San Mateo Bridge to close for two weekends in October

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerThe San Mateo-Hayward Bridge will be be closed in October to fix a cracked beam on the span's trellis section.

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerThe San Mateo-Hayward Bridge will be be closed in October to fix a cracked beam on the span's trellis section.

The San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, which carries more than 16 million motorists each year, will be completely shut down to automobile traffic for two weekends next month.

Although the dates haven’t been finalized yet, the bridge — which is part of state Highway 92 — will likely be closed during the weekends of Oct. 19 and 26, according to John Goodwin, spokesman for the Bay Area Toll Authority, a regional body in charge of seven local spans. The closures are expected to take place from about 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for both weekends, Goodwin said.

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Shutting down the bridge is necessary so crews can devise a permanent fix to a cracked beam on the span’s trellis section. The section was originally retrofitted in 2000 at a cost of $163 million, but during a regularly scheduled review in 2010, inspectors noticed a flaw in the wishbone-shaped beam. A crack was found under the westbound lanes of the span, on the transition section that reaches up to the bridge’s high-rise structure, Goodwin said.

For the past two years, a set of steel plates have been attached to the beam as a temporary solution, but a long-term fix is now necessary, Goodwin said. Original repair costs were projected to be $8 million, but bids for the work came in at just $3 million, which will be paid with regional toll dollars.

With 16.2 million motorists crossing every year, the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge is the fourth-busiest bridge managed by the authority. AC Transit’s Line M, which runs over the bridge, will have to be rerouted during the construction work. The authority will release recommended detour routes for motorists in the upcoming weeks, Goodwin said.

The bridge closure will mark the third time this year that a local span has been shut down to automobile traffic. The Bay Bridge was shut down for two days during the Presidents Day weekend in February, and the Dumbarton Bridge was closed for nearly three days over the Labor Day weekend earlier this month.

Both spans reopened ahead of schedule, with the Bay Bridge opening 34 hours early and the Dumbarton Bridge nine hours early. Bridge officials say the multiday closures help save weeks of work that would normally have to be carried out during late-night hours.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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