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East Span of Bay Bridge opens hours early

on September 3, 2013

The new east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened late Monday night, more than seven hours ahead of schedule.

The 77-year-old bridge had been closed since Wednesday for construction. The new addition replaces a part of the bridge that was damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Further seismic retrofitting will be completed by December.

The total construction time for the bridge comes to 11 years. The total cost was $6.4 billion. These figures are much higher than original plans. When officials first announced construction, they estimated it would take four years and $1.4 billion.

News vans and curious drivers began lining up near the toll plaza Monday night in preparation for the official opening. A little after 10 p.m., the first cars rolled through the gates and crossed the bridge.

By 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, it was business as usual, with the normal crowd of morning commuters lining up at the toll plaza.

Check out the video for a glimpse of the panoramic views from the new span.

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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