Are you ready? While folks in Eastern SoMa celebrate a quieter few days, the commuters around the Bay Area brace themselves for a five-day Bay Bridge shutdown. This project has been 24 year in the making.

"Everything is completely on track," said Bay Bridge spokesman Andrew Gordon tells Oakland Tribune. "The weather looks great. The prep work is on schedule. We foresee nothing ahead that would knock us off our timetable."

On the Oakland side, crews will work 24/7 to knock down a portion of the eastbound deck, build new travel lanes, and connect them to the new span. "They must also pave, stripe and put in place large concrete barrier rails." They will also "erect a temporary bike and pedestrian trestle for use while the remaining sections of the old touchdown are removed to make room for the permanent path."

As for commuters, you should plan your route accordingly. If you need to get into or out of the City by vehicle, expect to take another bridge. (Isn't it time you got to know the Dumbarton better?) Also, if you're not accustomed to taking public transportation, there are a few rules. For example, only enter a BART car until after passengers have exited, wait to enter a car from the side (not in front, like some sort of dolt), and above all else, stand on the right side of the escalator if you plan on being stationary during your ride up or down into the station. Basically, do your research. (For more tips, check out SFist's "How to Behave on Public Transportation" guide.)

BART spokesman Jim Allison says, “People should do a little research and load up their Clipper Card ahead of time so they don’t have to wait in line to buy tickets because we expect very busy ridership days” when the bridge is closed, especially on Thursday and Friday

Estimated timeline, according to Mercury News, is as follows:

7-8 p.m., Wednesday -- CHP will start rolling traffic breaks on Interstate 80 approaches to the Bay Bridge in San Francisco and Oakland. A total of 15 connector ramps will close.
8 p.m., Wednesday -- Entire Bay Bridge closes to traffic. Contractors begin demolishing westbound approach in Oakland to make room for the bike and pedestrian path connector, and start grinding and paving operations. Lights in Yerba Buena Island tunnel will be replaced with LEDs.
Thursday -- Realignment work kicks in high gear on eastern side, while maintenance and inspection of the western span and tunnel begins. Friday -- Contractor applies polyester protective roadway coating on the travel lanes near the tunnel.
Saturday -- Demolition of westbound approach in Oakland nears completion. West span maintenance and inspection continues.
Sunday -- Lane striping and temporary bike and pedestrian path trestle installation starts on Oakland side.
Monday -- More lane striping, bike path installation and barrier rail placement. Operations nearing completion and clean up ensues.
3 p.m., Monday -- Invitation-only chain-cutting ceremony on the span near the Toll Plaza. Sometime late Monday up until 5 a.m. Tuesday -- Final work and clean up performed. Caltrans begins removing connector ramp barrier cones in San Francisco and Oakland, and CHP gradually escorts vehicles onto the new bridge until all five lanes are open.
Noon, Tuesday -- Bike and pedestrian path opens. Visitors will be able to walk or cycle partway across the span. The path will be open from dawn until dusk seven days a week. The final connection to Yerba Buena Island should be completed by 2015.
Source: Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee

Bridge shuts down at 8 p.m tonight. The dismantling of the old span will take a couple of years, a process done carefully due to its close proximity to the new span. Brace yourselves.

[SF Appeal]
[Oakland Tribune]
[Mercury News]