Bay Bridge detours to start in May


An orange barrier marks the spot as far as Caltrans can go in building the new eastbound lanes as they touch down in Oakland -- a section of the existing bridge is in the way. A Caltrans animation shows how just west of the tollbooth, they're going to shift both directions of traffic south so they can finish building the new bridge.

"The most important thing is to let people know there's going to be a change. The Bay Bridge has been in operation, this year it's going to be 75 years and people get very accustomed to what it's like to drive it, so we are about to make a very big change," Caltrans spokesperson Bart Ney said.

Another Caltrans animation shows what it will be like to be driving eastbound, coming off the bridge into Oakland onto the detour. An alignment will actually be more of a straight shot than the current drive. The detour will start in May.

"There will be some temporary closures for the eastbound alignments. We're going to come back to you in three months to talk to you about exactly what those hours will be," Ney said.

Then, early next year, the westbound lanes leaving the tollbooth headed for San Francisco will get a detour, which will last until fall of 2013 when both directions of the new bridge will open at the same time.

"Originally, we were supposed to be completing the westbound access to the bridge at the end of 2013 and the eastbound access was six months to a year later in 2014," Ney said.

The last Bay Bridge detour was initially disastrous. The S-curve just east of the Yerba Buena Tunnel was a painful adjustment with one fatality. Caltrans says this should be a much easier change to navigate.

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