San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge

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San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge
The two bridges.jpg
The bridge's eastern span, with old and new bridges side by side, in 2013
Carries 10 lanes of I‑80, and pedestrians and bicycles east of Yerba Buena Island (YBI).
Crosses San Francisco Bay
via YBI
Locale San Francisco and Oakland
Owner Caltrans
Maintained by Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority
ID number
  • 34 0003 (West)
  • 34 0004 (YBI Tunnel)
  • 33 0025 (East)[1]
Designer Charles H. Purcell
Design Double-decked suspension spans (two, connected by center anchorage), tunnel, cast-in-place concrete transition span, self-anchored suspension span, precast segmental concrete viaduct
Material Steel, concrete
Total length West: 10,304 ft (3,141 m)
East span: 10,176 ft (3,102 m)
Total: 4.46 miles (7.18 km)
excluding approaches
Width West: 5 traffic lanes totaling 57.5 ft (17.5 m)
Height West: 526 ft (160 m)[2]
Longest span West: two main spans
2,310 ft (704 m)
East: one main span
1,400 ft (430 m)
Vertical clearance Westbound: 14 feet (4.3 m), with additional clearance in some lanes
Eastbound: 14.67 feet (4.47 m)
Clearance below West: 220 feet (67 m)
East: 191 feet (58 m)
Construction begin July 8, 1933
Opened West Span: November 12, 1936; 77 years ago (1936-11-12)
East Span (original): November 12, 1936; 77 years ago (1936-11-12)
East Span (replacement): September 2, 2013; 12 months ago (2013-09-02)
Toll Cars (east span, westbound only)
$6.00 (rush hours)
$2.50 (carpool rush hours)
$4.00 (weekday non-rush hours)
$5.00 (weekend all day)
Daily traffic 240,000[3][4]
Closed East Span (original): August 28, 2013; 12 months ago (2013-08-28)
Connects:
The east side of San Francisco, with the west side of Oakland
San Francisco Bay Bridges map en.svg
Coordinates 37°49′5″N 122°20′48″W / 37.81806°N 122.34667°W / 37.81806; -122.34667Coordinates: 37°49′5″N 122°20′48″W / 37.81806°N 122.34667°W / 37.81806; -122.34667
Map of the original bridge and the eastern span replacement

San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge is located in California
San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge
Location of the Bay Bridge in California
Designated: August 13, 2001
Reference No. 00000525[1][5]

The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (known locally as the Bay Bridge) is a complex of bridges spanning San Francisco Bay in California. As part of Interstate 80 and the direct road between San Francisco and Oakland, it carries about 240,000 vehicles a day on its two decks.[3][4] It has one of the longest spans in the United States.

The toll bridge was conceived as early as the gold rush days, but construction did not begin until 1933. Designed by Charles H. Purcell,[6][7] and built by American Bridge Company, it opened on November 12, 1936, six months before the Golden Gate Bridge. It originally carried automobile traffic on its upper deck, and trucks and trains on the lower, but after the closure of the Key System transit lines, the lower deck was converted to road traffic as well. In 1986 the bridge was unofficially dedicated to James Rolph.[8]

The bridge has two sections of roughly equal length; the older western section connects downtown San Francisco to Yerba Buena Island and the newer eastern section connects the island to Oakland. The western section is a double suspension bridge. Originally, the largest span of the original eastern section was a cantilever bridge. During the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, a section of the eastern section's upper deck collapsed onto the lower deck and the bridge was closed for a month. Reconstruction of the eastern section of the bridge as a causeway connected to a self-anchored suspension bridge began in 2002; the new bridge opened September 2, 2013 at a reported cost of over $6.5 billion[9] and is currently the world's widest bridge, according to Guinness World Records.[10]

Composition[edit]

The bridge consists of two crossings, east and west of Yerba Buena Island, a natural mid-bay outcropping inside San Francisco city limits. The Western crossing between Yerba Buena and downtown San Francisco has two complete suspension spans connected at a center anchorage.[11] Rincon Hill is the western anchorage and touch-down for the San Francisco landing of the bridge connected by three shorter truss spans. The eastern crossing, between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland, was a cantilever bridge with a double-tower span, five medium truss spans, and a 14-section truss causeway. Due to earthquake concerns, the eastern crossing was replaced by a new crossing that opened on Labor Day 2013.[12] On Yerba Buena Island, the double-decked crossing is a 321-foot (98 m) concrete viaduct east of the west span's cable anchorage, a 540-foot (160 m) tunnel through the island's rocky central hill, another 790.8-foot (241.0 m) concrete viaduct, and a longer curved high-level steel truss viaduct that spans the final 1,169.7 feet (356.5 m) to the cantilever bridge.[13][dated info] The viaduct sections east of the tunnel are being modified, bypassed and replaced as part of the seismic safety work that will eventually transition traffic onto and off of the self-anchored suspension (SAS) bridge of the new eastern bay crossing.[dated info]

