Friday, October 30, 2009

Bay Bridge ready for Friday commute?

Chances have increased slightly that the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will reopen in time for the Friday morning commute, transportation officials said Thursday evening.
Repairs on the span, a major artery in and out of San Francisco, California, could wrap up by 10 p.m. PT Thursday, according to the state transportation department.
On Tuesday, three days pieces of steel from the bridge fell onto its roadway, forcing its closure.
Crews working on the bridge are replacing four steel rods, one of which failed and caused two rods to fall onto the bridge's deck, California's secretary of business, transportation and housing said at a news conference.
Engineers also will make sure the rods are centered and will strengthen the welds to ensure stability, Dale Bonner added. Vibrations in the rods, affected by strong winds, caused the break.
The pieces that fell, which include a cross beam, came from a section that was repaired over Labor Day weekend, when crews worked almost round the clock to fix a crack.

The 73-year-old bridge spans the San Francisco Bay and carries an average of 280,000 vehicles daily, according to the state transportation department.
In the wake of the bridge's closing, commuters flocked to the Bay Area's rail system as an alternative.
On Wednesday, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) said it had carried the most passengers ever.
About 437,200 people took BART, about 26 percent more than on an average Wednesday, the agency said in a news release.
When the Bay Bridge does reopen, Bonner said, travelers should not worry about safety.
"The public need not fear that the bridge is going to fall down," he said. "There's no concern about that."
During the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, a 50-foot section of the bridge collapsed, killing one person and prompting efforts to make it quake-tolerant.

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