New Bay Bridge to Shut Down For Community Walk

A proposal to allow the crowds to cross the bridge is in the works.

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Feb 7, 2013  |  Updated 2:40 PM PDT
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It's 207 days away from the $6.3 billion eastern span of the Bay Bridge opening.

And to celebrate, the bridge will be shut down. But not for a bad reason. The shutdown is to open the span up for a grand community pedestrian-bike-friendly celebration.

A "once-in-a-lifetime chance to walk" from Oakland to San Francisco across the new Bay Bridge is the Labor Day gift for lucky locals, if a proposal to allow a crowd of up to 125,000 people walk across the bridge before it's made cars-only is approved.

Interested folks can sign up at www.baybridgecelebration.com for information leading up to "free tickets."

The bridge will be shut down to traffic at 8 p.m. Aug. 28 in order to allow the bridge's builders to connect the new eastern span to the tunnel on Yerba Buena Island, the newspaper reported. Cars will fly across beginning at 5 a.m. Sept. 3.

The mass walk won't be free. The

San Francisco Chronicle

says that the events would largely be funded with private donations collected by the Bay Bridge Alliance. But the Bay Area Toll Authority is considering spending $5.6 million in toll revenues to pay for transportation to and from the bridge walk and to cover public safety expenses and amenities - including $865,000 for portable toilets.

The toll authority estimates that perhaps 200,000 people would participate in the east span festivities, and it is planning to provide free transportation to and from the bridge for about 125,000. The agency would also provide security and public necessities such as portable toilets, drinking water, first aid stations and recycling and waste disposal.

The same production company, Harmann Studios, that organized the San Francisco Giants' World Series victory parade would be responsible for organizing the walk.

The idea will be discussed at the Bay Area Toll Authority's committee meeting Feb. 13 and then again on Feb. 27.

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