Drivers likely to face increased congestion as the Bay Bridge closes for Labor Day weekend

Danielle Chemtob

Students traveling around the Bay Area Thursday and Friday and over the Labor Day weekend can expect gridlock due to the Bay Bridge’s temporary closure for construction.

The Bay Bridge closed 8 p.m. Wednesday for maintenance work and to complete the construction of a new East Span, which is scheduled to open at 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Caltrans spokesperson Steve Williams said that although there is no way to tell exactly how much traffic commuters could face, the traffic on other bridges, including the Golden Gate, Richmond-San Rafael, and San Mateo bridges, will likely increase.

However, these bridges will try to make accommodations for increased traffic. “They’ll open up all the toll plazas and have all the toll-takers so that they can get more vehicles through,” Williams said.

The opening of the East Span will mark the completion of the new, more earthquake-safe Bay Bridge, which has been under construction for years.

Redwood students and teachers may find that the traffic due to the bridge’s closure will interfere with their daily commute to school late this week as well with any plans for the long weekend.

Anticipated heavy traffic situations southbound during the morning commute and northbound during the afternoon commute.

Sophomore Daphne Nhuch, who carpools to San Rafael for ballet after school, is concerned that the delays might make arriving on time an issue. “It is already hard for me to get to my after school activities on time due to regular school traffic, so additional traffic could be a major problem with me getting to where I need to be on time,” Nhuch said.

English teacher Emily Latourrette, who commutes to Redwood from San Francisco, is allotting time for increased traffic Thursday by leaving at the time she does on a normal day, despite not teaching a second period.

“I usually leave at 7 in the morning to get here at 7:30, and I would say that I am hoping to just do the same on Thursday and Friday and sort of seeing how it goes on Thursday when I have a little bit of wiggle room. I’m hoping that because it’s so early, I won’t hit a lot of traffic,” Latourrette said.

In order to avoid the congestion, drivers are encouraged to take public transportation or take alternate routes.

For information about current traffic conditions, visit 511.org