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Bay Bridge work on track as drivers detour

by editor2
September 3rd, 2006

After the eastbound lower deck of the Bay Bridge was shut down shortly before midnight Friday, many drivers were finding themselves Saturday traversing three of the Bay Area’s bridges.

“We are seeing people coming over from the city, (after) going over the Bay Bridge, and heading over to Richmond/San Rafael to get to the East Bay,” said Sgt. Jim Abbott of the Golden Gate Bridge District. “They’re circling the Bay.”

By mid-morning, traffic was backing up at the northbound approach to the Golden Gate, with cars barely moving. Shortly after 2 p.m., officials opened another lane in the northbound direction, reducing southbound lanes to two.

While traffic woes were felt to the north, workers at the Bay Bridge were on track with their three-day goal of demolishing 1,000 feet of freeway from Beal Street east to the Clocktower building, said Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney.

By early Saturday morning, crews had already knocked down 70 percent of the deck. “We got a lot of work done overnight,” Ney said.

The lower deck and five eastbound lanes are scheduled to re-open at 5 a.m. Tuesday. The westbound upper deck will remain open to traffic during the demolition.

For the most part, traffic on other Bay Area bridges moved at a normal pace Saturday, said California Highway Patrol officer Marc Johnston.

But, impacts from the Bay Bridge closure were visible all over the Bay Area.

By noon, the Alameda/Oakland ferry had shuttled about 1,100 passengers across the Bay. Typically the agency would serve about 550 passengers on a Saturday, said ferry manager Ernest Sanchez. To accommodate the anticipated increase the agency upped the number of ferries making the transbay crossings from nine to 17.

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