GGB traffic about to get a lot worse

Just when the traffic on 19th Avenue and Highway 1 couldn’t possibly get slower: Doyle Drive, the main approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, will be closed this weekend.

Officials worry that motorists will not change their habits and cause major delays.

Doyle Drive will close 8 p.m. Friday.  The 57-hour closure is necessary to demolish the old structure and re-route traffic onto both brand-new and temporary roadways.

Someday, the $1.1 billion project will be a blessing for bridge regulars. But this weekend, according to Molly Graham, spokeswoman for Presidio Parkway, it could be a nightmare:

“It can’t handle the volume. On your average weekend, the 19th Avenue corridor is already congested. You can imagine what it could be like this weekend.”

Doyle Drive carries traffic to and from the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marina Green and Lombard Street. Park Presidio and 25th Ave. are the only reasonable alternate routes to the bridge from The City.

Construction crews will create a new, temporary bypass upon destroying the current one. It is expected to be open 5 a.m. Monday, just in time for morning commuters.

A moveable barrier has been installed on the new section of road. It will be shifted twice daily in accordance with traffic, with the busiest side given three lanes to drive on.

Since Doyle Drive is usually separated only by plastic stakes, this comes as a relief in terms of safety. The road is saddled with one of the Federal Highway Administration’s lowest safety ratings.

Graham told the Chron the changes to the road will be valuable to drivers:

“There will be no more possibility of head-on collisions. We’re reaching two milestones this weekend: seismic safety by demolishing Doyle Drive, and traffic safety with the movable barrier.”

Transportation officials advise those traveling between the North Bay and San Francisco to take the Golden Gate Ferry, which will run additional service during the closure. If you must drive, you can use the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to travel through the East Bay and connect to the Bay Bridge.