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BART Strike Jams Freeways on Friday

By Sara Gaiser (BCN)
Friday October 18, 2013 - 09:42:00 AM

Bay Area freeways, especially those leading to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, saw an increase in traffic today on the first day of a BART strike, the California Department of Transportation reported today.

Bay Area traffic delays increased around 30 percent above normal between 5 and 10 a.m. today, according to Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus.

The largest increase was seen on Interstate Highway 80 in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, Haus said.

Interstate highways 580 and 880 saw delays around twice as high as normal around 7 a.m., and the carpool lane on Interstate Highway 80 leading up to the Bay Bridge saw around 50 to 100 percent more traffic than a typical Friday, Haus said.

The backup is being felt in San Francisco, where city streets were heavily congested heading into the evening commute, especially at freeway entrances, according to a city transit official.

The Van Ness Avenue corridor is moving, but many other key intersections around the city are backed up congested, especially at freeway entrances, said Paul Rose, a spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

"The only thing you can do is be patient at this point," Rose said.

Rose said Muni has not been heavily affected by the traffic backup because it has transit-only lanes in the most affected areas.

One driver reported that the Fifth Street and Second Street on-ramps to eastbound Highway 80 in San Francisco were already severely backed up by 4 p.m., with waits of more than 45 minutes.

Many cars were giving up and turning around, presumably in search of alternate routes, the driver said.

The California Highway Patrol is reporting heavy traffic on the Bay Bridge this evening, although other