SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The brand-new, seismically-safe eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was open for the first workday commute Tuesday and the California Highway Patrol reported things went fairly smoothly for the morning drive.

The first accident on the new span happened around 11:30 a.m. on the westbound Incline. It was quickly cleared to the shoulder, which would not have been possible on the shoulder-less cantilever section of the old bridge.

No other collisions were reported, despite many motorists craning their necks to gaze up at the new white tower as they passed beneath the cascade of cables streaming down to the deck.

While many people were taking photos and videos to document their first trips across the span, CHP Officer Sam Morgan recommended that drivers keep their eyes on the road and passengers keep their arms inside cars while acting as videographers.

Another option is to walk out onto the new pedestrian path and take photos or video from there, Morgan said. The new span’s bicycle and pedestrian walkway also opened around midday Tuesday.

He said one motorist illegally pulled over near Yerba Buena Island in a Caltrans-only area to take pictures of the bridge’s old eastern span Tuesday morning, Morgan said.

The man was given a verbal warning and told to keep moving.

Morgan said there was also a DUI arrest on the bridge near the toll plaza in the eastbound direction around 2 a.m.

Other than that, he said no problems were reported.

Jennifer Capps, a data analyst who crossed the bridge into San Francisco from the East Bay Tuesday morning as part of her commute, said the new span is “cleaner” than the old span.

Jim Morrisroe, CEO of San Francisco-based Piston Cloud Computing, tweeted “The new Bay Bridge was pleasant today! But, I’m not sure I got my full $6.4 billion worth yet.”

The Golden State Warriors tweeted “Congrats to all involved in the opening the new span of the .BayBridge We’re obviously big fans.”

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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