Doyle Drive project about to start

September 9, 2009 7:15:28 PM PDT
Demolition crews have their sights set on another Bay Area bridge -- this time, the Golden Gate. A massive project to replace the Doyle Drive approach to the bridge is about to get underway -- an aged stretch of roadway considered an accident waiting to happen.

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Demolition crews have their sights set on another Bay Area bridge -- this time, the Golden Gate. A massive project to replace the Doyle Drive approach to the bridge is about to get underway -- an aged stretch of roadway considered an accident waiting to happen.

Trees are coming down in the Presidio in the path of the new Doyle Drive.

"We did a lot of preservation work," said Doyle Drive construction manager Dave Pang.

Pang says Caltrans is moving in to the Presidio as the $1 billion Doyle Drive replacement project gets an early jump off the block.

The ramps connecting traffic southbound through the Presidio from the Golden Gate Bridge and Doyle Drive have already been closed once and will be closed again between 5:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. the next three weekends for tree removal.

"We did it during the lowest traffic volumes when we can get the work done safely. When you do cut trees we do that during the daylight hours," said Pang.

Doyle was built in 1936 and has to be replaced because engineers doubt it will survive the next big earthquake. Work has begun a year and a half early thanks to $100 million in stimulus funds that required starting now.

"It seemed like too good a deal that should not be turned down and we did that and resulting in an additional $100 million for the project, the amount that was actually necessary for the funding gap," said Lee Saage from San Francisco Transportation Authority.

Caltrans says the drawings show how the new Doyle Drive will be more pleasing to the eye and restore huge swaths of green to the Presidio with two sets of tunnels.

Between now and then, beware of a variety of temporary and long-term closures, with two full weekend closures of Doyle Drive yet to be scheduled.

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