The toll plaza on the Oakland side (since 1969 for westbound traffic only) has eighteen toll lanes, of which six are FasTrak-only. Metering signals are about 1,000 feet (300 m) west of the toll plaza. Two full-time bus-only lanes bypass the toll booths and metering lights around the right (north) side of the toll plaza; other high occupancy vehicles can use these lanes during weekday morning and afternoon commute periods. The two far-left toll lanes are high-occupancy vehicle lanes during weekday commute periods. During the morning commute hours, traffic congestion on the Oakland approach stretches back to the three feeder highways, Interstate 580, Interstate 880, and Interstate 80 toward Richmond, California.[14] Since the number of lanes on the San Francisco approach is structurally restricted, backups are frequent in the eastbound direction during evening commute hours. The western half is currently restricted to motorized freeway traffic. Pedestrians, bicycles, and other non-freeway vehicles and devices are not allowed to cross this section. A California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) bicycle shuttle operates during peak commute hours for $1.00 each way.[15]

Freeway ramps next to the tunnel provide access to Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island. Because the toll plaza is on the Oakland side, traffic between the island and the main part of San Francisco can freely cross back and forth without paying a toll. Those who only travel from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island, and not the entire length to the main part of San Francisco, must pay the full toll.

History[edit]

Pre-construction[edit]

San Francisco, at the mouth of the Bay, was perfectly placed to prosper during the California Gold Rush. Almost all goods not produced locally arrived by ship. But after the first transcontinental railroad was completed in May 1869 San Francisco was on the wrong side of the Bay, separated from the new rail link. The fear of many San Franciscans was that the city would lose its position as the regional center of trade. The concept of a bridge spanning the San Francisco Bay had been considered since the Gold Rush days. Several newspaper articles during the early 1870s discussed the idea. In early 1872, a "Bay Bridge Committee" was hard at work on plans to construct a railroad bridge. The April 1872 issue of the San Francisco Real Estate Circular contained an item about the committee:

The Bay Bridge Committee lately submitted its report to the Board of Supervisors, in which compromise with the Central Pacific was recommended; also the bridging of the bay at Ravenswood and the granting of railroad facilities at Mission Bay and on the water front. Wm. C. Ralston, ex-Mayor Selby and James Otis were on this committee. A daily newspaper attempts to account for the advice of these gentlemen to the city by hinting that they were afraid of the railroad company, and therefore made their recommendations to suit its interests.[16]

The self-proclaimed Emperor Norton I saw fit to decree several times that a suspension bridge be constructed to connect Oakland with San Francisco. Later in 1872, frustrated that nothing had happened, Norton decreed:

WHEREAS, we issued our decree ordering the citizens of San Francisco and Oakland to appropriate funds for the survey of a suspension bridge from Oakland Point via Goat Island; also for a tunnel; and to ascertain which is the best project; and whereas the said citizens have hitherto neglected to notice our said decree; and whereas we are determined our authority shall be fully respected; now, therefore, we do hereby command the arrest by the army of both the Boards of City Fathers if they persist in neglecting our decrees.

Given under our royal hand and seal at San Francisco, this 17th day of September, 1872.[17]

Sketch of the proposed "Rush San Francisco Trans-Bay Suspension Bridge" (1913)[18]

Unlike most of Emperor Norton's eccentric ideas, his decree to build a bridge had wide public and political appeal. Yet, the task was too much of an engineering and economic challenge since the bay was too wide and too deep there. In 1921, over forty years after Norton's death, a tunnel was considered, but it became clear that one would be inadequate for vehicular traffic.[19] Support for a trans-bay crossing finally grew in the 1920s with the increasing popularity and availability of the automobile. In 1929, the California Legislature established the California Toll Bridge Authority with the responsibility of connecting San Francisco and Alameda County with a bridge.[19]

To make the bridge feasible, its route was chosen to pass through Yerba Buena Island (formerly known as Goat Island in the 1870s), reducing the material and labor needed. Yerba Buena Island was a U.S. Navy base at the time (and until 1997).[20] So the approval of the U.S. Congress, which regulates the armed services and supervises all naval and military bases, was necessary for this island to be used. After a great deal of lobbying, California received Congressional approval to use the island on February 20, 1931.[citation needed]

Construction[edit]

The Bay Bridge under construction at Yerba Buena Island in 1935

The chief engineer was Ralph Modjeski, a Polish-American. Construction began on July 9, 1933.[21] The western span of the bridge between San Francisco and Yerba Buena Island presented an enormous engineering situation. The bay was up to 100 feet (30 m) deep in places and the soil required new foundation-laying techniques.[19] A single main suspension span some 4,100 feet (1.2 km) in length was considered but rejected, as it would have required too much fill and reduced wharfage space at San Francisco, had less vertical clearance for shipping, and cost more than the design ultimately adopted.[22] The solution was to construct a massive concrete anchorage halfway between San Francisco and the island, and to build a main suspension span on each side of this central anchorage.[23]

East of Yerba Buena Island, the bay to Oakland was spanned by a 10,176-foot (3.102 km) combination of double cantilever, five long-span through-trusses, and a truss causeway, forming the longest bridge of its kind at the time.[19] The cantilever section was longest in the nation and third-longest anywhere.[24]

