Caltrans says Labor Day is ‘perfect weekend’ for bridge closure

Traffic volume across the Bay Bridge during Labor Day weekend is typically lower than it is in other weekends, officials said Wednesday, defending the decision to shut down the lower deck of the bridge.

“It may seem a bit counterintuitive, but we’re convinced that Labor Day weekend is the perfect weekend,” Caltrans project engineer Ken Terpstra said.

The eastbound deck will be closed the entire three-day weekend — from 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1 until 5 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Subsequent weeks in September and October have major public events planed — including Fleet Week, the Bridge-to-Bridge Run and sporting events — that likely will bring more people into The City.

Caltrans officials have said they hope public outreach about the plan will not discourage out-of-towners from coming to The City but will encourage them to use public transportation, which will run throughout the weekend, including at night on a limited basis.

Due to seismic safety work, a 1,000-foot portion of the upper deck — from Beale Street to the Clock tower building — will be demolished. Westbound traffic will be able to use four open lanes, but the eastbound lower deck will be closed during the work.

Part of a $429 million effort to retrofit the bridge and bring it up to earthquake standards, the Labor Day weekend work is an effort to trim time and money by doing three days of work in one holiday weekend instead of during two regular weekends, Caltrans officials said.

BART will run overnight service to select stations, including SFO, Daly City, 24th Street, 12th Street, Powell, Embarcadero, MacArthur, Berkeley, Walnut Creek and Oakland Airport. Muni’s 108-Treasure Island will be given limited access to the lower deck to transport passengers to Treasure Island on a modified schedule.

beslinger@examiner.com

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