The Bay Bridge may remain closed through the weekend and could still be closed next Monday, California Department of Transportation officlals said late today.
Workers are still repairing a collapsed section of the bridge and testing those repairs.
Caltrans spokesman Bert Ney said there's no prediction anymore as to when the bridge might reopen.
In the meantime, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said that 14 of BART's 43 stations will run hourly trains overnight today and Saturday, including to and from the Pleasanton/Dublin station.
The hourly trains will run in the East Bay, San Francisco and down the Peninsula between midnight and 6 a.m. Saturday and between midnight and 8 a.m. Sunday. However, the trains will not be running overnight Sunday.
He explained that BART needs to shut down Sunday night so the trains can be repaired and inspected in time for the Monday morning commute.
"Less than a percent of our ridership rides overnight," Linton said. "We can't provide for them at the expense of our bread and butter commuters."
Linton said BART will be reimbursed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
"We know from years past it will be pretty big," he said of the additional expenses. "It's a money loser to run overnight."
Linton said BART was hit even harder financially because the agency didn't have any advance warning about the bridge closure. Employees
were taken off vacation or had to cancel their plans, he said.
"It's very difficult to provide overnight service on the dime," he said. "That's one reason we haven't been able to do it during the week."
The overnight schedules are available online at bart.gov.
The Bay Bridge has been closed since Tuesday evening when two rods and a crossbar fell onto the span's upper deck. Several cars were damaged but no one was seriously injured.
Thursday evening, Dale Bonner, secretary of the state Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, told a packed news conference that "it's very difficult to say when" the span will reopen but that it wouldn't be by the Friday morning commute.
At 10:15 p.m., varous media headlined both possibilities. "Bay Bridge ready for Friday commute?" opined CNN news. "SF Bay Bridge closed Friday morning," reported MarketWatch. "Bay Bridge could reopen for morning commute," said the San Francisco Chronicle. "SF Bay Bridge to Remain Closed Until at Least Friday," wrote The Wall Street Journal.
In his news coference, Bonner said he hoped that work to repair the steel crossbar and two steel rods that came loose Tuesday evening from the emergency repair of a cracked eyebar over Labor Day weekend would be completed by 10 a.m. Friday.
That didn't happen. Late Friday, there was little more Ney could say since engineers had not signed off on the repair work and there was no indication when they would.
Caltrans engineers have made several enhancements to the design of the section that collapsed and are working with the Federal Highway Authority and outside inspectors to make sure the section will be safe, Bonner said.
He said the goal of the repair work is to "keep a very small problem small" and he thinks there's no evidence that anything is wrong with the design of the section that failed.
Responding to a barrage of questions by reporters about whether the public can be reassured that the bridge will be safe when it's reopened, Bonner said, "We're confident this fix won't pose a risk to the public. We were and are confident that the bridge is safe."
Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman John Goodwin said state transportation officials could wind up losing about $1 million in toll revenues if the Bay Bridge remains closed for most of Friday.
Goodwin said the state-owned toll bridges in the Bay Area netted $335,000 less in toll revenues than they did the previous Wednesday. He said the figures for today won't be available until Friday but are expected to be similar.
There are seven state-owned bridges in the Bay Area but the closure of the Bay Bridge means that only six have been operating the past two days.
Goodwin said the Bay Bridge is the busiest of the seven spans and accounts for nearly one-third of the daily revenue that they produce.
He said that on the previous Wednesday, on Oct. 21, the seven bridges netted $1.3 million and the Bay Bridge accounted for $453,000 of that total.
But on Wednesday, the six bridges that were open only brought in $967,000 in revenue, according to Goodwin.
Goodwin said the closure of the Bay Bridge led to a 32-percent increase in toll-paying vehicles on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge compared to the prior Wednesday and increases of 25 percent on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and 10 percent on the Dumbarton Bridge.
He said an interesting phenomenon is that traffic on the Carquinez Bridge actually dropped 23 percent.
Motorists can get real-time travel information at the Web site 511.org or by calling 511.