San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge
|San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge|
The bridge's western span in 2006
|Carries||10 lanes of I-80, and pedestrians and bicycles east of Yerba Buena Island (YBI).|
|Crosses||San Francisco Bay
|Locale||San Francisco and Oakland|
|Maintained by||Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority|
|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|
|Total length||West: 10,304 ft (3,141 m)
East span: 10,176 ft (3,102 m)
Total: 4.46 miles (7.18 km)
|Width||West: 5 traffic lanes totaling 57.5 ft (17.5 m)|
|Height||West: 526 ft (160 m)|
|Longest span||West: two main spans
2,310 ft (704 m)
East: one main span
1,400 ft (430 m)
|Vertical clearance||Westbound minimum 14 feet (4.3 m), with additional clearance in some lanes|
|Clearance below||West: 220 feet (67 m)
East: 191 feet (58 m)
|Construction begin||July 8, 1933|
|Opened||West Span: November 12, 1936
East Span (original): November 12, 1936
East Span (replacement): September 2, 2013
|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)
The eastern side of the city of San Francisco, with the western side of the city of Oakland
|Designated:||August 13, 2001|
The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (known locally as the Bay Bridge) is a complex of bridges spanning San Francisco Bay of the U.S. state of California. As part of Interstate 80 and the direct road route between San Francisco and Oakland, it carries approximately 240,000 vehicles per day on its two decks. 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, and built by American Bridge Company, it opened for traffic 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 B. Rolph.
The bridge consists of 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 half 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 and is currently the world's widest bridge, according to Guinness World Records.
- 1 Composition
- 2 History
- 3 Earthquake damage and subsequent upgrades
- 4 Name
- 5 Financing and tolls
- 6 Popular culture
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The bridge consists of two major crossings connecting each shore with Yerba Buena Island, a natural outcropping located mid-bay that is part of the city of San Francisco. The Western crossing lies between Yerba Buena and downtown San Francisco. It is composed of two complete suspension spans connected at a center anchorage. The top of the Rincon Hill neighborhood serves as 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 that consisted of a double-tower span, five medium truss spans, and a 14-section truss causeway. Due to earthquake concerns, the eastern crossing was replaced by an entirely new crossing that opened on Labor Day 2013. On Yerba Buena Island, the double-decked crossing consists of 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.[dated info] The viaduct sections east of the tunnel are at present 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 dedicated FasTrak lanes. Mainline metering signals are located approximately 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 are permitted to use these lanes during weekday morning and afternoon commute periods. The two far-left toll lanes are operated as high-occupancy vehicle lanes during weekday morning and afternoon commute periods. During the morning commute hours, traffic congestion on the Oakland approach stretches back onto the three feeder highways, Interstate 580, Interstate 880, and Interstate 80 toward Richmond, California. 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.
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 ever 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 still pay the full toll.
San Francisco, located at the mouth of the bay, was in a perfect location 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 found itself to be 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.
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.
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. 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.
To make the bridge design feasible, its route was chosen to pass through Yerba Buena Island (formerly known as Goat Island in 1870s), significantly reducing the amount of material and construction labor needed to build a trans-bay crossing. Yerba Buena Island was a U.S. Navy base at the time (and until 1997). 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.
The chief engineer was Ralph Modjeski, a Polish-American. Construction began on July 9, 1933. 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. 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. 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.
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. The cantilever section was longest in the nation and third-longest anywhere.
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.
Yerba Buena Tunnel
Connecting the two halves of the bridge is Yerba Buena Tunnel, measuring 76 feet (23 m) wide, 58 feet (18 m) high, and 540 feet (160 m) long. It is the largest diameter transportation bore tunnel in the world.
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.)
The bridge was opened to traffic on November 12, 1936, at 12:30 p.m. Among those in attendance were the former U.S. president Herbert Hoover, Senator William G. McAdoo, and the Governor of California, Frank Merriam. Governor Merriam officially opened the bridge by cutting gold chains across the traffic lanes with an acetylene cutting torch. The San Francisco Chronicle report of November 13, 1936 read:
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 of construction for the bridge was $77 million. Prior to its opening, the bridge was blessed by Cardinal Secretary of State Eugene Cardinal Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII. 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.
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 also 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.
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. Eastward view after freeways The lower deck carried three lanes of truck and auto traffic on the north side. 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. 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.
The Bay Bridge rebuilding (five westbound lanes on the upper deck and five eastbound lanes on the lower deck) was completed October 12, 1963. Tolls were collected in both directions until September 1969, when toll collection from westbound traffic only began.
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 for improved traffic flow (1960)
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. 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. 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. It was also necessary to further reinforce each beam supporting the upper deck throughout the entire span, modifications still visible to the traveler.
