San Francisco’s Doyle Drive is closing for construction this weekend, and motorists are being told to steer clear of the area, as gridlock is expected on city streets.
With several major events planned in the city this weekend, including Giants home games at AT&T Park and a beer fest at Fort Mason, drivers are being asked to avoid the Golden Gate Bridge and instead use alternate routes, such as the Bay Bridge or the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.
Golden Gate Transit will run extra ferries this weekend.
The closure, scheduled from 8 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, will allow crews to demolish the existing Doyle Drive, which is seismically unsafe. On the southern end, the closure will begin at Marina Boulevard and Richardson Avenue near the Palace of Fine Arts.
After the closure, traffic will be transferred onto a temporary bypass that connects to a newly constructed southbound tunnel. The tunnel will accommodate traffic in both directions until 2015, when crews construct a northbound tunnel.
Traffic is expected to jam up over the weekend on Highway 1, which runs along Park Presidio and 19th Avenue.
“We’re encouraging people to avoid the area and to expect major delays because the 19th Avenue corridor just can’t handle the volume,” said Molly Graham, spokeswoman for the $1.1 billion replacement project.
Although open spaces near the project such as Crissy Field will remain open during the construction, Graham said, “it’s going to be very noisy … and not exactly a park-like setting.”
Starting Monday, the five-lane approach to the bridge will feature a movable barrier that will allow three lanes to be dedicated to the busiest direction of traffic, Graham said.
“It’ll be safer, with no more possibility of head-on collisions,” she said.
Graham said she expects that there will be delays during the first couple of weeks while drivers get used to the new configuration.
“It’s a really key milestone for the project,” she said. “It allows traffic to keep moving and the second half of the project to be built.”
Motorists and public transit users are encouraged to call 511 or visit www.511.org to find out current traffic conditions. More information on the project’s impacts on traffic is available at http://511.org/doyledrive/DoyleDrClosureApr2012/default.asp.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News