SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP / BCN) — The opening date for the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, which initially had been set for Labor Day and then was pushed back to December or later, will be announced on Thursday, state transportation officials said Tuesday.
State Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee members said they will set the new opening date in the wake of a report by the Federal Highway Administration that says making a temporary fix to bolt problems on the new span will make it safe for traffic and it should be put in place as quickly as possible.
In a letter, the Federal Highway Administration said it was “impressed” with the level of expertise used to come up with the temporary fix and saw no reason to delay opening the bridge to traffic before long-term repairs are finished. The letter, signed by FHA Division Administrator Vincent Mammano, is dated Aug. 9 and is addressed to Steve Heminger, head of the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee.
“We’re happy to hear this,” said Randy Rentschler, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, one of the three agencies that would have to sign off on the temporary fix. “This is meaningful new information, and it will be duly considered.”
Rentschler said he was not sure when a final decision will be made. The MTC, California Department of Transportation and California Transportation Commission were scheduled to discuss the federal findings on Tuesday.