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baybridge.jpgGov. Jerry Brown was looking forward to a big celebration of the opening of the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge when he went to the site in February to start a countdown on live TV.

In a post-Super Bowl special on the Bay Area's KPIX-TV, Brown said he expected thousands of people to attend a public event, with festivities including running and a bicycle race.

But then a broken-bolt problem threatened to delay the opening of the $6.4 billion project, and uncertainty hindered plans for a celebration. By last week, when state transportation officials announced the bridge would be finished on time and open to traffic the morning after Labor Day, they said it was too late for the celebration originally envisioned.

Instead, officials proposed a smaller, ribbon-cutting-like ceremony involving the cutting of a chain.

The event will not include Brown, who has faced questions about the bridge's structural integrity all year.

The governor and first lady Anne Gust Brown are expected to be in Michigan over Labor Day weekend, attending a Gust Brown family reunion.

PHOTO: This photo taken Aug. 1 shows the new eastern section to the left of the current eastern span of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco. Associated Press/Eric Risberg



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