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Bay Bridge Opening Delayed Until at Least December

| July 8, 2013
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The Bay Bridge’s troubled eastern span won’t open until December at the earliest.

A view of the underside of the eastern side of the new Bay Bridge on March 27. Bolts can be seen in a rectangular formation in the center of the photo. Thirty-two steel rods on the new eastern span have snapped. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

A view of the underside of the eastern side of the new Bay Bridge on March 27. Bolts can be seen in a rectangular formation in the center of the photo. Thirty-two steel rods on the new eastern span have snapped. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

The Bay Area Toll Authority’s executive director, Steve Heminger, said the authority is abandoning its goal of opening the new bridge by Labor Day. He said it will take several more months to install a steel saddle that will secure the span of the new bridge where bolts snapped in March. “You might look at it as our belt broke  and we are putting on suspenders,” he told reporters. “And we need to get the suspenders fabricated and installed.”

Once the retrofitting is finished, Bay Bridge traffic will need to be shut down for four days to complete construction. The initial goal had been to complete that work over Labor Day weekend. The new  mid-December time frame makes that work much more complicated, Heminger said, because of increased rainfall.

“We will have to work … with a really good meteorologist,” he said, “so we try to pick a patch of dry weather to get the new east span open to traffic.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s press release warns that the final construction phase “may or may not coincide with a Monday holiday weekend and may involve shorter advance notice to the public than prior closures.”

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About the Author ()

Sacramento bureau chief Scott Detrow covers state government, politics and policy for KQED News and its statewide news program, The California Report. Before joining KQED, Scott reported on Pennsylvania's natural gas drilling boom for NPR's StateImpact project. Reach Scott Detrow at sdetrow@kqed.org.

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