Crews continue to work around the clock to get the Bay Bridge open as scheduled with a new East Span. In addition, the West Span of the bridge is receiving upgrades. Jodi Hernandez reports.
Bay Area commuters on Saturday faced a third day without the region's workhorse bridge, but again appear to be getting around the region without any major snarls despite the five-day closure of the Bay Bridge.
The San Mateo Bridge saw heavier traffic, but no major headaches, before 7 a.m Friday as the workweek came to a close, and traffic on other alternate routes were moving with little problem, according to the California Highway Patrol.
BART trains were full again: On Friday, BART reported that Thursday's ridership was 475,015 - the third busiest day in history.
The bridge closed on Wednesday night to allow for final work on the new $6.4 billion eastern span. That span, along with the rest of the bridge, is expected to reopen no later than 5 a.m. Tuesday.
As it stood on Saturday morning, construction was proceeding smoothly. Crews were hard at work, stripping and paving both the east and westbound spans of the new bridge.
Demolition of the thousand-foot section of the westbound approach will be complete by the end of the weekend.
Even with things going smoothly, there is still a ripple effect on traffic throughout the Bay Area on this holiday weekend.
"Make sure you plan ahead," CHP official Daniel Hill said. "If you're planning for an hour-and-a-half trip, plan for a two-hour trip. You can't predict, especially as the weekend comes up, what the delays are going to be."
Crews are also taking advantage of the closure to spruce things up on the western span and the Yerba Buena Island tunnel.
Caltrans said it can get four months of maintenance work done in just four days when they have the road to themselves.
Crews are replacing expansion joints, lights, and filling potholes.
NBC Bay Area's Christie Smith and Mike Inouye contributed to this report.