UPDATE (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.
After a snag on Friday afternoon, construction crews for the Bay Bridge were able to successfully remove the 300-foot, 3200-ton section of double-decker freeway from the existing bridge, easing it out of place at a rate of about 20 feet per hour. They are now prepping to insert the new section of roadway, which will connect the rest of the east span to the half-mile detour section of roadway that stands adjacent to the bridge. When it’s completed, the roadway will curve slightly south of the current alignment, necessitating that motorists reduce speed from 50 mph to 40 mph in free-flowing traffic.
An edited screenshot from the ABC 7 News live camera of the bridge, with the gap, as it stood at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday:
And a more high-quality shot courtesy of BayBridgeInfo, taken yesterday on-site:
The new 3600-ton section of bridge, hoisted 150 feet in the air, is awaiting its insertion into the bridge. Image taken early Saturday morning, courtesy of BayBridgeInfo:
And finally, the new section being inserted into place, courtesy of BayBridgeInfo:
You can also keep updated on the progress of bridge construction this weekend with BayBridgeInfo, which has been posting new videos, as well as with the ABC 7 News live camera, and the BayBridgeInfo Twitter account.
In related news, on the first day of bridge closure, BART experienced the second highest ridership in its history: 395,300 exits between 3:00 a.m. Friday and 3:00 a.m. Saturday. 215,200 of those trips were transbay trips. BART is asking riders who use the system during the bridge closure to complete a survey, which will also enter you in a drawing for money or free chocolate. BART’s Posterous blog will also be updated throughout the weekend.