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Mini Bay Bridge Comes to Town

Friday, September 16, 2016

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San Francisco loves its new San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge so much, it seems, that the city will be building a duplicate smaller version as part of its new downtown transit center and neighborhood development project.

Specifically, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, will replicate in miniature the recognizable eastern span of the Bay Bridge as part of a six-block-long bus ramp that will help buses avoid congested city streets, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Transit Center bridge
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Part of a six-block-long bus ramp, as seen in this architect's rendering, in the new Transbay Transit Center holds a remarkable resemblance to the eastern span of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

However, the TJPA is said to be downplaying the resemblance to the big span that opened in 2013, saying simply that “the look and color was intended to match the transit center.”

East Span in Miniature

At a cost of $22 million, the Bay Bridge East Span’s twin will provide a dedicated connection for buses travelling between the real Bay Bridge and the transit terminal located at First and Mission streets.

Although a bit different in the overall design, the Chronicle describes the mini bridge as “a near-mimic of the span’s cable suspension section, right down to the all-white color.”

To the TJPA, the design just makes sense structurally, the local NBC affiliate noted.

Sinking pillars into the ground there to support the roadway was not an option, TJPA explained, as that space in the new Transbay Transit Center may one day become an underground rail terminal and pillars would interfere with future train passage.

So the recognizable bridge tower will serve to support the ramp where it passes over the transit center’s basement space, the Chronicle said.

“The cable stay was deemed the only option that was possible," Dennis Turchon, senior construction manager, told the news station.

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
Sam Burbank, California Department of Transportation

Observers note the proposed bus ramp bridge mimics the cable suspension design and all-white color of the city's full-size Bay Bridge.

The center support will rise 125 feet over Howard Street, according to NBC, and cabling is slated to be in place by mid-November.

Transit Center Work

The new Transbay Transit Center, called the "Grand Central Station of the West," will replace the former Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco with a modern transit hub.

Extending just south of Mission Street from Second to Beale Streets, the Transit Center will connect eight Bay Area counties and the State of California through 11 transportation systems: AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, Greyhound, Muni, SamTrans, WestCAT Lynx, Amtrak, Paratransit and California’s future High Speed Rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim.

As the agency in charge of construction, the TJPA is working with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, headquartered in New Haven, CT, and construction manager/general contractor Webcor Obayashi Joint Ventures, based in San Francisco, on the new $2.7 billion Transbay Transit Center.

The span is reportedly part of a $58 million bid awarded to Shimmick Construction Co. Inc., with offices in Oakland and Irvine, CA, to build the bus ramp.

Schimmick is also responsible for the below grade structural concrete substructure, waterproofing, mechanical, electrical and plumbing work for the new center. According to its website, the major portion of the work includes the placement of over 100,000 cubic yards of structural concrete for the mat slab at the train platform level, below grade perimeter walls, columns and suspended concourse slab level.

Construction of the new transit center began in summer 2010 and is scheduled for completion in late 2017.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Bridges; Design; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Infrastructure; Latin America; Mass transit; North America; Program/Project Management; Public Transit; Rail; Transportation

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