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Final Bay Bridge Piers Imploded

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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The final piers of the old San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge eastern span to be demolished have been imploded in place, five years after the bridge’s replacement opened and 16 years after construction on the massive project began.

Two concrete piers, E19 and E20, came down Saturday (Sept. 8), nearly two years after implosions of the span’s piers began. The California Department of Transportation oversaw the demolition of 19 piers in a project that began nominally in September 2015 but was carried out largely in 2017. The agency accelerated the demolition’s timeline but imploding multiple piers at a time on weekends, minimizing disruption and costs.

The old span’s cantilever section was removed in 2015 and its last truss was removed in 2017. The four piers that remain now will be used to support new boardwalks; one will support an observation platform and 140-foot-long boardwalk off Yerba Buena Island, and three will be repurposed for a 600-foot-long boardwalk off the Oakland coast, according to Caltrans.

$6.4 Billion Replacement

Work on the replacement of the Bay Bridge eastern span began in 2002, 13 years after part of the structure collapsed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, killing a driver. The project, which grew to become the largest such job in the state’s history, was plagued with delays, cost overruns and quality-control questions. What was originally estimated to be a $250 million job ballooned to a reported $6.4 billion.

The new eastern span opened in 2013, six years after its original projected finish date, and is considered to be the world’s widest bridge, with a deck width of 258 feet. It consists of a self-anchored suspension bridge connected to a causeway.

The bridge’s western span, opened in 1936, was given a seismic retrofit after the 1989 earthquake and was not replaced.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Caltrans; concrete; Demolition; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

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