UPDATE #1 (5 September 2009, 11:30 a.m.): We’ve also posted a Saturday update on the construction progress.
UPDATE #2 (5 September 2009, 11:00 p.m.): A crack is discovered on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, separate from the construction work being carried out this weekend. The planned Tuesday 5:00 a.m. reopening of the bridge may be postponed.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: that time in which Bay Bridge construction necessitates that this critical workhorse link in the Bay Area’s roadway network be completely closed for the long Labor Day weekend. This year, we get the added bonus of the bridge being closed for all of Friday, September 4. The bridge will close at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 3 and will reopen by 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8. During this period of of time, a critical piece of construction activity for the new eastern span will take place: a 300-foot section of the double-decker bridge (pictured below in orange) will be removed — and then replaced by a new double-decker “tie-in” section that will detour motorists from the bridge to the tunnel on Yerba Buena Island. This will allow Caltrans to later demolish the segment of the existing eastern span immediately adjacent to the detour:
Bay Bridge Closure 2009. Courtesy of Caltrans.
We’ve been hearing about this planned closure for weeks and months, and with this important transportation link to be closed both on Friday and the long weekend, motorists are of course encouraged to ditch traffic, avoid the freeways, and take transit instead. The Bay Bridge closures remind us how valuable our transit systems are to the region’s mobility and vitality, and they also remind drivers that they can indeed get around the Bay Area without their cars. BART is set to run 24 hours a day once more, although with limited overnight service — so Bay Area residents can, for just this long weekend, suspend (or at least relax) their envy of New York City’s subway system that never sleeps. When the Bay Bridge closed in 2007, BART set new system ridership records. BART ridership has declined this year because of the poor state of the economy; but it will nonetheless be interesting to see how many people choose to ride BART this weekend, particularly the overnight service. More info on transit service changes after the jump.
BART will run 24 hours a day for four days, including overnight service on Friday, September 4 through Monday, September 7. Overnight, trains will run only once per hour, serving fourteen stations: 12th St/Oakland City Center, Bay Fair, Berkeley, Coliseum, Concord, Dublin/Pleasanton, El Cerrito del Norte, MacArthur, Walnut Creek, Embarcadero, Powell, 24th St/Mission, Daly City, and SFO International Airport. On September 7, trains will run on a Saturday schedule. Keep in mind that even though the Bay Bridge will be closed until about 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8, BART will not operate in the early morning hours Tuesday. Click here for the schedule of additional overnight runs.
A quick rundown on the state of some other transit service during the Bay Bridge closure:
- AC Transit will operate truncated transbay bus service while the bridge is closed. Service will operate on the usual schedule: but transbay routes will feed into one of four BART stations (Coliseum, MacArthur, North Berkeley, or West Oakland). Riders will have to pay both AC Transit and BART fare in the westbound direction, but grab a BART-to-Bus transfer for a discount on the eastbound trip. The 800 all-nighter route will also operate on the usual schedule, connecting to 12th Street Station. For eastbound bus commuters: AC Transit reports that even though the Bay Bridge officially closes at 8:00 pm on September 3, the last transbay bus departing the Transbay Terminal that day will be the 8:20 p.m. run on Line H.
- Amtrak: San Francisco-bound passengers transfer to BART from the Capitol Corridor or San Joaquin at Richmond Station.
- Caltrans Bicycle Shuttle: The Caltrans bicycle shuttle across the Bay Bridge will offer special weekend service via the Golden Gate and Richmond-San Rafael bridges.
- Ferries: The Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry does not operate on weekends or on Labor Day, but will run additional service (PDF) on September 4 only. Meanwhile, the Alameda/Oakland, Golden Gate, and Vallejo Baylink ferries will all operate regular service on September 4, and all three will also offer extra service September 5, 6, and 7. Click the links to see the enhanced ferry schedules: Alameda/Oakland (PDF); Golden Gate (PDF); Vallejo Baylink (PDF).
- Greyhound: Riders bound for San Francisco can transfer to BART at 19th St/Oakland station.
- Muni will run the 108-Treasure Island bus 24 hours per day, as usual.
- WestCAT Lynx (transbay) service will be suspended on September 4 and 7. On September 4, Lynx riders can use a shuttle route (PDF) between Willow Avenue and Hercules Transit Center to connect to El Cerrito del Norte BART.
Enjoy the 24-hour BART service, and have a great long weekend! My apologies for the nonexistent posting over the past couple of weeks. There are several posts in the pipeline, but I have just been really busy lately. The pace here will pick up again when the air clears a bit. Thanks for your patience.