Travel Tips

Bay Bridge Closure Wreaks Havoc on Bay Area Commutes

Locations in this article:  San Francisco, CA

Bay BridgeThe Bay Bridge has been closed indefinitely following the collapse of a few support braces, causing maddening morning commutes to San Francisco.

Caltrans officials shut down the bridge Tuesday night after two steel rods and a crossbeam snapped, striking three vehicles.

What is the city doing to ease traffic as all these motorists scramble to find alternate routes? And what was behind this collapse?

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is the busiest bridge in the Bay Area, carrying an average of 280,000 vehicles per day according to the California Transportation Department. Links:

San Francisco Bay BridgeOver Labor Day weekend, crews noticed and fixed a dangerous defect in a structural beam supporting the eastern span of the 73-year-old bridge. The pieces of the span that snapped on Tuesday were located in the same area as the Labor Day weekend repair.

During the Bay Bridge closure, traffic is being diverted to other bridges, causing huge jams as motorists jostle to adjust their commutes. To ease congestion, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officials say they will run longer trains and increase service during rush hour. The last time the Bay Bridge was closed, BART reported a near-record number of riders, so passengers can expect rush hour rides to be awfully cozy in the coming days. The city also plans to deploy a number of high speed ferries.

Nobody was injured when the span segments collapsed and struck three vehicles. Gusty winds in the Bay Area have delayed repair efforts.

Caltrans engineers say there are enough structural safeguards in place to prevent the bridge from collapsing while crews inspect and repair the damage.

By Dan Bence for

Related Links: CNN, San Francisco Chronicle

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