SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Cars will start rolling across the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge during Labor Day weekend in 2013, Caltrans officials said Wednesday.

The closure next weekend could be one of several before the big ribbon cutting ceremony, which will come nearly 24 years after the Loma Prieta earthquake that collapsed a portion of the existing upper deck.

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KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

“We’re going to have to take the existing bridge out of service, both eastbound and westbound, in order to tie in the new Bay Bridge,” said Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney, probably 3 or 4 days before the new bridge opens.

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Besides those tie-ins at Yerba Buena Island, crews have a lot of work to do over the next 19 months completing the eastern span itself and building the touchdown into Oakland, Ney said.

“We have a number of massive challenges to get through, but we believe that we can,” he said.

The upcoming closure of the upper deck on Presidents Day Weekend goes from 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17 until 5 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21.

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