The four-day closure of the west-bound Bay Bridge will impact how we get around this holiday weekend. Traffic reporter Mike Inouye has the details.
The Bay Bridge's westbound upper deck reopened a day and a half ahead of schedule.
With all planned demolition and maintenance work completed, California Department of Transportation Officials began removing cones from the bridge and approaches around 7 p.m. Traffic was flowing freely by 7:30 p.m.
Motorists passing through the toll plaza are asked to drive carefully, since the merge will be different. While 20 lanes will still merge down to 5, they will curve slightly to the south, Ney said.
The bridge was not scheduled to reopen until Tuesday at 5 a.m., but Ney said unexpectedly good weather had allowed work to progress quickly.
"The next time we plan to close the Bay Bridge will be to open the new Bay Bridge, Labor Day weekend 2013," Ney said.
Traffic slowed to a crawl on the Golden Gate Bridge Saturday night as people tried to find a new way to get into the City.
The bridge saw heavy evening traffic and anticipates approximately a 50 percent increase in traffic levels this holiday weekend, spokeswoman Mary Currie said today.
"Traffic is at a crawl now," Currie said. "It is moving but it's moving pretty slowly."
The Golden Gate Bridge was crossed by 39,799 southbound vehicles on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011, and 49,889 on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010, according to data from the Golden Gate Bridge District.
The Bay Bridge's westbound upper deck closed Friday night for work including the construction of a detour near the toll plaza, lane striping and the placement of a guide rail, according to Caltrans officials. Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said that the closure was unavoidable.
During the closure, motorists weren't able to drive from the East Bay to San Francisco. However, the lower deck remained open, meaning drivers can travel from San Francisco to Oakland.
The detour will shift westbound traffic south of where it is now, and will allow construction crews to demolish sections of the existing roadway that are in the path of the new incline section.
Another video explanation of the new configuration is available online at www.baybridgeinfo.org.