OAKLAND (KCBS) – Starting Friday night, Caltrans will close lanes on the upper deck of the Bay Bridge so it can replace deteriorating expansion joints.

It was in October when traffic was snarled on the span due to metal plates that were implemented to secure the area. The problem was that motorists would drive over the first plate, and then slow down significantly as they approached the second one.

The project was suspended the next week and the metal plates were removed, as Caltrans officials looked for a better way to replace the six deteriorating joints in the upper deck of the western span of the Bay Bridge, located between Spear and Beale streets.

Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said now, they will use rapid set concrete, that doesn’t require steel plates. But the question – why didn’t they do this in the first place?

“The problem is that rapid setting concrete is more expensive and by working six days a week instead of five, you’re adding to the overall cost of the project,” Haus said. “Rapid setting concrete is a little trickier to work with than just regular concrete.”

It cures in just two hours.

Haus said the work will begin at 8:00 p.m. each night except on Sundays and be done by 5:00 a.m. on weekdays. But it will take 60 nights and cost an extra $1 million.  But Caltrans figures that is a lot less than the cost of tying up traffic around the clock.

Caltrans said anywhere from one to four lanes will be closed as the work is being completed. At least one lane of the bridge will be open at all times.

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