Caltrans officials will consider at noon today whether to open the eastern span of the Bay Bridge before its scheduled debut at 5 a.m. Tuesday, a bridge spokesman said this morning.
The state public transit agency, which is putting finishing touches such as lane painting on the 2.2-mile span, will assess at noon how close they are to completing the project, bridge spokesman Andrew Gordon said at a news conference in Oakland.
A decision could be made about an earlier opening by 3 p.m. today, when dignitaries including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee are to attend a private opening ceremony and cut a golden chain to celebrate the bridge’s completion, Gordon said.
But as of this morning, Caltrans officials were still looking at opening the bridge at 5 a.m. Tuesday, Gordon said.
The California Highway Patrol will deploy officers on the bridge once it opens to make sure motorists are following the 50 mph speed limit and are not pulling over to look at the bridge, Officer Daniel Hill said.
After the bridge does open, CHP officers in patrol cars will be blocking lanes in front of traffic to keep auto speed “nice and low,” Hill said.
CHP officers want to make sure that drivers do not succumb to the temptation of stopping to view the new bridge while driving on it and anyone who blocks traffic will be cited, Hill said.
“The opening may come as a surprise for the motoring public,” Hill said.