SACRAMENTO -- Despite questions raised about its safety, the much-maligned new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is set to open on schedule next month, just after the Labor Day weekend.
But the festivities to mark the ribbon-cutting of the $6.4-billion bridge will be missing one thing: Gov. Jerry Brown.
A Brown spokesman confirmed that the governor has made other plans that day -- he will be out of town for a family reunion. Safety concerns about the bridge have dogged the governor since media reports began questioning the structural integrity of the new span, and it was revealed that dozens of giant bolts used to hold the decks of the bridge in place cracked earlier this year.
Before those questions arose, Brown celebrated the anticipated opening of the bridge as part of a live television special from atop one of its towers, which aired live in the Bay Area immediately following the San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl loss in February. He pressed a giant button starting a countdown clock to the bridge's scheduled Labor Day opening.
Brown had embraced the new bridge as part of a series of major infrastructure upgrades across the state. The governor has new projects he'd like to see built, including two giant new tunnels near Sacramento to divert millions of gallons of water to the southern half of the state, and a high-speed railroad that has been met with stiff opposition from Republicans in the Central Valley.