Construction equipment arrives for Golden Gate Bridge closure

Lilian Kim Image
ByLilian Kim KGO logo
Monday, January 5, 2015
Golden Gate Bridge closure to begin this weekend
Barrier equipment has arrived ahead of this weekend?s closure of the Golden Gate Bridge.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Golden Gate Bridge will be closed to motorists this weekend for the installation of a moveable median barrier.

The zipper trucks will be moving the moveable median barrier once it's installed next weekend. The machines arrived this weekend, part of the $30 million effort to prevent head-on collisions on the Golden Gate Bridge.

In a matter of days, the plastic, tubular pylons that separate the northbound and southbound lanes will be replaced with a concrete median. A zipper truck will move the barrier on an as-needed basis, depending on the flow of traffic. But it's going to take a whole weekend to install it. The median is composed of 3,000 concrete units each weighing 1,500 pounds.

"The engineers figured out that it was going to take weeks if we just close the center lanes and just had a trickle of traffic going through, which would be a pain for everyone. So the bridge board of directors decided that they would just rip off the band aid and do it in one fell swoop," said Golden Gate Bridge spokesperson Priya David Clemens.

Which means the closure will be from 12:01 a.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Monday. Motorists will be banned, but Golden Gate transit buses, pedestrians and cyclists will be allowed.

Merchants in Sausalito, like Real Napa on Bridgeway, are bracing for a slow weekend. They say more than half their customers are tourists who drive over the bridge.

"But they do have the option of ferry, walk, bike and bus yeah, so hopefully they'll still come," said Candis Farris, store employee.

But Henry Yuen of Mayflower Boutique isn't counting on it. He's closing his shop during the closure.

"Our business mostly rely on the weekend. But it seems if the bridge is closed we cannot do anything," said Yuen.

The Golden Gate Bridge District is well aware of the economic impact which is why they chose to close the span during what's traditionally a slow weekend. And they say while it will be inconvenient for a couple days, in the end, the Bay Area will have a much safer bridge.