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Caltrans is normally busy watching the roads, but this week it is also watching the skies.
The agency is scheduled to shut down the westbound direction of Bay Bridge during President’s Day weekend to shift some lanes of traffic further south. But heavy rain could dump a big bucket of water on those plans.
Watch Video That Explains Changes Here
The bridge is set to shut down 8 p.m. Friday and reopen 5 a.m. Tuesday, but a forecast of heavy rain this weekend would force Caltrans to postpone the closure to the following weekend.
Another scenario could see heavy rains extending the length of the closure past Tuesday morning if the project goes ahead on Friday.
“As most people know with your house, paint and rain don’t mix,” said Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney. “That’s what we’re going to be looking for is that dry six or seven hours.”
Caltrans will shift westbound traffic slightly south, and remove an existing piece of freeway between the current bridge, and the new span rising further North. That will involve paving the new road, and striping it. The new bridge is scheduled to open Labor Day, 2013.
Caltrans has spent $500 thousand on ads and outreach warning commuters of the closure. That budget also covers contingency advertising messages in case the weather alters this weekend plans.
“We’ve had ads running in the Super bowl -- the Grammys, where people are,” said Ney. “We tried to get the word out where our audience is.”
The word has reached many commuters, including David Carrier of Concord, who wasn’t exactly pleased with the idea of taking a detour into San Francisco.
“I commute to school back and forth between both cities,” said Carrier. “So getting over there and coming back, and having this going on -- not a good thing.
Caltrans said it’s also made contingency weather plans with other local transportation agencies like ferry services, and AC Transit. The agency said on Wednesday, it will have a clearer picture of how weather will affect the weekend closure. But at least for now, it’s full steam ahead.