Friday, August 29, 2014

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Celebrates the First of 150 Years of Service


Today’s Date:       August 29, 2014
District:                04-Oakland
Contact:               Leah Robinson-Leach         Brigetta Smith
Phone:                 (510) 286-4948                   (510) 286-5898
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                          

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Celebrates the First of
150 Years of Service

Oakland—This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge’s opening. Since last Labor Day, nearly 100 million vehicles have crossed the bridge. This structure is not only a major corridor in the Bay Area but one of the most seismically advanced bridges in the world.

“The recent Napa earthquake is a reminder of why we built this unique  structure that dramatically improves safety for all motorists,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

The Bay Bridge is just one of thousands of structures in Caltrans’ Seismic Retrofit Program. Initiated after the Loma Prieta and Northridge earthquakes, the program has retrofitted or replaced more than 2,200 existing bridges statewide.

The Bay Bridge east span was built to withstand a major seismic event that occurs once-every-1,500 years. It is also designed to be quickly reopened to traffic following a catastrophic earthquake. Although it appears artfully designed from the outside, the bridge interior contains innovative seismic technology including hinge pipe beams and shear keys that allow movement but keep the bridge operational during an earthquake. As a result of this strength and durability, the Bay Bridge is designated as an emergency lifeline route to be used in disaster response activities.

Crews have already begun to carefully dismantle the old east span section-by-section, in roughly the reverse order of how it was built in the mid-1930s. Work is well underway on the first phase of demolition – removing the east and west halves of the original bridge’s cantilever section – leaving an 800-foot gap. The removal of the old bridge is scheduled to be completed by spring 2016.

The bridge is not only an improvement for motorists but for pedestrians and cyclists as well. Once the demolition of the old span is complete, the path will be extended to Yerba Buena Island. Final completion is expected by fall 2015.

At 2,047 feet long and 258.33 feet wide, the new east span of the Bay  Bridge is the longest single-tower, self-anchored suspension span bridge in the world. It is also the world’s widest bridge, supporting 10 lanes of traffic.

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