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Gov. Brown Signals Official Countdown To Opening Of New Bay Bridge

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Governor Jerry Brown prepares to start the countdown clock to the opening of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. (CBS)

Governor Jerry Brown prepares to start the countdown clock to the opening of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. (CBS)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) — Let the countdown begin to the opening of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

It’s set to open the Tuesday after Labor Day 2013.

Gov. Jerry Brown was atop the new deck, along with KCBS’ Stan Bunger and KPIX 5’s Ken Bastida Sunday night, to kick off the final months before the span opens.

“I’m sure glad we’re finally here, it’s been a long time to get this darn thing done,” Brown declared.

Brown, during his tenure as Mayor of Oakland, is considered instrumental in pressing for the now-signature suspension tower design.

“Someone told me it looks like a freeway on stilts,” he said. “But it’s a pretty darn good looking freeway now that I look at it, and it’s pointing to Oakland.”

“What I like about it is it’s coming from the Island of Yerba Buena to the mainland, it’s a connection. Bridges connect people and that’s a lot of our work going forward, let’s get better connected,” he continued.

Of course, the East Bay is one of America’s cycling hotbeds, and when the new eastern span opens in a few months, it could become a destination for bike riders, in particular. That’s because the new portion of the span will have a bikeway.

“I’m sure it’s going to be packed just like the Golden Gate Bridge is, even on a weekday the Golden Gate Bridge is like the Bayshore Freeway,” said one man just dying to get his bike on the new Bay Bridge.

Ccyclists will be making their bridge trek on a state of the art path separated from and elevated above the lanes of eastbound traffic. There will be turnouts where cyclists can sit and soak in the view, out of the way of other cyclists.

However, there’s still much more to be done before cyclists can ride from the East Bay all the way to San Francisco. The bikeway that’s opening this year won’t extend into San Francisco.

The bridge crew, though, is said to be studying ways to extend the bikeway all the way; the study is said to come at a cost of well over $1 million.

KCBS and CBS 5 are media sponsors of the Bay Bridge opening, and will be covering the grand opening on Sept. 3, 2013.

“We’re going to have a bicycle race, running, walking, I don’t know how many tens or hundreds or thousands of people,” Gov. Brown enthused. “Look, it was big in 1936 when we were in a Depression, it ought to be just as big this time.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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