Much of the original eastern span is founded upon treated wood. Because of the very deep mud on the bay bottom it was not practical to reach bedrock, although the lower levels of the mud are quite firm. Long wooden pilings were crafted from entire old-growth Douglas fir trees which were driven through the soft mud to the firmer bottom layers.[25]

Yerba Buena Tunnel[edit]

Traveling through the westbound Yerba Buena tunnel

Connecting the two halves of the bridge is Yerba Buena Tunnel, 76 feet (23 m) wide, 58 feet (18 m) high, and 540 feet (160 m) long.[13] It is the largest diameter transportation bore tunnel in the world.[19]

Reminders of the long-gone bridge railway survive along the south side of the lower Yerba Buena Tunnel. These are the regularly spaced "deadman holes" along the wall, into which track workers could duck if a train came along. (The north side, which always carried only motor traffic, lacks these holes.)[citation needed][26]

Opening day[edit]

The bridge opened on November 12, 1936 at 12:30 p.m. In attendance were the former U.S. president Herbert Hoover, Senator William G. McAdoo, and the Governor of California, Frank Merriam. Governor Merriam opened the bridge by cutting gold chains across it with an acetylene cutting torch.[27] The San Francisco Chronicle report of November 13, 1936 read:

The lighted bridge as seen from the Embarcadero (San Francisco).
Schematic drawing of the Bay Bridge

the greatest traffic jam in the history of S.F., a dozen old-fashioned New Year's eves thrown into one – the biggest and most good-natured crowd of tens of thousands ever to try and walk the streets and guide their autos on them – This was the city last night, the night of the bridge opening with every auto owner in the bay region, seemingly, trying to crowd his machine onto the great bridge.

And those who tried to view the brilliantly lighted structure from the hilltops and also view the fireworks display were numbered also in the thousands.

Every intersection in the city, particularly those near the San Francisco entrance to the bridge, was jammed with a slowly moving auto caravan.

Every available policeman in the department was called to duty to aid in regulating the city's greatest parade of autos.

One of the greatest traffic congestions of the evening was at Fifth and Mission Streets, with downtown traffic and bridge-bound traffic snarled in an almost hopeless mass. To add to the confusion, traffic signals jammed and did not synchronize.

Police reported that there was no lessening of the traffic over the bridge, all lanes being crowded with Oakland- or San-Francisco-bound machines far into the night.

The total cost was $77 million.[19] Before opening the bridge was blessed by Cardinal Secretary of State Eugene Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII.[28] Because it was in effect two bridges strung together, the western spans were ranked the second and third largest suspension bridges. Only the George Washington Bridge had a longer span between towers.

As part of the celebration a United States commemorative coin was produced by the San Francisco mint. A half dollar, the obverse portrays California's symbol, the grizzly bear, while the reverse presents a picture of the bridge spanning the bay. A total of 71,424 coins were sold, some from the bridge's tollbooths.[29]

Roadway plan[edit]

Two double-deck two-tower suspension bridges with a common central anchorage connect Yerba Buena Island to San Francisco
A double balanced cantilever bridge, five truss bridges, and two truss causeways that connected Yerba Buena Island to Oakland (to be demolished)

The original western approach to (and exit from) the upper deck of the bridge was a long ramp to Fifth, branching to Harrison St for westward traffic off the bridge and Bryant St for eastward traffic entering. There was an on-ramp to the upper deck on Rincon Hill from Fremont Street (that later became an off-ramp) and an off-ramp to First Street (later extended over First St to Fremont St). The lower deck ended at Essex and Harrison St; just southwest of there, the tracks of the bridge railway left the lower deck and curved northward into the elevated loop through the Transbay Terminal that was paved for buses after rail service ended.

There were three original eastern approaches: a viaduct from the end of Cypress Street (State Route 17) in Oakland; a viaduct from the end of 38th Street (U.S. Route 50) at San Pablo Avenue in Oakland; and the Eastshore Highway which carried U.S. Route 40 along the shoreline of Albany, Berkeley and Emeryville.[citation needed]

Until the 1960s the upper deck (58 feet (18 m) wide between curbs) carried three lanes of traffic in each direction and was restricted to automobiles only.[19] Eastward view after freeways The lower deck carried three lanes of truck and auto traffic on the north side.[19] In the 1950s traffic lights were added to set the direction of travel in the middle lane, but still with no divider. Two railroad tracks on the south half of the lower deck carried the electric commuter trains of the Southern Pacific, the Key System, and the Sacramento Northern railroad, although train service across the bridge to the San Francisco Transbay Terminal did not begin until January 15, 1939.[30] An overhead catenary supplied power to the Southern Pacific and Sacramento Northern trains while the Key trains used a third rail. After 1941, only the Key System used these tracks; railroad service on the bridge ended in April 1958.[19]

The Bay Bridge rebuilding (five westbound lanes on the upper deck and five eastbound lanes on the lower deck) was completed October 12, 1963.[citation needed] Tolls were collected in both directions until September 1969, when toll collection westbound only began.[citation needed]

The Federal highway on the bridge was originally a concurrency of U.S. Highway 40 and U.S. Highway 50. The bridge was re-designated as Interstate 80 in 1964, and U.S. 40 and U.S. 50 were eventually cut back to Utah and Sacramento, respectively.

