Oakland, CA, United States (4E) – The new east span of the Bay Bridge on San Francisco Bay opened to traffic on Monday night after a two-hour dedication ceremony led by city officials and politicians.
The Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) removed barricades at on-ramps and interchanges leading to the new span around 10:15 p.m. On Tuesday afternoon, the 15½ -foot wide bike and pedestrian path along the edge of the bridge was opened.
The Bay Bridge was closed since Wednesday as workers prepared the transition from the old to the new span built for 24 years at a cost of $6.4 billion.
Half an hour from its opening, traffic crawled towards the toll plaza. On Tuesday, CHP issued the first traffic violation ticket to a motorcyclist who drove 20 mph more than the 50 mph limit. The first traffic arrest was at 2:15 a.m. involving a woman driver suspected of DUI while the first crash happened at 11 a.m. when three cars collided injuring one person.
Earlier, the dedication ceremony held at a refurbished Caltrans warehouse was attended by 1,000 dignitaries and guests.
Among the speakers were Amy Rein Worth, chairwoman of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Steve Heminger, executive director of MTC, and Mike Flowers, chief executive officer of American Bridge Co., the lead contractor. Worth said the new span was made of steel, concrete and pride.
Flowers said foreign workers also helped build the bridge. Heminger said the structure is a seismic safety project, referring to the feature of the bridge to withstand strong earthquakes.
After the speeches, the crowd walked to the toll plaza across the eastbound lanes to witnsess Lt. Gov. and former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom burn a length of chain held up by other dignitaries with a cutting torch.