Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bay Area Bridges--Good News / Bad News

Well, there are a lot of developments with Bay Area bridges, and I just had to weigh in. I've written about the bridges (and public transportation) before, and here is an update.

So the new Benicia Bridge opened this past weekend, and it is a wonderful thing! In addition to having an expanded capacity, the bridge features "open road tolling" allowing FasTrak users to glide on by at the speed limit with no slowing down. There are no toll booths to slalom through. Previously, when I took this bridge during the evening commute, there would be a traffic jam waiting to get across the bridge that could hold you up 15-20 minutes. We literally flew across the bridge yesterday at the height of rush hour. Heaven!

As the traffic reporter on the radio said as crossed the bridge, "Property values just went up in Benicia thanks to the new bridge!"

And, unless you've been living under a rock the last month, you probably already know that the Bay Bridge will be closed all of this Labor Day Weekend for retrofitting. Highway Patrol will start to close off access to the bridge by 8pm in both directions. It will not re-open until Tuesday at 5am.

So, how will you get around? BART will be running around the clock to its main stations, and the ferries will be expanding their services. Or, you can stay off the freeways, relax, and enjoy your community. Last year, when the Bay Bridge was closed in just one direction over Labor Day Weekend, there was a significant drop in traffic across the system and other bridges.

For more information on the Bay Bridge closure and other transportation options, please visit the Bay Bridge website.

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