There will be no Bay Bridge for five days later
this month. New or old.
If you need to travel from the East Bay to San Francisco, or vice versa, how are you going to get there?
That's the big question facing commuters as well as residents as the Bay Area gets ready to transition from the Bay Bridge built in 1936 to the new span with its temporary seismic fixes. On Thursday morning, the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee voted to make the switch over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
The old bridge will close down at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28. The new $6.4 billion bridge will open at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
It only took 11 years of construction to get to this point.
As soon as the existing bridge shuts down, Caltrans crews will begin aligning the new span with Interstate 80 on both the western and eastern ends. They'll also be installing $250,000 worth of steel shims to provide seismic safety until a permanent fix can be put in place.
State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) supports opening the new bridge as soon as possible because of seismic concerns about the current bridge.
However, he is critical of how long the project has taken and how much it has cost.
“The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge is 10 years late, and $5 billion over budget," said DeSaulnier. "The commuters are the ones who have paid for this project as it has skyrocketed over budget, and they have been left vulnerable each day spent on the old span. They deserve the safest bridge possible.”
BART officials announced this week the agency will offer limited round-the-clock service from Wednesday night into Monday. They will not operate trains overnight on Tuesday morning because inspections need to be done then.
The frequency of the trains and which stations will be opened hasn't been figured out yet.