Bay-area bridge reopens in time
Steel link replaced after inspection
SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge reopened yesterday just in time for the start of the work week after transit officials hastily announced that crews were able to make a crucial repair a day ahead of schedule.
“Traffic seems to be flowing smoothly,’’ California Department of Transportation spokesman Bart Ney said after the bridge reopened just before 7 a.m. “I think it’s still a surprise.’’
Crews discovered a crack Saturday while conducting seismic upgrades on the 73-year-old bridge.
The bridge, which carries about 260,000 vehicles a day between San Francisco and heavily populated cities to its east, was closed over the Labor Day weekend so a football-field-sized, 3,300-ton section of the eastern span could be cut out and replaced with a new double-deck section.
The new section connects the bridge with a short detour that will be used until a new east span is completed by 2013. Crews used the opportunity to inspect the bridge and found a 2-inch-thick steel link cracked halfway through.
Ney said a contractor worked throughout Monday night to make a replacement part and complete the work. An inspection following the repair “went without a hitch,’’ he said.
“The bridge has been inspected, and it’s safer than it was when we closed it,’’ said Caltrans director Randy Iwasaki.
The bridge shut down Thursday night, and other bridges and public transportation systems were able to accommodate extra riders Friday.