Commuters watching demolition causes traffic on new Bay Bridge

Commuters slowing down to watch the demolition work being done on the old bridge is causing traffic jams on the new Bay Bridge.
April 30, 2014 9:46:15 PM PDT
The morning commute on the Bay Bridge has been quite a challenge lately. Traffic has been horrendous and everyone seems to have a theory as to why.

The backup on the Bay Bridge hasn't been this bad since the last BART strike. The metering lights were still on at 11:30 a.m.

"I'm a very impatient person so it was a struggle," one driver said.

John Goodwin of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission blames it on the commuters slowing down to look at the old span which is being demolished.

"It's the demolition work being down on the adjacent old bridge that has a much more commanding visual presence," Goodwin said.

The economy has improved, and it's true there are more jobs in the city and more people are driving in. There are about 1500 more cars during a 24 hour period, but Goodwin says that number is not high enough to have any affect on the commute.

We asked for a second opinion and drove across the bridge with CHP Officer Ricardo Jimenez.

"One, is the demolition of the old bridge. Second, is the beauty of the new bridge. People are still in awe with the design. And thirdly, we have construction in the morning on both the left and right shoulder," Jiminez said.

By law drivers have to slow down. He also admits quite often passengers and drivers take out their cameras to take a picture of the growing gap and that's never recommended.

Caltrans says the gap is only going to get bigger and the sight more impressive and the construction on the new bridge will continue for three to five more years.

"Anything that drivers want to look at, be it the new bridge or the old bridge, it's just going to be a distraction. We just encourage drivers to drive safely and keep their eyes on the road," Gordon said.

Caltrans says a better, safer view is from your bicycle on the bridges new bicycle lane.