Traffic moved slowly on the first day motorists drove on a revamped southern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, but there were no major incidents.
Construction crews worked throughout the weekend to demolish Doyle Drive, the 76-year-old structure that connects San Francisco’s Marina district with the Golden Gate Bridge. At 5 a.m. Monday, a temporary road, along with a new southbound tunnel and a bridge, were opened up as the main links to replace the torn-down highway.
While motorists dealt with slow-moving conditions — at one point traffic backed up past the state Highway 1 connecting road on the south side of the bridge — there were no major accidents during the morning commute, said Officer Eric Hohmeister of the California Highway Patrol. Traffic was at its worst between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., but ran smoothly for the most part after that, he said.
Hohmeister said much of the congestion was routine Monday morning traffic, but the slow conditions could also be attributed to motorists getting familiarized with the new design of the artery. He also said many drivers slowed down to glance at the rubble from the Doyle Drive demolition, which was visible from the rebuilt throughway.
Along with being mindful of the new layout of the roadway, which acts as U.S. Highway 101, traffic officials are urging motorists to watch their speeds during their commutes. Because the temporary bypass is part of an active construction zone, the speed limit on the span is 35 mph, a reduction from the 45 mph cap on the old Doyle Drive, Hohmeister said.
“We’ll be out there enforcing the speed limit and handing out tickets if we have to,” Hohmeister said. “There are still Caltrans workers in the area, so we have to ensure their safety.”
Doyle Drive was torn down as part of a $1.045 billion project to rebuild the southern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge. After the project’s completion, expected in 2015, motorists will travel over a new structure called the Presidio Parkway.