Post bridge-break traffic

Morning radio reports sounded dire — Hayward city streets in gridlock due to a deluge of commuters trying to get to the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. Jackson Street backed up, solid, to Foothill.

However, Hayward Police traffic division Sgt. Jeff Lutzinger said it wasn’t so bad.

“We had some minor congestion, but we get that every day,” Lutzinger said. “For the spontaneousness of the (Bay Bridge) closure, I was surprised we didn’t have bigger problems.”

Lutzinger said he was very worried coming in to work about what the morning traffic would look like.

“I didn’t know what I would get stuck in,” he said. “But if the bridge does not open tomorrow, I only hope things can go as smoothly as they did today.”

Officer Christina Tagle of the California Highway Patrol said that all things considered, Hayward-area freeways “went pretty smoothly. Traffic cleared out and by 9:30 or 10 it was back to normal, and nothing major happened.”

However, Tagle said that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot more cars on the road. She estimated that it took commuters about twice as long to get through the area. “Plan on giving yourself an extra hour,” she advised. “People just need to be patient.”

Online traffic reports indicated things were getting sticky around 3 p.m., and we will soon see what the afternoon commute brings. There’s also a CHP incident report page that’s useful for finding potential freeway troubles.

Anyone have an eyewitness report, either from a.m. or p.m.? Or suggested alternatives to the main arteries that you’d care to share?

Eric Kurhi