SAN DIEGO — Caltrans has scheduled two 56-hour weekend closures along Interstate 5 to repair the bridge deck over state Route 163 in downtown San Diego.

“Believe me, there’s never a good time to close a freeway in downtown San Diego,” said Caltrans District Director Gustavo Dallarda during a news conference.

The first closure begins Friday, Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. through the following Monday at 5 a.m.

The southbound closure which will begin at I-8 with drivers advised to take southbound I-805 before redirected to eastbound I-8.

One lane of southbound I-5 will remain open, south of I-8, for limited local traffic, emergencies and the airport.

Three weeks later, another closure begins Friday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m. through the following Monday at 5 a.m.

The northbound I-5 closure, which begins at SR-15, will have one northbound lane open for limited local traffic.

“Those weekends, we saw there aren’t any major events, there isn’t any major construction related to the airport. We coordinated with them, we coordinated with hospitals, with the Convention Center and there’s never a good time, but this is as good as it’s gonna get,” said Dallarda.

As crews work on the 63-year-old bridge, CHP is warning drivers the closures will have a huge impact on traffic flow.

“Plan ahead — start now, determining an alternate route of travel to the downtown area and give yourself ample amount of time to reach your destination,” said CHP Captain Reggie Williams.

Caltrans says, as of now, there’s no major damage to the bridge, but the $7 million repair project can’t be ignored.

“This is proactive work, so that it doesn’t become an emergency and then we have to do this work during a weekday when the traffic is substantially higher than on weekends,” said Dallarda.

Click here for a map of the first closure.