Caltrans says Labor Day ‘perfect weekend’ for bridge closure; BART will run all night

Traffic volume across the Bay Bridge during Labor Day weekend is typically lower than other weekends, officials said Wednesday, in 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 shut down for the entire three-day weekend — from 11:59 p.m. Friday night on Sept. 1, until 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, Sept. 5.

Saturday and Sunday traffic volumes on Labor Day weekend are typically lower than on other weekends, according to officials. Additionally, the subsequent weeks in September and October have major public events planed — including Fleet Week, the Bridge-to-Bridge Run and sporting events — that would usually bring more people into The City for those weekends.

Optimistically, Caltrans officials have said they hope public outreach about the plan will not discourage out-of-towners from coming into The City, but will encourage them to make plans to use public transportation that weekend, which will be up and running throughout the weekend, including nights on a limited basis.

Due to seismic safety work, a 1,000-foot-long portion of the upper deck coming off the bridge — from Beale Street to the Clock Tower building — will be demolished. Although westbound traffic will still be able to go through via four open lanes, the deck below, which heads eastward, will be closed during the work to ensure public safety.

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

Through that weekend, BART will be running overnight service from and to select stations, including SFO, Daly City, 24th Street, 12th Street, Powell, Embarcadero, MacArthur, Berkeley, Walnut Creek and Oakland Airport. Additionally, Muni’s 108-Treasure Island line 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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