SFBayBridge.jpgCaltrans unveiled a bevy of new tools today to help motorists navigate a new Bay Bridge realignment that will be put into place over Memorial Day weekend.

Motorists heading into Oakland will be confronted with a new, wider curve as early as Sunday, May 29, if crews finish on schedule, Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said.

Caltrans has partnered with 3D software company Autodesk to create free iPad, iPod and iPhone applications to let motorists familiarize themselves with the new curve ahead of time, Ney said.

The applications simulate the new eastern span and let users practice driving it.

Motorists can also use a larger-scale driving simulator at Autodesk’s exhibit space during public viewing hours on Wednesday afternoons.

The agency has also revamped its Bay Bridge seismic safety project website, www.baybridgeinfo.org, to include detailed renderings of current and future projects.

“Anytime we put in alignment changes, it always takes motorists a few days to get used to it,” Ney said.

The new Oakland touchdown curve will be wider and easier to drive than the current configuration, meaning speed limits will not need to be reduced, Ney said.

Still, officials are putting extra effort into avoiding the escalation in traffic accidents that accompanied the S-curve realignment in 2009.

The realignments are part of a multi-year seismic upgrade project that is now scheduled to be completed in late 2013.

Select lanes on the eastern span will be closed on Memorial Day weekend from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29.

Janna Brancolini, Bay City News

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