The off-ramps for Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island are unusual in that they are on the left-hand side both in the eastbound and westbound directions. The eastbound off ramp presents an unusual hazard - users must slow within the normal traffic flow and move into a very short off-ramp that ends in a short radius turn left turn (a 15 MPH advisory is posted). The turn has been further narrowed from its original design by the installation of crash pads on the island side. Eastbound and westbound on-ramps are on the usual right-hand side, but they do not have dedicated merge lanes; drivers must await a gap in the traffic and then accelerate from a stop sign to traffic speeds in a short distance.

Modification to remove rail service (1960)[edit]

Daytime view of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco seen from Yerba Buena Island
A scenic view of the Bay Bridge from the Bank of America building.

Automobile traffic increased dramatically in the ensuing decades while the Key System declined, and in October 1963, the Bay Bridge was reconfigured with five lanes of westbound traffic on the upper deck and five lanes of eastbound traffic on the lower deck. Trucks were allowed on both decks and the railroad was removed.[19] Owing to a lack of clearance for trucks through the upper-deck portion of the Yerba Buena tunnel, it was necessary to lower the elevation of the upper deck where it passes through the tunnel, and to correspondingly excavate to lower the elevation of the lower portion.[31] This work was done while the Bay Bridge was in use by using a movable temporary span over the portion being lowered. On the lower deck of the tunnel and its eastern viaduct extension, it was necessary to remove central supports, with each transverse beam (of reinforced concrete) being doubled to take the load across all lanes.[citation needed] It was also necessary to further reinforce each beam supporting the upper deck throughout the entire span, modifications still visible to the traveler.[citation needed]

Aircraft accident (1968)[edit]

On Sunday, February 11, 1968, a U.S. Navy training aircraft crashed into the cantilever span of the bridge, killing both reserve officers aboard. The T2V SeaStar, based at NAS Los Alamitos in southern California, was on a routine weekend mission and had just taken off in the fog from nearby NAS Alameda. The plane impacted the bridge about 15 feet (5 m) above the upper deck roadway and then sank in the bay north of the bridge.[32] There were no injuries among the motorists on the bridge.[33] One of the truss sections of the bridges was replaced due to damage from the impact.[34]

Cable lighting (1986)[edit]

The series of lights adorning the suspension cables was added in 1986 as part of the bridge's 50th-anniversary celebration.[35]

Public light show installation (2013)[edit]

On March 5, 2013, a public art installation called "The Bay Lights" was activated on the western span's vertical cables. The installation was designed by artist Leo Villareal and consists of 25,000 LED lights. It will be on display nightly until 2015.[36] In order to reduce driver distractions, the privately funded display is not visible to users of the bridge, only to distant observers. This lighting effort is intended to form part of a larger project to "light the bay"[37] Villareal used various algorithms to generate patterns such as rainfall, reflections on water, bird flight, expanding rings, and others. Villareal's patterns and transitions will be sequenced and their duration determined by computerized random number generator to make each viewing experience unique.[38] Owing to the efficiency of the LED system the estimated operating cost is only US $15.00 per night.

view of Bay Bridge lights from a pier next to the Ferry Building in San Francisco

Earthquake damage and subsequent upgrades[edit]

Collapsed section of roadway deck, 1989

During the evening of October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which measured 6.9 on the moment magnitude scale,[39] a 50-foot (15 m) section of the upper deck of the eastern truss portion of the bridge at Pier E9 collapsed onto the deck below, indirectly causing one death. The bridge was closed for just over a month as construction crews repaired the section. It reopened on November 18 of that year. The lighter pavement of the replacement section is visible in aerial photographs, at the east end of the through-truss part of the bridge (37°49′08″N 122°20′39″W / 37.8189°N 122.3442°W / 37.8189; -122.3442 (location of failed span)).

Western span retrofitting[edit]

The western suspension span has undergone extensive seismic retrofitting. During the retrofit, much of the structural steel supporting the bridge deck was replaced while the bridge remained open to traffic. Engineers accomplished this by using methods similar to those employed on the Chicago Skyway reconstruction project.

The entire bridge was fabricated using hot steel rivets, which are impossible to heat treat and so remain relatively soft. Analysis showed that these could fail by shearing under extreme stress. Therefore at most locations each given rivet was removed by breaking off the head with a jack-hammer [rivet buster] and punching out the old rivet, the hole precision reamed and the old rivets replaced with heat-treated high-strength tension-control [TC] bolts and nuts. Most bolts had domed heads placed facing traffic so they looked similar to the rivets that were removed.[Caltrans contract 04-0435U4, 1999-2004]. This work had to be performed with great care as the steel of the structure had for many years been painted with lead based paint, which had to be carefully removed and contained by workers with extensive protective gear.[citation needed]

Obsolete hot riveted laced ties (left, eastern span) and bolted box beam retrofit (right, western span)

Most of the beams were originally constructed of two plate I-beams joined with lattices of flat strip or angle stock, depending upon structural requirements. These have all been reconstructed by replacing the riveted lattice elements with bolted steel plate and so converting the lattice beams into box beams. This replacement included adding face plates to the large diagonal beams joining the faces of the main towers, which now have an improved appearance when viewed from certain angles.

