Doyle Drive closure continues through weekend

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Work is reportedly on track at the Doyle Drive closure, with reopening set for Monday 5 a.m.

Hundreds of workers are busy at the site, which is reaching the end of a six year construction project.   

When the new Presidio Parkway opens, it will boast new divided roadways, and no more movable median barrier. New tunnels, shoulders and wider lanes will boost capacity, and ease congestion.

But before that, there are traffic impacts to cope with.

"I'm hot and tired, and I think my arms are about to fall off, " U.S. Parks Police Officer Eric Cole told KTVU as he entered his eleventh hour directing traffic on Lincoln Boulevard, as it climbs to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Drivers needed assistance snaking their way through the Presidio, and they were also jam-packed on 19th Avenue/Highway 1, the only two routes in and out of the city's northern waterfront for now.

"People are rightfully frustrated because there's a lot of traffic," added Cole, "but there were also a lot of warnings."

The advance notice was effective Friday morning. Marin commuters delayed departures and filled-up extra ferries. The inbound drive to the city was lighter than expected.    

But the evening commute was the opposite.

"Generally in the Bay Area, we've gotten really good at these road closures by staying away," project spokesperson Molly Graham told KTVU, "but now we've got a July weekend. There's a lot going on, and a lot of tourists, we expect delays."

Parking lots at both ends of the bridge will be closed all weekend to discourage sightseeing, but the span is always a magnet, and many tourists may not realize a major connector to the bridge is closed.

"We're from South St. Louis Missouri," two visitors told KTVU, crawling along in traffic on Lincoln Blvd, toward the Golden Gate Bridge. "This is horrible. It's taken us two hours to get across the city from the Bay Bridge!"

The new parkway replaces a highway built eighty years ago, unsafe in a quake and deadly due to head-on accidents.

"It's just going to be a much nicer experience for everybody," observed Howard Kahn, as he paused on his bicycle to watch the construction.

"I've been watching it since they tore the old one down," Kahn told KTVU, "I live in the neighborhood, been here thirty years. This is good to see."

Kahn is especially pleased that the parkway will no longer bisect the Presidio. The tunnels will be covered with ten acres of open space, stretching all the way to Chrissy Field.

That phase is set for next year, but no more closures will be needed.

"We've had a lot of thank you's," noted Officer Cole, still directing traffic, "appreciation for the fact that this is a big project and a lot of vehicles to move."

He was interrupted by a driver honking their horn.

"And some who are not so appreciative," he laughed. 

Even when the highway opens, there may be delays next week, as drivers adjust to changes.

For example the road used to bear left for the Marina District, now it will be an actual exit to the right.