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Bay Area bridge reopens after falling chunks of concrete close span twice in one day

Bay Area bridge reopens after falling chunks of concrete close span twice in one day
The California Highway Patrol shut down the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge after chunks of concrete fell from the upper deck onto the lower deck on Jan. 7. (California Highway Patrol)

The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge over San Francisco Bay was closed in both directions at two different times Thursday after football-sized chunks of concrete fell from its upper deck onto the level below, authorities said.

The bridge was first shut down late Thursday morning, briefly reopening several hours later. However, additional pieces of concrete then fell from the upper deck, which carries westbound traffic to Marin County, to the lower deck, which takes eastbound vehicles to Contra Costa County.

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The bridge fully reopened around 8 p.m., according to Caltrans.

The bridge initially closed after a driver called 911 around 10:30 a.m. to report that pieces of concrete had struck a car, California Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Barclay said.

The driver said the vehicle was damaged, but the traveler was on the way to the airport and kept on driving, Barclay said.

Traffic was stopped in both directions after CHP officers saw that vibrations from vehicles on the upper deck were causing more chunks of concrete to fall onto the roadway below, he said.

One lane of traffic opened in each direction around 3 p.m. but officials were forced to close the span again, the CHP said on Facebook, when “flowing traffic on the bridge caused additional pieces of roadway to come loose and fall.”

Many motorists on Interstate 580 use the bridge to travel from Richmond in the East Bay to San Rafael in the north.

The bridge was completed in 1956, according to Caltrans.

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