly connects San Francisco with Oakland, the bridge consists of one of the longest spans in the world, carrying approximately 280,000 vehicles per day on its two decks, according to the San Francisco Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Whereas the current span is a double-decked structure, the new suspension bridge will consist of two spans over a 2-mile stretch of elevated roadway that has been designed to move slightly during earthquakes, rather than break, according to a report by the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee.

After more than a decade of sometimes troubled construction and cost increases, the new span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has become the most expensive public works project in California history, costing the state of California $6.3 billion from start to finish. Initially, the project received a price tag of $1.1 billion.

Earlier this year, anchor rods in seismic stabilizers broke, forcing state officials in August to commission a temporary fix in order to get the bridge open. Last week that work was completed according to the bridge's builders, the Sacramento Bee reported.

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