Diagonal box beams have been added to each bay of the upper and lower decks of the western spans. These add stiffness to reduce side-to-side motion during an earthquake and reduce the probability of damage to the decking surfaces.

Analysis showed that some massive concrete supports could burst and crumble under likely stresses. In particular the western supports were extensively modified. First, the location of existing reinforcing bar is determined using magnetic techniques. In areas between bars holes are drilled. Into these holes is inserted and glued an L-shaped bar that protrudes 15 to 25 centimeters (6 to 10 inches).[citation needed] This bar is retained in the hole with a high-strength epoxy adhesive. The entire surface of the structure is thus covered with closely spaced protrusions. A network of horizontal and vertical reinforcing bars is then attached to these protrusions. Mold surface plates are then positioned to retain high-strength concrete, which is then pumped into the void. After removal of the formwork the surface appears similar to the original concrete. This technique has been applied elsewhere throughout California to improve freeway overpass abutments and some overpass central supports which have unconventional shapes. (Other techniques such as jacket and grout are applied to simple vertical posts; see the seismic retrofit article.)

The western approaches have also been retrofitted in part, but mostly these have been replaced with new construction of reinforced concrete.

Eastern span replacement[edit]

For various reasons, the eastern span would have been too expensive to retrofit compared to replacing it, so the decision was made to replace it.

The replacement span underwent a series of design changes, both progressive and regressive, with increasing cost estimates and contractor bids. The final plan included a single-towered self-anchored suspension span starting at Yerba Buena island, leading to a long viaduct to the Oakland touchdown.[citation needed]

Separated and protected bicycle lanes are a visually prominent feature on the south side of the new east span. The bikeway will carry recreational and commuter cyclists between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island, but the connection to the island will not be completed until the S-curve is demolished, planned for late 2014 or 2015[citation needed]. Until that time cyclists and pedestrians must turn around and return to Oakland. The original eastern cantilever span had firefighting dry standpipes installed. No firefighting dry or wet standpipes were designed for the eastern span replacement, although, the firefighting wet standpipes do exist on the original western suspension span visible on both the north-side upper and lower decks.[citation needed]

The original east span closed permanently to traffic on August 28, 2013 at 8pm, 24 years after the Loma Prieta earthquake. The replacement span opened for traffic on September 2, 2013.[citation needed]

Eastern span – original and replacement

October 2009 eyebar crack, repair failure and bridge closure[edit]

During the 2009 Labor Day weekend closure for a portion of the replacement, a major crack was found in an eyebar, significant enough to warrant bridge closure.[40] Working in parallel with the retrofit, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and its contractors and subcontractors, were able to design, engineer, fabricate, and install the pieces required to repair the bridge, delaying its planned opening by only 1½ hours. The repair was not inspected by the Federal Highway Administration, who relied on state inspection reports to ensure safety guidelines were met.[41]

On October 27, 2009, during the evening commute, the steel crossbeam and two steel tie rods repaired over Labor Day weekend[42] snapped off the Bay Bridge's eastern span and fell to the upper deck.[43][44][45] The cause may have been due to metal-on-metal vibration from bridge traffic and wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour (90 km/h) causing failure of one rod which broke off, which then led to the metal section crashing down.[46] Three vehicles were either struck by or hit the fallen debris, though there were no injuries.[47][48][49][50] On November 1, Caltrans announced that the bridge would probably stay closed at least through the morning commute of Monday, November 2, after repairs performed during the weekend failed a stress test on Sunday.[51] BART and the Golden Gate Ferry systems added supplemental service to accommodate the increased passenger load during the bridge closure.[52] The bridge reopened to traffic on November 2, 2009.

The pieces which broke off on October 27 were a saddle, crossbars, and two tension rods.[47][53] For additional details see the Eastern span replacement of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge article.

Name[edit]

The bridge was "unofficially dedicated" to James B. "Sunny Jim" Rolph, Jr.,[54] but this was not widely recognized until the bridge's 50th-anniversary celebrations in 1986. The official name of the bridge for all functional purposes has always been the "San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge," and, by most local people, it is referred to simply as "the Bay Bridge."

Rolph, a Mayor of San Francisco from 1912 to 1931, was the Governor of California at the time construction of the bridge began. He died in office on June 2, 1934, two years before the bridge opened, leaving the bridge to be named for him out of respect.[19] However, due to the opposition of Joseph R. Knowland, publisher of the Oakland Tribune at the time, recognition of Rolph was withheld.[citation needed] In 1932, with an inability to finance the bridge, Joseph R. Knowland, (a former US Congressman) travelled to Washington and helped to persuade President Herbert Hoover and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to advance $62 million for the building of the bridge.

A plaque honoring Rolph's contribution originally was placed at the west end of the bridge in San Francisco, then was moved to the corner of Fifth and Bryant Streets in 1986 and removed entirely by Caltrans in 2006.

