By Bay City News Service
The Dumbarton Bridge will be opened early and there is a strong possibility it will be opened prior to midnight tonight, "substantially beating" the projected time on Tuesday morning, a project spokeswoman said.
"We can confidently say we're going to open early," Dumbarton Bridge Seismic Safety Project spokeswoman Effie Milionis Verducci said.
The Dumbarton Bridge, which was originally slated to reopen at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, has been closed since late Friday night and underwent construction to bring the bridge up to seismic code, Verducci said.
A major part of the project was the addition of a state-of-the-art seismic joint on the eastern side of the main deck, which will replace the old one, Verducci said.
This joint will raise the deck five inches and allow it to move 42 inches — 22 inches more than the old joint allowed — in the event of a seismic event, she said.
The main elements of the joint have been completed, Verducci said, but they still need to add an elastomeric concrete layer, which should absorb the impact of joint opening up.
New barriers are also being installed. This portion of the seismic retrofit will leave 10 percent remaining which is expected to be completed in early 2013, Verducci said. The retrofit will increase the bridge's flexibility and stability in the event of a major earthquake, she said.
Additionally, the carpool lane on the approach to the westbound toll plaza will be used as an additional FastTrack lane only during non-carpool hours beginning Tuesday morning, Verducci said.
Signs along the highway have been altered to match this change.