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Westbound Bay Bridge opens Sunday some two days ahead of Caltrans’ targeted schedule

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POSTED February 19, 2012 11:09 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Work has gone so smoothly on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge that the westbound direction of the bridge will be open Sunday night, well ahead of Tuesday morning’s expected opening, a Caltrans official said.

Crews started picking up cones around 7 p.m. Sunday, with traffic expected to begin moving over the upper deck, or the westbound lanes, around 8 p.m., Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said during a Sunday evening press briefing.

The roadway originally was not expected to be open until 5 a.m. Tuesday.

The upper deck, or westbound direction into San Francisco, was closed Friday night so crews could realign the roadway, put down new asphalt and do other work.

While the road was closed, crews were also doing what Ney described as “housekeeping work,” including painting, inspections and electrical work.

“It’s like a face-lift is being done to the Bay Bridge while we have it closed,” he said.

There were some concerns that if heavy rain moved into the area, the reopening would have been delayed, causing a nightmare of a commute into San Francisco on Tuesday morning.

A wet weather system was expected to arrive in the region late Sunday, but the skies were clear while crews worked on the structure over the weekend. While the road was closed, people using the Golden Gate Bridge to drive into San Francisco found weekend traffic heavier than usual.

Traffic over the Golden Gate from about 4 p.m. Saturday to 10 p.m. was a “slow crawl in both directions,” said Golden Gate Bridge District spokeswoman Mary Currie.

Traffic was also heavy Sunday, Currie said.

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