Emperor Norton naming campaigns[edit]

In 1872, the San Francisco entrepreneur and eccentric Emperor Norton (c.1818-1880) issued three proclamations calling for the design and construction of a suspension bridge between San Francisco and Oakland via Yerba Buena Island (formerly Goat Island).[55]

A 1939 plaque honoring Emperor Norton for the original idea for the Bay Bridge was commissioned by the fraternal society E Clampus Vitus and initially was displayed at The Cliff House. In the late 1980s or early 1990s, the plaque was moved to the Transbay Terminal, the public transit and Greyhound bus depot at the west end of the bridge in downtown San Francisco. When the terminal was closed in 2010, the plaque was placed in storage.[56]

There have been two recent campaigns to name all, or parts, of the Bay Bridge for Emperor Norton.[57]

2004[edit]

In November 2004, after a campaign by San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Phil Frank, then-San Francisco District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced a resolution to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors calling for the entire two-bridge system, from San Francisco to Oakland, to be named for Emperor Norton.[58]

On 14 December 2004, the Board approved a modified version of this resolution, calling for only "new additions" — i.e., the new eastern crossing — to be named "The Emperor Norton Bridge".[17] Neither the City of Oakland nor Alameda County passed any similar resolution, so the effort went no further.

2013[edit]

In June 2013, nine members of the California State Assembly, joined by two members of the California State Senate, introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 65 (ACR 65) to name the western crossing of the bridge for former California Assembly Speaker and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.[59]

In response, there have been two online petitions seeking to revive the earlier Emperor Norton effort.[citation needed]

A petition launched in July 2013 and drafted by John Ginn called for the western span of the bridge to be named for Emperor Norton. The petition attracted 500-plus signatures before closing in September 2013.[60]

A second, ongoing petition, drafted by John Lumea, was launched in August 2013, and — echoing Aaron Peskin's original 2004 resolution — calls for the entire two-bridge system to be named for Emperor Norton.[61] This petition has received coverage from the San Francisco Bay Guardian,[62] SFist,[63] Laughing Squid,[64] and The Raw Story,[65] as well as from Mozilla and Netscape co-founder Jamie Zawinski.[66] It currently has 5,100-plus signatures.

2014[edit]

The state legislative resolution naming the western span of the Bay Bridge the "Willie L. Brown, Jr., Bridge" passed the Assembly in August 2013 and the Senate in September 2013.[67] A ceremony was held on February 11, 2014, marking the resolution and the installation of signs on either end of the span.[68]

The larger entity of which the western span is a part retains the separate and independent designation "San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge."[69]

Financing and tolls[edit]

The lighted bridge under fog as seen from Treasure Island

When the Bay Bridge opened in 1936, the toll was 65 cents, collected in each direction.[35] Within months, the toll was lowered to 50 cents in order to compete with the ferry system, and finally to 25 cents since this was shown sufficient to pay off the original revenue bonds on schedule.[citation needed] As with other bridges of the era, passage was supposed to become free after completion of the repayment of the original bonds.

In the interest of reducing the cost of collecting tolls and of building additional toll booths, all bridges in the Bay Area were converted to collect tolls in only one direction, with the toll amount collected doubled.

Tolls were subsequently raised to finance improvements to the bridge approaches, required to connect with new freeways, and to subsidize public transit in order to reduce the traffic over the bridge.

Caltrans, the state highway transportation agency, maintains seven of the eight San Francisco Bay Area bridges. (The Golden Gate Bridge is owned and maintained by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.)

The basic toll (for automobiles) on the seven state bridges was raised to $1 by Regional Measure 1, approved by Bay Area voters in 1988.[70] A $1 seismic retrofit surcharge was added in 1998 by the state legislature, originally for eight years, but since then extended to December 2037 (AB1171, October 2001).[71] On March 2, 2004, voters approved Regional Measure 2, raising the toll by another dollar to a total of $3. An additional dollar was added to the toll starting January 1, 2007, to cover cost overruns concerning the replacement of the eastern span.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional transportation agency, in its capacity as the Bay Area Toll Authority, administers RM1 and RM2 funds, a significant portion of which are allocated to public transit capital improvements and operating subsidies in the transportation corridors served by the bridges. Caltrans administers the "second dollar" seismic surcharge, and receives some of the MTC-administered funds to perform other maintenance work on the bridges. The Bay Area Toll Authority is made up of appointed officials put in place by various city and county governments, and is not subject to direct voter oversight.[72]

Due to further funding shortages for seismic retrofit projects, the Bay Area Toll Authority again raised tolls on all Bay Area bridges (excluding the Golden Gate Bridge) in July 2010.[73] The toll rate for autos on other Bay Area bridges was increased to US$5, but in the Bay Bridge a variable pricing tolling scheme based on congestion was implemented. The Bay Bridge congestion pricing scheme charges a US$6 toll from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. During weekends cars pay US$5. Carpools before the implementation were exempted but now they pay US$2.50, and the carpool toll discount is now also available only to drivers with FasTrak electronic toll devices. The toll remained at the previous toll of US$4 at all other times on weekdays.[74][75] The Bay Area Toll Authority reported that by October 2010 fewer users are driving during the peak hours and more vehicles are crossing the Bay Bridge before and after the 5-10 a.m. period in which the congestion toll goes into effect. Commute delays in the first six months dropped by an average of 15% compared with 2009.[76][77] For vehicles with more than two axles, the toll rate is US$5 per axle, regardless of the time of day.[78]

