Bay Bridge work still on pace with Labor Day opening

July 25, 2013 5:41:56 PM PDT
The new Bay Bridge opening might be delayed from its original Labor Day target, but construction work is keeping pace as if that date were set in stone.

Paving is completed on the self-anchored suspension span, the islands exit sign is up, and landscaping work is underway at the eastern end between the two decks where 96 palm trees will be planted, echoing the symmetry of the tall light poles across the span.

"As early as this weekend, we might see some landscaping happen at the east end where the bridge touches down in Oakland," Andrew Gordon with Caltrans said Thursday. "Some palm trees might be planted as soon as this weekend.

But despite these finishing touches going in on the original Labor Day opening schedule, no one really knows when the bridge will open. "It's really still wide open and it's a very wide window as well. It could be as late as December. It could be much earlier," said John Goodwin with the MTC.

Repair work on broken bolts on the bridge's underbelly continues. The contractor on that project says it will be done by December 10. At the same time, a proposal to shore up the bolt structure is being considered that might allow opening sooner than that mid-December date.

One thing is for sure -- Caltrans still needs four full days of bridge closure in order to make the final connection to Yerba Buena Island, but there's no telling how much notice will be given when that decision is made. "Be prepared to be given much less notice than usual," Gordon said.

And, Caltrans is still aiming for an opening party that includes public access, but there's a cloud of uncertainty over that as well.


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