Traffic smooth after Bay Bridge reopens early

February 20, 2012 12:20:12 PM PST
The westbound upper deck of the Bay Bridge reopened more than 24 hours ahead of schedule, following work related to the new eastern span. It's been smooth sailing all day long on the top deck.

Electronic street signs broadcast the early re-opening of the Bay Bridge to drivers heading into San Francisco from Oakland. But a completed construction, one day ahead of schedule, is still news to a few Bay Area drivers.

At 8 p.m. Friday night the final few cars trickled over the upper deck as the CHP shut it down with plans to reopen it at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. Caltrans completed some re-paving and demolition work to shift lanes on the westbound approach. The partial closure created a crush of traffic as drivers re-routed to other bridges. It was especially bad at the Golden Gate Bridge where 40 percent more cars than usual drove over causing delays of more than an hour in both directions. But by Sunday, crews had completed their projects allowing for the entire span to reopen.

"Thanks to great team work, great support by motorists, and great weather - the Bay Bridge is going to open tonight," said Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney on Sunday.

At 7 p.m. last night, crews started collecting traffic cones and by 7:15 - CHP cruisers led the first drivers over the newly re-opened bridge - more than a day ahead of schedule. On this President's Day - traffic continued into the city through the morning pretty easily.

Drivers going over this newly completed paving project will notice a newly configured "S" curve on the westbound approach, so Caltrans is asking people to take it easy. This is all part of the ongoing construction of a new two mile span that is slated to open for use next year. That's also when the next bridge closure is scheduled.

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