Bay Bridge closure begins 24 years after quake damage

August 29, 2013 (SAN FRANCISCO)

It's supposed to take five days over the long Labor Day holiday. It's taken 24 years to get to this point, after the 1989 earthquake damaged the bridge.

Vulcan Materials in Pleasanton is churning out hundreds of tons of asphalt in preparation for the final stage of the new east span of the Bay Bridge.

"You know, we want to get as much done before the closure as we can," said Andrew Gordon, Bay Bridge spokesperson.

Between Friday and Sunday, more than 6,000 truckloads of asphalt will travel down I-580 during peak commute hours.

"When we get back into the nighttime and weekend hours the traffic for these asphalt trucks will be diverted back to 238 and 880. So only during peak commute hours will the trucks be traveling on the 580 route," said Ofc. Daniel Hill, Calif. Hwy. Patrol.

The roads are expected to be congested, so CalTrans will be monitoring traffic at its command center. They can reroute the convoy of trucks if necessary.

"It's really to give the people on the ground eyes on the sky to help them do their job as efficiently as possible," Gordon said.

But the first order of business is demolition. Crews will be tearing up the old approach to the bridge and grinding away the old pavement to make way for a new path from the toll plaza to the new east span.

"So they need to grind a new path and create a level path on and off of the new bridge, and they're doing the same at the tunnel. So the work tonight is demolition and grinding," Gordon said.

After the bridge closed at 8 p.m., dump trucks started lining up to haul away the debris, and crews began grinding down the roadway so the new pavement and stripes can be laid down sometime between Friday and Sunday. By Tuesday, the new barriers will be installed and the bridge is expected to be open.

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