See the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge’s 42,000 Hours of Construction in 4 Minutes

By: | May 1st, 2014

BAY BRIDGE EASTERN SPAN

Bay Bridge Eastern Span (Image Courtesy www.architecturelab.net)

The Most Complex Engineering Project in California History

The new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, built at a cost of $7 billion, has two segments and was opened to traffic in September 2013. The first runs between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island and the second from the island to San Francisco. The new bridge is a vital element to the transportation network of the San Francisco Bay area, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

The old bridge was a Depression Era public works project and was christened in 1936, opening just six months before the Golden Gate Bridge. It was the most expensive bridge of its time at $78 million. Almost as soon as the bridge opened, it quickly surpassed traffic levels that had been projected for 1950.

The “Bay Bridge”, as locals refer to it, features a number of innovations, such as a signaling system to regulate traffic on the bridge. The bridge had to be “sunk” nearly 300 feet into bedrock in order to support some of the heaviest lifts and largest shock absorbers in the world which are intended to protect the structure during earthquakes.

The demolition of the old Bay Bridge is expected to take years; the old bridge sits off, eerily, in the distance, a ghost of its former self.

The following is an EarthCam time lapse covering 42,000 hours of construction over the 4 mile span.

David Schilling

David lives in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts, and regularly visits MIT, Harvard, Boston University, Northeastern, Boston\’s leading companies and labs, the stacks at Boston Atheneaum and Boston Public Library to uncover and research story ideas. You can also find David on Google+.

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