OAKLAND (KCBS) — After the Labor Day opening of Bay Bridge, a new commute traffic pattern has emerged, involving earlier and later backups getting to the new eastern span.

Caltrans said the westbound flow across the bridge isn’t functioning as efficiently with 7,200 vehicles an hour passing through the new span on Wednesday compared to the average of 9,000 on the old span.

Experts claim there are many reasons for the backups: There’s the learning curve of people getting used to the new lane configurations, FasTrak striping that starts sooner, more gawking at the views, slower speeds, earlier metering lights and post-Labor Day back-to-school drivers.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Sam Morgan said it’s not a capacity issue but people driving too slow on the new span—about 45 miles per hour. He said however that the situation may not settle into a routine for several weeks.

“That’s hard to predict because we didn’t predict that we would have these kinds of backups. Predicting traffic flow can be a crap shoot at best because you never know what the motorists—what they need to do, where they are going, They may have a special event that they are seeing,” he said.

Morgan said that football season paired with the end of baseball season will prove to be a good
indicator of how traffic patterns may settle.

He also acknowledged that the eastbound traffic backups lasting up until 9 and 10 p.m. have been unusual but said that there were also three to four stalls on lower deck on Wednesday that added to the delays.

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