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All westbound lanes open on San Mateo Bridge as repairs completed

Cracked steel beam fixed in time for heavy traffic expected for today's 49ers-Raiders game

Caltrans crews completed construction work on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge Sunday morning and reopened the far right-hand lane that was closed after inspectors identified a structural flaw Thursday.

During a routine inspection, Caltrans engineers identified a crack in a wishbone-shaped steel beam located beneath the affected lane and immediately closed the lane.

The affected beam was originally installed as part of a seismic retrofit completed in 2001 that allows for the bridge to move back and forth during an earthquake, according to Caltrans.

Engineers quickly set to work on a repair design, which called for several high-strength steel plates to be bolted in place over the cracked section.

Over the weekend, Caltrans engineers regularly reviewed progress and designed additional repairs to maximize the beam's strength -- four plates were originally called for, but officials decided Friday to add at least one more.

Although the redesign required more time, Caltrans said the benefit of long-term safety for drivers outweighed the short-term inconvenience of the lane closure.

Crews worked to complete repairs ahead of yesterday's football showdown scheduled at Candlestick Park between the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders.

Caltrans said engineers will continue to monitor the repaired beam section, and additional off-peak lane closure may be required to ensure safe use of the lane.

PatriciaDecker, Bay City News, contributed to this report.

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