The second phase of a $25 million Third Street Bridge – more popularly known as “Lefty O’Doul Bridge” – rehabilitation project started last fall, with work expected to continue through early 2020, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Works (SFDPW).
Despite the bridge work, pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles, and kayaks still have access above and below the structure. Vehicle use on Terry A. Francois Boulevard between Third Street and the northeast corner is restricted to through traffic; bicyclists can employ a temporary two-way bicycle lane.
Drivers may have noticed closures of the two easternmost travel lanes. Remaining paths across the Third Street Bridge were reconfigured to include two north- and one southbound lane. New road striping, signage, and crash barriers were installed to transition drivers, bicycles, and pedestrians to the temporary configuration for the first work phase, said SFDPW spokesperson Coma Te.
A containment platform – a suspended scaffold system that hangs below the bridge deck to catch debris or paint and prevent it from dropping into the Bay – has been installed. The platform also serves as a walking surface for construction workers and inspectors to access the structure’s underside to perform repair and paint work.
Full bridge closure to pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle traffic will be intermittently necessary to perform certain rehabilitation activities, though complete closure isn’t anticipated until next summer. Full bridge shutdown will take place after a majority of paint and rehabilitation work is complete in order to get access to areas under the structure that require the draw span to be raised. Exact timing for full closures isn’t known; the work is scheduled to occur prior to the Golden State Warriors home opener, Te added.
“For residents of Potrero Hill, please note that due to reduced travel lanes, there may be increased traffic in the area,” Te said. “Please plan for additional travel time to navigate through the area if crossing the Third Street Bridge or plan to take alternative routes to reach your final destination.”
Bridge work is necessary to sustain the structure’s integrity and address corrosion issues. The project will involve repairs or replacement of damaged steel members, welds, concrete counterweights, support piles, and bridge fenders; spot removal of rust, associated priming, and recoating; replacement of the steel bridge deck, and other related work. It includes use of underwater divers, barges, rafts, temporary installation of protective barriers, and containment curtains.
The drawbridge, spanning Mission Creek Channel and McCovey Cove, first opened on May 12, 1933 and was designed by Joseph Strauss, the same engineer who later designed the Golden Gate Bridge.