Panorama, 2007
Panorama, 2007

Popular culture[edit]

The bridge has appeared in many movies, including: Fly-Away Baby, Shadow of the Thin Man, The Graduate, Koyaanisqatsi, George of the Jungle, and 2012. The bridge has appeared in the video games: Resistance 2, Need for Speed: The Run, Midtown Madness 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rig'n'Roll, and Driver San Francisco.

It has also appeared in such science fiction novels as William Gibson's futuristic Bridge trilogy, George R. Stewart's "Earth Abides", and Cory Doctorow's novel Little Brother, as well as the graphic novel How Loathsome.[79]

The new eastern span is featured in the NBA's Golden State Warriors' logo as of the 2011 season.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form". National Park Service – USDoI. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  2. ^ San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Archived 1 November 2010 at WebCite
  3. ^ a b "Welcome to the Traffic Data Branch - 2012AADT link". California Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Bridge Facts San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge". Bay Area Toll Authority, 43.4 million toll-paid vehicles (86.8 million trips) annually. 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  6. ^ "San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge (West)". Structurae. Nicolas Janberg. 2006-05-12. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  7. ^ "San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge (East)". Structurae. Nicolas Janberg. 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  8. ^ 2008 Named Freeways, Highways, Structures and Other Appurtenances in California. California Department of Transportation. January 2009. p. 41. 
  9. ^ "First Cars Cross SF-Oakland Bay Bridge's New Span". ABC News. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  10. ^ http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/6000/widest-bridge
  11. ^ "San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge". Bay Bridge Public Information Office. 2009-09-08. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  12. ^ "Self-Anchored Suspension (SAS) Span". Caltrans. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 15 July 2010. "Anticipated Completion Date: late 2013" 
  13. ^ a b "Yerba Buena Crossing (Contract No. 04-5) – As Built Drawings" Caltrans 2006
  14. ^ "Rebounding Economy Prompts Rise in Freeway Congestion" (Press release). Metropolitan Transportation Commission. 2005-09-14. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2008-07-12. 
  15. ^ "Caltrans District 4 Bicycle Resources". California Department of Transportation. 2008-07-14. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  16. ^ "Complimentary to Selby, Ralston and Otis.". San Francisco Real Estate Circular. April 1872. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  17. ^ a b Herel, Suzanne (2004-12-15). "Emperor Norton's name may yet span the bay". San Francisco Chronicle (Hearst Communications). pp. A–1. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2008-07-12. 
  18. ^ Crane, Lorin P. (April 1913). "Proposed Suspension Bridge Over San Francisco Bay". Overland Monthly 61 (4): 375–77. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge Facts at a glance". Caltrans toll bridge program. California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2008-07-12. 
  20. ^ Nolte, Carl (1997-05-07). "The Navy's Last Detail". San Francisco Chronicle (Hearst Communications Inc.). Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  21. ^ "Billions for Building". TIME XXII (4) (New York: Time Inc.). 1933-07-24. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2008-12-17. 
  22. ^ Leboski, pp. 339–40
  23. ^ "World's Largest Bridge rest on sunken skyscrapers" Popular Science, February 1935
  24. ^ Petroski, p. 340
  25. ^ Reisner, p. 113
  26. ^ San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Lower Deck Eastbound Drive http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9Eo5-PpPVU
  27. ^ "Two Bay Area Bridges". US Department of Transportation. 2005-01-18. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  28. ^ "Caltrans Facts/Information". Caltrans. Archived from the original on 2007-04-07. Retrieved 2007-02-04. 
  29. ^ Bay Bridge Half Dollar
  30. ^ Ford, Robert S. Red Trains in the East Bay (1977) Interurbans Publications ISBN 978-0-916374-27-3 p.258
  31. ^ Bernard McGloin, John (1978). San Francisco, the Story of a City. San Francisco (California): Presidio Press. ISBN 978-0-89141-045-4. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. 
  32. ^ "Jet Smashes Into Bay Span". Lodi News-Sentinel. United Press International. February 12, 1968. p. 1. 
  33. ^ "Bay Bridge rammed by Navy jet trainer". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. February 12, 1968. p. 2. 
  34. ^ "The Battle of the Bay Bridge". Check-Six.com. 2002. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  35. ^ a b "East Span News". California Department of Transportation. May 2002. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  36. ^ Wollan, Malia (2013-03-04). "Long-Overshadowed Bay Bridge Will Go From Drab Gray to Glowing". The New York Times. 
  37. ^ The Bay Lights (thebaylights.org)
  38. ^ Bay Bridge light display dazzles San Francisco Includes video (following a too-long advertisement)
