Labor Day weekend holds traffic joys for California drivers

August 23, 2007 12:29pm

•  Bay Bridge to close; Pit River Bridge restricted

•  Plan accordingly and bring some snacks, advises Caltrans

Two of the major bridges in the Western United States will be closed or have traffic severely restricted over the Labor Day Weekend, according to the California Department of Transportation.

Traffic backups and motorist confusion are predicted.

The Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge, the busiest bridge west of the Mississippi, will be closed in both directions – upper and lower decks – from 8:00 p.m., Friday, Aug. 31 to 5:00 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 4.

The bridge is being rebuilt and partially replaced to make it more earthquake-proof.

Caltrans says the closure is to complete specific seismic safety work on a section of the bridge slightly east of Yerba Buena Island.

BART and some of the Bay Area ferry services plan additional service over the weekend. Motorists are advised to plan accordingly.

Motorists traveling on Interstate 5 should to prepare for delays on the Pit River Bridge, 10 miles north of Redding, during the Labor Day weekend.

Emergency deck replacement that began in July 2006 continues and contractors have repaired nearly two-thirds of the bridge deck, Caltrans says.

The construction has required reducing traffic to one lane in each direction and lowering the speed limit to 45 mph.

Higher than normal vehicle traffic during the Labor Day weekend will create “moderate to major delays” northbound on Friday and southbound on Sunday and Monday, with the longest delays of two hours or more expected on Monday, Sept. 2, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., according to Caltrans.

The California Highway Patrol will be enforcing speed limits and a service patrol contractor will be available to keep traffic flowing.

Caltrans says travelers should bring along plenty of drinking water, snacks and “something to occupy any children traveling with you.”

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