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California Briefing / San Francisco

Bay bridge reopens after repair

September 09, 2009|Ruben Vives

Transit officials reopened the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge early Tuesday after completing a new half-mile detour that connects the East Span to the Yerba Buena Tunnel and repairing a crack on the bridge.

The 73-year-old bridge was closed from Thursday through Labor Day weekend so crews could remove a 300-foot section near Yerba Buena Island and replace it with a new double-deck section as part of a long-planned seismic upgrade.

But on Saturday, crews inspecting the bridge discovered a 2-inch-thick steel I-bar had cracked halfway through, said California Department of Transportation spokesman Bart Ney.

The crack caused officials to mobilize additional contractors and materials and to assign repair crews.

The last time the bridge was closed was in October 1989, when it was damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake. Ney said the bridge was closed for a month that year.

The bridge, which carries up to 280,000 vehicles a day, consists of two bridge segments: a cantilever portion between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island, and a suspension span from the island to San Francisco, according to the Bay Area Toll Authority and California Department of Transportation.

-- Ruben Vives

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