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February 22, 2011 > New Bay Bridge East Span to open in 2013

New Bay Bridge East Span to open in 2013

Submitted By the Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Bridge officials unveiled a plan, on February 17, 2011, to accelerate the opening of the new East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge by four to six months, allowing the bridge to open in both directions in the fall of 2013. Caltrans will hasten work on the "Oakland Touchdown" of the new span by constructing detours on the existing eastbound and westbound roadways west of the toll plaza in Oakland, and shifting traffic slightly south and out of the way of new bridge construction.

"We want seismic safety sooner," said Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney. "By realigning traffic now, we can accelerate construction and open the Bay Bridge to all motorists in 2013."

The original bridge's westbound lanes on the Oakland side are directly in the path of yet-to-be-constructed eastbound lanes of the new span, along a 1,000-foot-long stretch of road known as the Oakland Touchdown. The previous opening plan involved shifting westbound traffic to the new span in 2013 then taking an additional four to six months to demolish the conflicting structure and finish the new eastbound roadway.

The revised plan entails implementing detours for the next two years - eastbound traffic will begin using the detour in May 2011 and the westbound shift will occur in early 2012. The detours allow construction crews to work between the existing and new bridges to complete the eastbound Oakland Touchdown over the next two-and-a-half years.

"There will be no full bridge closure associated with the eastbound alignment change in May," said Ney. "Caltrans is still investigating whether a closure will be necessary for the westbound alignment change in 2012."

The East Span project is being overseen by the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee (TBPOC), made up of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission (CTC).

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