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Mack Students Help With Bay Bridge Closure

copyright photo by Benjamin Kimo Twichell

Bay Bridge s-curve:  copyright photo by Benjamin Kimo Twichell

by Joy Scott and Harold Halcomb

They canvassed in downtown Berkeley and Emeryville. They stuffed and licked envelopes. And this weekend, McClymonds students were the only teens on Treasure Island, organizing and handing gear to construction crews working on the Bay Bridge.

Work progressed well. The bridge reopened ahead of schedule Sunday night.

“It was kind of exciting,” said Thoresha Branner, a senior at McClymonds, who canvassed in downtown Berkeley and near the campus for five hours and was scheduled to work on Treasure Island.

Wearing a yellow vest and name tag, Branner walked around and handed out flyers about the closure, answering questions. “Some people were surprised and didn’t know about the closure despite all the radio and TV news,” said Branner. “Others were relieved to know that BART would be running extra trains.”

Students at McClymonds were the only high school students from Oakland hired by Caltrans to canvas, stuff envelopes and work on the bridge during the closure.

Matthew Mayne, college and career coordinator at McClymonds, said that 13 students worked on the project after school. Students were paid $12 an hour.

“Caltrans was pleased with the energy and enthusiasm of our students,” said Mayne.

Over the weekend work, workers realigned and rapaved the approach from the toll plaza to the bridge, and connected it to a new detour to a widened incline section.

Workers also made cuts in a portion of the bridge deck that will be demolished to make it easier to remove.

The westbound lanes were closed at 8pm Friday and reopened at 7pm Sunday.

BART ridership was up 25 percent on Saturday.The bridge carries on average 270,000 vehicles a day.

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