San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Closure: Labor Day 2009
August 20, 2009 UPDATE
The closure over the long holiday weekend is necessary for workers to remove a 300-foot-long section of the existing East Span, and to slide into place a new section that will shift traffic off the existing tunnel approach and onto a temporary detour, allowing crews to connect the new East Span to the Yerba Buena Island tunnel.
The closure of the Bay Bridge also will allow work crews to improve the toll plaza area, including removal of the so-called mini plaza and the covered walkway that connects the mini plaza with the main toll plaza. Toll lane 18, which currently provides access to the three-lane mini plaza, will remain a FasTrak-only lane.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009… Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) today announced that the Bay Bridge will be closed in both directions over the Labor Day 2009 weekend, allowing crews to perform an operation critical to the construction of the bridge’s new East Span. The maneuver will shift all bridge traffic to a detour viaduct currently under construction south of the existing bridge on Yerba Buena Island. After the holiday weekend, workers can then begin demolishing that section of the original bridge, and building a new, permanent connector from the tunnel east to the landmark self-anchored suspension (SAS) section of the new East Span.
While the bridge is closed over the Labor Day weekend, a double-deck bridge section the size of two stacked football fields and weighing 3,300 tons will be cut and slid away, and a new 3,600-ton double-deck section will slip into place. All of this will be done on a scaffold system high above the island.
“This is a massive operation,” described Caltrans spokesperson Bart Ney. “We’re talking about moving nearly 7,000 tons of steel, 150-feet in the air.”
The operation echoes a similar cut and roll-in that took place over Labor Day 2007, that time to replace the western tie-in linking the upper deck of the old East Span to the Yerba Buena Island tunnel. The tightly timed maneuver went without a hitch, and the bridge opened 12 hours ahead of schedule while feared traffic jams never materialized. The same firm that constructed and moved that earlier piece, C.C. Myers, Inc. of Rancho Cordova, Calif., is handling the construction of the East Span bypass and the roll-in of the east tie-in section.
Crews are currently at work 7 days a week, 20 hours a day finishing the detour viaduct and building the temporary support structures that will be used to roll the old bridge truss out and the new one in over the holiday weekend. Over the months to come, the new tie-in truss section and a moveable support system will take shape south of the existing bridge deck, at grade – 150 feet in the air – with the existing bridge. Most of the half-mile-long double-deck viaduct detour is already observable to motorists on the bridge.
“This is a very visible operation,” said Ney, noting that several national documentary TV crews will be capturing the Labor Day weekend event.
When the bridge reopens on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009, traffic will jog slightly on to the detour bridge which will then link the current East Span to the Yerba Buena Island Tunnel. Speed limits through the new alignment will be reduced to a posted and enforced 40 mph from the current speed limit of 50 mph.
MTC is working with Caltrans and other transportation agencies to ensure mobility options for transbay travelers. BART will run all-night service to select stations over Labor Day weekend, and extra vessels will be deployed to expand ferry service on select routes. There will be no bus service across the Bay Bridge. Travelers who must drive between San Francisco and the East Bay are advised to use the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, or the Richmond-San Rafael and Golden Gate bridges. Caltrans is deploying extra toll takers for the weekend.
As Labor Day weekend nears, MTC’s 511 phone service and 511.org Web site will be the official source for transit information and traffic conditions. Construction updates also will be posted on baybridgeinfo.org.
The East Span project is being directed by the
Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, a consortium
of three agencies: Caltrans, the California Transportation
Commission and the MTC-run Bay Area Toll Authority
(BATA). BATA is financing the project with bridge
Metropolitan Transportation Commission • 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, California 94607
This page was last modified Tuesday September 08, 2009
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