Around 280,000 cars cross the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge each day—over twice the number that use the Brooklyn Bridge. Without the Bay Bridge, there is no way to drive from the East Bay to San Francisco. That is unless you plan on taking the scenic route through Marin County or down across the Dumbarton or San Mateo Bridges, doubling the journey to several hours in some cases. Unfortunately, these will be the only options this Labor Day weekend when the Bay Bridge shuts down tonight at 8 p.m. through 5 a.m. Tuesday, September 8 as part of an extensive seismic retrofitting project that includes rebuilding the entire eastern span of the bridge.
Since the Bay Bridge was completed in 1936, it has only been closed a few times. This happened most notably in 1989, when a 250-ton section of the eastern span’s upper deck came crashing down during the 7.1-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake (stranding my dad, among many others, at game three of the World Series between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants).
Having spent countless hours waiting in Bay Area traffic jams growing up in the East Bay, my advice is to leave the car at home this weekend and take BART, which is operating on a specical 24-hour schedule during this time. For other transit alternatives during the bridge’s closure, visit SfGate.com.
Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.