Bay Bridge Marks Anniversary with Final Demolition

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Piers E17 and E18, set for demolition on the morning of November 11, 2017 (Guy Marzorati/KQED)

The final demolition of Bay Bridge foundations was carried out with little fanfare on Saturday.

It was a far cry from the pomp of the bridge's opening ceremony, held nearly 81 years to the day, which featured a lavish celebration led by former President Herbert Hoover.

Nevertheless, CalTrans officials touted the implosion of the two piers as a success.

Unlike the expensive, decades-long quest to replace the eastern span of the bridge, this demolition project was actually completed ahead of schedule.

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"Luckily, we were able to save that year and save $10 million," said CalTrans deputy director Dan McElhinney.

Workers were also able to save a seal that drifted into the implosion zone. A few booming signals sent the seal out of harms way.

"I'm happy the mammal monitors spotted the seal," McElhinney said. "The seal cleared the zone, and we were able to get it done."

Not all onlookers left satisfied after loud blasts and a tall splash of water marked the demolition at around 7:30 a.m.

"I walked all the way over here, two miles, just to see this?" said a man named Tony, who was walking his dog in the area. "That was a dud."

Now, CalTrans can move on to the future of the six piers left standing in the bay. McElhinney says CalTrans will garner public feedback over the next month on whether to allow public access, including a pedestrian walkway, on those piers.