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Bay Bridge reopens ahead of schedule

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Bridge "is safer than when we closed it on Friday," official says
  • California bridge closed last week for scheduled retrofitting
  • Workers discovered "significant crack" on east span of bridge
  • About 280,000 vehicles travel San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge daily
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(CNN) -- Vehicles began streaming across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge early Tuesday -- a day ahead of schedule -- after the completion of repairs to a crack in the structure's east span.

Commuters make the trek across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after it reopened Tuesday.

Commuters make the trek across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after it reopened Tuesday.

Commuters began driving over the bridge around 6:40 a.m. PT (9:40 a.m. ET), shortly after Randy Iwasaki, director of the California Department of Transportation, announced the reopening at a news conference.

"The bridge has been inspected, and it is safer than when we closed it on Friday," Iwasaki said.

Over the weekend, crews began repairing a "significant crack" that was found on the east span of the bridge during a planned closure for another project.

The target time for reopening had been early Wednesday, but crews worked nonstop overnight to repair the eyebar beam, Iwasaki said. He thanked motorists for being patient.

"I know it's been trying. I received a few e-mail notes," the official said.

Iwasaki said some closures or detours near the bridge would remain in place a while longer, including those along northbound and southbound Interstate 880.

About 280,000 vehicles cross the landmark bridge every day, according to the department.

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The Bay Bridge was closed last week as part of a seismic retrofitting project that required cutting out and replacing a double-deck portion of the east span. Video Watch as the bridge needed big repairs »

A 50-foot section of the bridge collapsed in 1989 during the Loma Prieta earthquake, prompting efforts to make it quake tolerant.

All About EarthquakesSan Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

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