Next Step For New Bay Bridge Involves Detour

Changes come early because construction is ahead of schedule.

Starting in May, motorists will face detours on the Bay Bridge  that will allow construction of the new eastern span to wrap up four to six  months ahead of schedule, a Caltrans spokesman said Thursday.

The detours are necessary because the bridge's current westbound  lanes are directly in the path of the new eastern span, spokesman Bart Ney  told reporters at a briefing near the bridge.

To accommodate construction of the new span, the existing lanes in  both directions will be shifted south, starting with the eastbound lanes, and  the part of the current bridge that is in the way will be demolished. There is a simulation above.

The shifting will take place along a 1,000-foot-long stretch of  the so-called "Oakland touchdown" section near the toll plaza.

The eastbound detour is scheduled to begin in late May and a  westbound detour is expected to be in place early next year, Ney said.

"This is a pretty significant engineering effort," Ney said.

He said the eastbound detour will result in an easier curve for  motorists to negotiate but he said "any change is a concern" because the Bay  Bridge is now 75 years old and motorists will have to change their  long-standing driving habits.

If the work proceeds as planned, the new span will open up to six  months ahead of schedule in 2013, he said.

The new eastern span originally was scheduled to open in two  phases, with the westbound section opening in 2013 and eastbound lanes  opening in 2014.

However, Ney said Caltrans is now planning for both directions to  open at the same time in the fall of 2013.

He said Caltrans wants to open the new span as quickly as possible  because "we want seismic safety sooner," noting that its main goal is to try  to make the Bay Bridge, which was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta temblor,  more able to withstand earthquakes.

Bay City News

Contact Us