Sketch drawing of the proposed San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (1913) from Overland Monthly, April 1913.
The Bay Bridge will be closed from September 3rd at 8:00 p.m. until the 8th at 5:00 a.m. During these 105 hours, Caltrans will perform an "essential and unprecedented construction feat."
It turns out there was a lot I didn't know about the Bay Bridge. Its official name, for example is not the Bay Bridge. It's "The James 'Sunny Jim' Rolph Bridge," after the California Governor who died in 1934, two years before the bridge opened (The Golden Gate Bridge opened 6 months later). Around 280,000 vehicles traverse the bridge every day—nearly $7 in bridge tolls per second; The Yerba Buena Tunnel that connects the eastern and western segments is the world's largest diameter bore tunnel; Much of the eastern span is supported by old growth Douglas Firs, driven into firm mud.
As construction grows increasingly noticeable, the new eastern section rising out of the bay, more people are wondering: How will it attach? What happens to the old bridge? What's with the retrofit of the western suspension? And what is this unprecedented feat of construction happening over Labor Day weekend?
The construction website, baybridge360, just received a Webby award in the Government category, and is worth a visit. Videos and slide shows are overlaid on a satellite image of the bay and provide answers to these and other engineering questions. There's a bit of Troy McClure style narration, epic synthesizer for the construction scenes, and techno pop for the fast-forward time lapse photography. At one point, the “Governator” dons a pair of terminator sunglasses for a ceremonial blowtorching.