New Span of Bay Bridge Unvieled


Clayton Haskell, Staff Writer

The fame of the Golden Gate Bridge often eclipses that of the Bay Bridge, but the new eastern section is garnering all sorts of attention.
The bridge carries roughly 280,000 vehicles per day, and is also one of the largest suspension bridges in the country. On Sept. 2nd, the new eastern section of the bridge was opened, and people from all corners of California flocked to the bay in order to see the newest bridge in the bay.
The bridge lies very close to the San Andreas fault line, and the eastern section that was built 80 years ago. The old section was clearly not fit to withstand a large earthquake. In 1989 the Loma Prieta earthquake caused part of the upper section to collapse. Just years after the earthquake, the state came out with plans for the replacement of the eastern section.  Eventually, nearly 20 years after the plans for the construction were created, the new eastern section was finished. The new section was built to last through an earthquake as large as the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
The new bridge is supposed to reduce traffic because of its wider lanes, and less curves but in the first month of the new bridge that hasn’t completely been the case. Miramonte teacher Ms. Selway drives across the bridge every day to get to and from work. Even though she does think that the new section helps with the flow of traffic she said, “It can only take care of half of the problem, and the other side of the bridge still has traffic.”
Not only is the bridge much more functional than the old one, but it is also more aesthetically pleasing with its modern and sleek design. The new section has five lanes going each way with a bike path that will stretch from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island. Unlike the Golden Gate Bridge, the new section only has one tower. This tower reaches 525 feet above the water. The length of the bridge stretches for just over two miles.
Although the city of Oakland was talking about the new bridge in the 1990s, they didn’t actually start the construction until 2002. After 11 years of work, and almost $7 billion spent, the bridge was finally finished, but there were some bumps along the way. In 2011 the Sacramento Bee released information about possible falsified inspection results, and an investigation revealed that in fact the reports weren’t accurate. Also during the summer of 2013, nearly 100  bolts had to be repaired after a support beam failed. This mistake cost more than $5 million to fix.
When California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom cut the chain to open the bridge, residents of Oakland and San Francisco that were alive for the original opening were driven across the bridge. After the ceremonies took place, hundreds of thousands of people came to see the bridge via car, or on foot. One of the rules of the bridge was that no skateboards were allowed, and on the very first day three skateboarders were asked to leave the bridge.