San Francisco is home to another massive suspension bridge, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
As its official names implies, the Bay Bridge connects San Francisco to Oakland and other cities on the East Bay. The bridge carries some serious circulation on its two decks as it is a part of Interstate 80, aka I-80, a major transcontinental highway that starts in New York City and ends in San Francisco.
The Bay Bridge is actually comprised on two bridges. A replacement for the eastern span of the bridge is currently under construction next to the original, still-in-use eastern portion. In 1989, an earthquake caused a 50 ft (15 m) section of the bridge’s upper deck to collapse (see below.) The eastern replacement is deigned to withstand major seismic activity. That’s a relief. Bay Area traffic is scary enough without a potential bridge disaster.
Despite the safety benefits, the replacement span is not free of controversy. When we drove to Oakland for coffee, I noticed the billboard pictured below. (Here’s an NPR report on the steel used in the bridge.)
At an estimated 6.3 billion dollars, the construction project ain’t cheap either. However, that price is a steal compared to Boston’s infamous Big Dig. Perhaps the California Department of Transportation is not as dysfunctional as the rest of the state.