Caltrans to close westbound San Mateo Bridge lanes

Starting Tuesday traffic headaches will begin for people who use the San Mateo Bridge as the three-lane roadway narrows down to one so Caltrans crews can work. 

Every day thousands of people heading to and from the peninsula cross the bridge.  The structure has been around for nearly five decades. After many years of wear and tear, Caltrans says it’s time to make some repairs. 

"It opened up in 1967 so it means it's 49 years old. Usually right around the 50 year mark, give or take a couple of years, that's when we usually have the issues like this," says Caltrans Spokesman Bob Haus. 

Last month Caltrans discovered a three-foot wide hole which you could see all the way through to the Bay on the westbound deck just east of the elevated section. Engineers knew that leaving this would be dangerous. 

"This is not something we can fix with a Band Aid approach. We would have to have a serious repair project. They put a metal plate over it," says Haus. 

Engineers used a temporary fix by installing a metal plate to cover the hole, but now crews say it’s time to make a permanent fix.

To remedy the problem Caltrans will close two westbound lanes of the San Mateo Bridge for prep work.  Those preparations will run from Tuesday through Friday. There will only be one lane open heading westbound from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m.

"It would be nice if they did it after hours because it’s one of the major commutes here. Even with all lanes open, it’s a really big deal," says San Mateo resident Janeen Ligrace. 

"The lane closures are put at a time that is the least inconvenient. But also getting out there as quickly as possible to make sure this problem is corrected," says Haus. 

Come Saturday engineers will begin the repair work. This will also leave one westbound lane open from 7 p.m. and all lanes will reopen 9 a.m.