Warning! Bridge closed ahead

Attention Bay Area motorists: The San Mateo-Hayward Bridge is the latest to take a short vacation. In October, the Bay crossing will close for two weekends as work crews fix a cracked beam on the bridge’s trellis section.

The bridge — which is traversed by more than 16 million cars a year — underwent a $163 million retrofit in 2000. Two years ago, though, inspectors noticed a problem on one of the beams of the westbound section. Ever since, a set of steel plates have been used as a slightly disturbing splint of sorts.

The crack is going to cost $3 million to fix and will knock the bridge out of commission for at least two weekends. Right now, the weekends of Oct. 19-21 and Oct. 26-28 appear the most likely times for the bridge’s closures. When the closures do hit, they will occur from 9 p.m. on Friday until 5 a.m. Monday.

Although the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge is the dull gray step child of the beautiful Golden Gate and the insanely trafficked Bay Bridge, it is still a major transit artery in the Bay. The bridge — with less than half the commuters of the Bay Bridge — is the fourth-most trafficked bridge maintained by the Bay Area Toll Authority.

Toll authority spokesman John Goodwin told The Ex they plan to release detour suggestion routes for motorists in the coming weeks.

It’s not exactly Carmageddon but it could definitely put a dent in weekend plans around the Bay.