Caltrans to close Bay Bridge intermittently for demolition

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Demolition work on what remains of the old Bay Bridge will continue this fall and the implosion work will involve closures affecting bikers, pedestrians, and even drivers on the bridge.

Starting next weekend and on into November Caltrans will be carefully packing explosives and imploding 13 marine foundations still standing five stories tall under the water in the Bay.

Those foundations are mid-span along the eastern half of the Bay Bridge. Caltrans says their implosions to take down the old bridge went so well in 2015 and in 2016 they're now accelerating the final stage.

So plan ahead -- CHP will again impose rolling 20-minute traffic blocks on the bridge starting Sept. 2 at the time of optimum slack tide.The implosions are scheduled every other Saturday.

"Yes we want to do this smarter and faster but we're not cutting corners when it comes to environmental protection," said Caltrans environmental manager Stefan Galvez.

Marine biologists will again be on hand to stop the work if harbor seals are spotted in the area. Air bubbles will be pumped into the water to cushion the explosions.

"We are able to shave a year and $10 million off the implosion work planned for these large marine foundations," said CalTrans District Director Dan McElhinney.

"It's not just two years worth of work in one year. Instead of 13 blast events will have only six times blast events," said CalTrans Chief Bridge engineer Brian Maroney.

The implosions will affect pedestrians and bicyclists the most -- the path across the eastern span will close the entire week before each set of blasts starting Sunday, Aug. 27. So one week open, one week closed through the fall.

There are inconveniences but Caltrans says there are some pluses. They hope to convert these piers near the eastern shoreline into a public access boardwalk.

Here are the closure dates for the pedestrian and bike path:
Week of Aug. 27
Week of Sept. 10
Week of Sept. 24
Week of Oct. 8
Week of Oct. 22
Week of Nov. 5

There will be intermittent closures on the Bay Bridge for traffic on:
Sept. 2
Sept. 16
Sept. 30
Oct. 14
Oct. 28
Nov. 11

Click here for more stories, photos, and video on Caltrans.
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.