San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will close, reopen after Labor Day

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Thursday, August 22, 2013

It’s been nearly 24 years since an earthquake damaged the East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and nearly 11 years since construction began on a permanent replacement. Caltrans says the new East Span will officially open to traffic on Sept. 3, following a five-day closure of the whole bridge to adjust the traffic pattern.

A July press release had indicated that the new span might not be ready until December, but Caltrans spokesman Andrew Gordon confirmed the bridge would be open after Labor Day.

“The original East Span will close permanently at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 28, and the new East Span will open at 5 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 3,” Gordon told Land Line by email.

An earthquake that occurred just prior to game three of the 1989 World Series in San Francisco required expensive fixes and retrofits. The West Span remained intact, but received extensive earthquake retrofits. Officials declared the need to redesign and completely replace the East Span, and that project broke ground in 2002.

The estimated cost was $6.3 billion, making it one of the largest infrastructure projects on record.

According to Caltrans, nearly 300,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily. The agency has closed the bridge on Labor Day weekends in the past for testing and retrofitting. Detour information is available at baybridgeinfo.org.

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