Bay Bridge Closure Begins Tonight

SAN FRANCISCO A section of the bridge that leads into and out of the tunnel on Treasure Island will be replaced. It's been in business for 70 years and it's wrapping up service today.

The section that's being replace is 300 feet, about the size of a football field and it will be cut, lifted and rolled down out of the way and then the new piece of bridge will be rolled into place.

Bay Bridge officials say they are more than ready to remove and then replace a football field length of bay bridge. For the quarter million commuters who use this bridge every day, it means four days without the bridge and then four years of living with the changes.

"There is going to be a new curve, where you never expected it before, right before the Yerba Buena Tunnel, so it will be slower. We are actually reducing speeds on the bridge from 50 mph to 40 mph in this area," said Bart Ney from Caltrans.

The other thing that will happen is that commuters will get a plan b. At the Lakeshore casual carpool in Oakland, commuters already had one.

"I commute to San Francisco City College, so I just normally either take this or walk to the 19th Street and jump on BART and go right to City College, so it's not that big of a deal," said commuter Tannis Reinhertz.

"My work is at a software company, so they allow us to telecommute if that's the necessity, so I think I am going to wind up convincing them that this is a necessity," said commuter Mark Rausa.

"I am going to Sonoma for the weekend, and it just seemed like a nice way to deal with it," said commuter Todd Gage.

BART said it will use longer trains and will operate around the clock at some stations to accommodate the crowds.

"If you are going to use the trains over night, make sure that you get dropped off at a station during the day that is going to be open overnight. There are only 14 of them open overnight and we are going to have hourly service, so make sure you go to to get a list of those 14 stations, if you don't want to get stranded overnight," said BART spokesperson Linton Johnson.

The bridge will re-open next week on Tuesday morning.

"Tuesday at 5:00 a.m. is the absolute latest that we are looking up, because the traffic really picks up after Labor Day Weekend and one the reasons why we choose Labor Day Weekend is because commutes are low, but that morning it picks back up for the fall. So we want to be done by then," said Ney.

In 2013, the $5.7 billion seismic upgrade and replacement on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge will be done and until then, according to Bay Bridge officials, we are being advised to be patient and slow down.

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