Fast Forward Summary: Be careful as you drive onto the Golden Gate Bridge coming north from San Francisco. The lanes have been dramatically realigned, and alignments have differed on different days as work proceeds. Updated 10:30 PM Dec. 17, 2013 for still more lane changes.
We've all gotten used to the constant changes in the earthquake-inappropriate Doyle Drive at the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge as it's gradually being replaced with the new seismic-and-stylish Presidio Parkway.
Some alterations have been so subtle that you'd barely notice them, while the first trip through the brand new tunnel felt like a theme park ride.
The latest changes are subtle when you're driving into San Francisco, but heading north into Marin be ready for big changes, which we've highlighted in the image above (copyrighted by Google), and you can click on that image to enlarge it. The same area is shown in a live Google map that you can play with below.
The Old Pattern:
When you approach the Golden Gate Bridge leaving San Francisco during afternoon commute hours the "extra" left hand lanes through the toll gates are open. The ideal strategy was to stay left to avoid traffic entering from 19th Ave. on the right and go through one of those lanes.
At non-commute times the only open lanes to go onto the Bridge northbound were at the far-right, so coming from the left hand Doyle Drive lanes the optimal strategy was to merge right as soon as possible. Or as soon as the 19th Ave. traffic would allow!
They're starting preparation for more tree removal to allow the roadway to be widened to the right (as you're facing north) in the area before the exit for the douth parking lot at the Bridge.
As a result the far right lane has been blocked off to traffic approaching from 19th Ave., and the 19th Ave. approach lanes have been shifted to the left.
The effect of this change is that 3-4 lanes of Doyle Drive traffic and 2 lanes of 19th Ave. traffic from San Francisco are compressed into even less space. The merge also happens with less room to maneuver, closer to the toll plaza.
Even when the extra northbound toll lanes are open, traffic has to traverse a sweeping right curve just before the Bridge. During non-commute times that curve is even sharper and 6 lanes of traffic have to compress into just two lanes to go onto the Golden Gate..
Once you've driven through the new lane alignment once it will be easy to traverse (albeit with increased commute time traffic snarls) but we wanted to alert you to watch out for the changes.
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