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'It Could Be A Mess' - Drivers Warned To Brace For Presidio Parkway Shutdown This Weekend

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - Doyle Drive, San Francisco's historic access road to the Golden Gate Bridge, will be closed to traffic as crews work on the new Presidio Parkway from Thursday until next Monday.

The road will be closed in both directions starting 10 p.m. Thursday and is scheduled to open to the public at 5 a.m. Monday.

The project was a long time in the making.

"The first time they studied the replacement of Doyle Drive was in 1955. People have been planning this for many years, and finally, people are going to be able to drive on the roadway," project spokeswoman Molly Graham said.

During the closure, crews will finalize roadway connections and transfer traffic to the new permanent Presidio Parkway. The parkway features the Main Post tunnels and Battery tunnels, which are covered with landscaping to preserve the natural beauty of the Presidio.

New Post: Presidio Parkway Project Official Closure Information Page

It's the last phase of heavy lifting on the project.

"Mostly what they need to do is get rid of the temporary detour and then build up the new roads and connect them," said Graham.

The parkway also has new bridges and new ramps that enable easier access to the Presidio and the Marina District, as well as between state Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 101.

While the Golden Gate Bridge will remain open throughout the extended closure, motorists will not be able to access the bridge from Highway 101 in San Francisco.

Motorists are urged to take the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to avoid the Golden Gate Bridge.

"People coming from the Richmond who want to get downtown or to the Marina, they've been waiting for this, and they'll be able to use those ramps come the 13th," said Graham.

The southeast parking lot at the bridge visitor's plaza will also be closed between Thursday and Monday and tour buses will not be allowed to pick up or drop off passengers in that lot.

Traffic will still be able to travel on Highway 1 onto 19th Avenue and from Merchant Road to Lincoln Boulevard, but motorists should expect major delays, with the Friday commute hours expected to be particularly backed up.

The public is urged to take public transportation instead of driving personal vehicles across the Golden Gate Bridge.

"We are concerned about traffic - certainly on Friday - and the whole weekend. It's July. There are a lot of tourists. We're really asking people to avoid the corridor because, quite frankly, it could be a mess," said Graham.

Golden Gate Transit bus and Golden Gate Ferry service will be running, but there will be no San Francisco Municipal Railway service at the Golden Gate Bridge during the closure.

Golden Gate Transit will run a modified weekday service on Friday and will not operate Routes 92 and 93. Some stops will not be served during the closure over the weekend.

Golden Gate Ferry will add service throughout the weekend on the Larkspur and Sausalito routes.

Additional late night trips will run on Friday from Larkspur. Additional early morning and late night trips from Larkspur will also run on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday and Sunday, late-night trips will also run from Sausalito. The Giants Ferry will also operate between Larkspur and AT&T Park.

Originally constructed in 1936, Doyle Drive was deemed structurally and seismically unsafe, prompting construction of the Presidio Parkway in 2009.

In 2012, traffic was shifted onto a seismically safe temporary bypass, but after this weekend's closure, the temporary bypass will no longer be used and will soon be deconstructed.

The Presidio Parkway project is expected to be fully completed in 2016.

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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