These are the final days in the life of the original Doyle Drive, with demolition scheduled to being one week from Friday. Beginning Monday April 30, drivers coming off the Golden Gate Bridge will drive onto a detour that will be in place for three years.
Preparation work is already underway and more heavy equipment is arriving every day getting ready to demolish most of Doyle Drive, the elevated Golden Gate Bridge connector dating from 1936. It will come down after a full weekend closure beginning next Friday. After that, motorists will come and go from the Golden Gate Bridge on a new elevated roadway, using a new tunnel, a new temporary ground level detour, with a new temporary intersection. It will be a lot to digest for people who have been driving this route for decades. The tunnel in particular could be very disorienting.
"The aesthetic is really pleasing, if you look at the geometry of the portal. There was a lot of time spent going into the aesthetic part of it because we're in a national park and obviously, we're at the shadow of Golden Gate Bridge, so we've got to make this look pretty," Caltrans engineer Byron Lim said.
"Certainly for the first couple weeks, we expect it to back up. People are going to come into the tunnel and be looking around and say wow, and then they're going to get to a new intersection when they get down over by the Palace of fine Arts," Presidio Parkway spokeswoman Molly Graham said.
Everything is expected to be finished in 2015. Come Monday April 30, the tunnel will carry traffic in both directions with a movable barrier separating the north and southbound lanes. "Cars will not go through them. They will be directed back into traffic as opposed to a head-on collision. That's really what you're trying to prevent over here," explained Gary Kaplan with Barrier Systems.
The barrier will be a huge improvement over what exists now, which is basically no barrier. The closure begins at 8 p.m. Friday, April 27 and goes until 5 a.m. Monday, April 30. Caltrans is urging people to stay away from the Doyle Drive, Presidio, and Golden Gate Bridge areas if possible. They are expecting a lot of traffic backups and confusion.
For more information on the traffic impact and alternate routes, check out ABC7 News' exclusive Waze traffic app.