  39. ^ "Historic Earthquakes". United States Geological Survey. 2008-01-25. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  40. ^ DiGiacomo, Janet (2009-09-06). "Officials: Crack may keep Bay Bridge closed past Tuesday". San Francisco, California: CNN. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  41. ^ Dearen, Jason; Sudhin Thanawala (2009-10-28). "Bay Bridge failure stirs fear, anger over new span". San Francisco Examiner. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  42. ^ "Emergency repair and detour connection completed on Bay Bridge.". Press Release (Bay Bridge Public Information Office). 2009-09-08. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  43. ^ Michael Cabanatuan; Jaxon Van Derbeken; Jill Tucker; Carolyn Jones (2009-10-29). "Bridge parts couldn't take the wind". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. 
  44. ^ Bay Bridge Closed for Eyebar Assessment and Repair Caltrans. Retrieved October 29, 2009.[dead link]
  45. ^ photograph of bridge damage by commuter directly behind it Archived 1 November 2010 at WebCite
  46. ^ Bay Bridge closed indefinitely. KGO-TV-7 ABC7News. October 28, 2009, 9:33 pm.
  47. ^ a b Leff, John and Lisa Leff; Marshall, John (2009-10-28). "Tough commute likely after Bay Bridge rod snaps". seattletimes.com (The Seattle Times). Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  48. ^ Jason Dearin; Sudhin Thanawala (2009-10-28). "No estimate when Bay Bridge will open". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  49. ^ Michael Cabanatuan; Justin Berton (2009-10-28). "Bay Bridge closed after repair falls apart". The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. 
  50. ^ "Bay Bridge will remain closed for 'a few days'". Los Angeles Times. 2009-10-28. [dead link]
  51. ^ Jones, Carolyn (2009-11-02). "Bay Bridge stays closed". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. 
  52. ^ Denis Cuff; Janis Mara (2009-10-28). "Extra ferry, BART trains planned for morning commute". Contra Costa Times. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. 
  53. ^ KSBW Action News Sunrise (5-7am), October 28, 2009
  54. ^ "Named Freeways, Highways,Structures and Other Appurtenances in California", California Department of Transportation, 2013, p. 43.
  55. ^ The Emperor's Bridge Campaign, "Emperor Norton's Bridge Proclamations."
  56. ^ The Emperor's Bridge Campaign, "1939 Plaque."
  57. ^ The Emperor's Bridge Campaign, "Naming Efforts."
  58. ^ Resolution in Support of the Emperor Norton Bridge, introduced to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors by District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin, 2004.
  59. ^ California Legislature, 2013-14 Regular Session, Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 65 – Relative to the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Bridge, 12 June 2013.
  60. ^ John Ginn, Name the San Francisco Bridge after Emperor Norton I, petition at thePetitionSite.com, July 2013.
  61. ^ John Lumea, Name the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for Emperor Norton, petition at Change.org, August 2013.
  62. ^ Justin Slaughter, "Petition to name Bay Bridge after Emperor Norton gains 1,000 signatures", San Francisco Bay Guardian, 13 August 2013.
  63. ^ Andrew Dalton, "Effort To Rename Bay Bridge After Emperor Norton Revived By Online Petition", SFist, 6 August 2013.
  64. ^ EDW Lynch, "Petition Calls for San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge To Be Named After Emperor Norton", Laughing Squid, 7 August 2013.
  65. ^ Eric Dolan, "Petition to name San Francisco’s Bay Bridge after Emperor Norton gains support", The Raw Story, 13 August 2013.
  66. ^ Jamie Zawinski, "Emperor Norton Bridge, Second Try", jwz.org, 7 August 2013.
  67. ^ Official California Legislative Information, "Documents associated with ACR 65," Legislative Counsel of California.
  68. ^ http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2014/02/11/behold-the-willie-l-brown-jr-bridge/
  69. ^ "Named Freeways, Highways,Structures and Other Appurtenances in California", California Department of Transportation, 2013, p. 43.
  70. ^ Regional Measure 1 Toll Bridge Program. bata.mtc.ca.gov; Bay Area Toll Authority. Archived 1 November 2010 at WebCite
  71. ^ Dutra, John (2001-10-14). "AB 1171 Assembly Bill – Chaptered". California State Assembly. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  72. ^ "About MTC". Metropolitan Transportation Commission. 2009-10-15. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  73. ^ "Frequently Asked Toll Questions". Bay Area Toll Authority. 2010-06-01. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  74. ^ "Toll Increase Information". Bay Area Toll Authority. 2010-06-01. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  75. ^ Michael Cabanatuan (2010-05-13). "Reminder: Bridge tolls go up July 1". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  76. ^ Michael Cabanatuan (2011-01-12). "Conflicting findings on Bay Bridge congestion toll". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  77. ^ "Bay Bridge Traffic Decreases After Congestion Pricing". ABC News San Francisco. 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  78. ^ "Toll Increase Information: Multi-Axle Vehicles". Bay Area Toll Authority. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  79. ^ How Loathsome (Hardcover) by Ted Naifeh & Tristan Crane, Amazon Books

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Note: The Transbay Tube crosses the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, so it is both north and south of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge.