Bay Bridge detour to go into place starting Memorial Day weekend 

Motorists leaving the Bay Bridge for Oakland will have to deal with a slight detour, but the construction project is expected to speed up the long-awaited completion of the span’s rebuild.

Starting on Memorial Day weekend, construction crews will begin work on building new traffic lanes on the span, a procedure that will require a different route for eastbound drivers exiting off the bridge.

The detour will occur just west of the Bay Bridge toll plazas, and will allow construction work to be carried out on a 1,000-foot-long stretch of the bridge referred to as the Oakland touchdown. Without the detour, eastbound motorists would have spent an extra six months driving on the old span.

Eastbound motorists will be funneled slightly right into the detour just as they emerge from the double-decker portion of the bridge. Westbound drivers will not be affected by the changes during Memorial Day weekend. The construction will take place between the existing Bay Bridge and the new replacement structure.

Along with the eastbound detour, several lanes will be closed for the construction work during Memorial Day weekend. Motorists going from the San Francisco to the East Bay will notice several road closures between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29.

Unlike the situation for the Bay Bridge’s S-curve project — a curvy replacement slab that connects the span to Yerba Buena Island — the latest detour will not require a drop in the speed limit.

While eastbound motorists will begin dealing with the detours by the end of May, the construction work won’t immediately effect drivers heading to San Francisco from the East Bay. However, starting next year, westbound motorists will be detoured around the construction site.

The Bay Bridge replacement and rehabilitation project, designed to make the span more seismically stable, is slated to be finished in 2013. Roughly 280,000 motorists travel over the bridge each day.

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Will Reisman

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