Golden Gate Bridge Taking First-Ever Weekend Off

Bridge will be shut down as traffic median is installed
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2015 7:08 AM CST
Golden Gate Taking First Weekend Off in 77 Years
In this file photo from Nov. 15, 2006, the Golden Gate Bridge is shown in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge has apparently banked plenty of PTO hours over the last 77 years—and this weekend it's using 52 of them. Starting at midnight tonight and continuing through 4am Monday, the bridge will be closed to cars so that a movable median barrier can be installed along the 1.7-mile span to prevent head-on collisions, the AP reports. It's said to be the iconic bridge's longest shutdown ever and the first closure since the few hours it took off in 1987 for its 50th-anniversary celebration. Golden Gate Transit buses, pedestrians, emergency vehicles, and bicyclists will still be allowed, but officials suggest skipping a city visit if possible. "Stay at home," a bridge district spokeswoman tells the San Francisco Chronicle.

About 80,000 drivers cross into San Francisco over the Golden Gate on a typical weekend day, so if all those commuters decide to join the 60,000 drivers who use the nearby Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, "it's going to be a mess," says the bridge official. The $30 million concrete barrier will take the place of yellow plastic markers currently hand-placed by bridge workers to separate traffic going in opposite directions. Crews will be able to move the new barrier using two special "zipper trucks" to rework the bridge's six lanes as needed, depending on traffic. Officials hope the new system will cut down on head-on crashes: There have been 128 of them on the bridge, resulting in 16 deaths, since 1970, reports AP. (The bridge is also getting a steel safety net to prevent suicides.)

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