All of the Bay Bridge closures have happened over holiday weekends, when traffic is typically lighter. Caltrans is hoping the impact of the coming closure will be even less because only westbound lanes will be closed.
The message signs are on, warning motorists that the westbound Bay Bridge will be closed all of Presidents Day weekend. Next week the message will be coming to you inside your home with TV commercials.
The westbound closure will be from 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 to 5 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 21.
The closure is to allow Caltrans to build a detour between the metering lights and the bridge. The detour will be in place until the new span opens next year.
"This is going to shift traffic a little bit to the south just to clear enough room for work to be done on a segment of the new Bay Bridge known as the Oakland touchdown," MTC spokesperson John Goodwin said.
Right now there is also a lot of construction activity going on just east of the toll plaza, but that work is unrelated to the detour or the bridge ? it's a very unglamorous parking lot upgrade to go with the new toll administration and maintenance buildings. Like the bridge project, they are replacing the original structures from the 1930s.
"These new buildings are down into terra firma whereas these old buildings are just not seismicaly safe and really need to be replaced," Goodwin said.
BART and the ferries will be running extra service during the weekend closure, but drivers should expect delays on the alternate driving routes.
"As we get closer to the evening of Feb. 17 and people are planning their travels, I encourage everyone to look at 511.org," Goodwin said.
One concern is weather; if it is raining, the bridge closure could be postponed.