Aircraft accident (1968)
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. There were no injuries among the motorists on the bridge. One of the truss sections of the bridges was replaced due to damage from the impact.
Cable lighting (1986)
The series of lights adorning the suspension cables was added in 1986 as part of the bridge's 50th-anniversary celebration.
Public light show installation (2013)
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. 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" 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. Owing to the efficiency of the LED system the estimated operating cost is only US $15.00 per night.
Earthquake damage and subsequent upgrades
During the evening of October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which measured 6.9 on the moment magnitude scale, 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 ( ).
Western span retrofitting
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.
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). 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
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.
Separated and protected bicycle lanes are a visually prominent feature on the south side of the new east span. The bikeway carry recreational and commuter cyclists between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island, but the YBI connection will not be completed until the S-curve is demolished, planned for late 2014 or 2015. 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.
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.
Eastern span – original and replacement
October 2009 eyebar crack, repair failure and bridge closure
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. 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.
On October 27, 2009, during the evening commute, the steel crossbeam and two steel tie rods repaired over Labor Day weekend snapped off the Bay Bridge's eastern span and fell to the upper deck. 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. Three vehicles were either struck by or hit the fallen debris, though there were no injuries. 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. BART and the Golden Gate Ferry systems added supplemental service to accommodate the increased passenger load during the bridge closure. 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. For additional details see the Eastern span replacement of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge article.
An unofficial name of the bridge is The James "Sunny Jim" Rolph Bridge – but this name has rarely been used, and it 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 widely referred to as simply "The Bay Bridge".
James Rolph, a Mayor of San Francisco from 1912 to 1931, was the Governor of California at the time construction 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. However, due to the opposition of Joseph R. Knowland, publisher of the Oakland Tribune at the time, recognition of Rolph was withheld. 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.
Emperor Norton naming campaigns
There have been two recent campaigns to name all, or parts, of the Bay Bridge for Emperor Norton, who in 1872 called for the construction of a suspension bridge between San Francisco and Oakland, via Yerba Buena Island (formerly Goat Island).
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 bridge to be named for Emperor Norton.
On 14 December 2004, the Board approved a modified version of this resolution, calling for only "new additions" — i.e., the new eastern span — to be named "The Emperor Norton Bridge". Neither the City of Oakland nor Alameda County passed any similar resolution, so the effort went no further.
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 span of the bridge for former California Assembly Speaker and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
In response, there have been two online petitions seeking to revive the earlier Emperor Norton effort.
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.
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 bridge to be named "The Emperor Norton Bay Bridge". This petition has received coverage from the San Francisco Bay Guardian, SFist, Laughing Squid, and The Raw Story, as well as from Mozilla and Netscape co-founder Jamie Zawinski. It currently has 4,600-plus signatures.
Plaques honoring the contributions of both Rolph and Norton exist. The Rolph plaque, originally placed at the west end of the bridge in San Francisco, was moved to the corner of Fifth and Bryant Streets in 1986 and removed entirely by Caltrans in 2006. The plaque honoring Emperor Norton for the original idea graces the western archway of the Transbay Terminal, the public transit depot, and the Greyhound bus depot at the west end of the bridge in downtown San Francisco.
On February 11, 2014, it was announced that the western span of the Bay Bridge was officially branded to be named in honor of Former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown as "The Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge." A sign was placed on the right where westbound drivers exit the Yerba Buena tunnel.
Financing and tolls
When the Bay Bridge opened in 1936, the toll was 65 cents, collected in each direction. 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. 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. 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). 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.
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. 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. 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. For vehicles with more than two axles, the toll rate is US$5 per axle, regardless of the time of day.
The bridge has appeared in many movies, including: Fly-Away Baby, Shadow of the Thin Man, The Graduate, Koyaanisqatsi, George of the Jungle, 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.
- 49-Mile Scenic Drive
- 2007 San Francisco Bay oil spill
- Bay Bridge Troll
- Treasure Island development
- Eastern span replacement of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.|
- Building the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (1937 documentary) United States Steel movie documentary on the building of the Bay Bridge (YouTube video 17 minutes).
- baybridgeinfo.org Site by Caltrans about all current construction on the bridge.
- California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) official Bay Bridge site
- "San Francisco To Have World's Greatest Bridge", March 1931, Popular Science
- "The Titan Of Bridges", January 1933, Popular Mechanics
- "Giant Switchboard Controls Lights on Longest Bridge" Popular Mechanics, January 1937
- "Symphonies in Steel: Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate" at The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
- "New Bay Bridge". Archived from the original on 2007-08-19.
- San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (New East Span) at Structurae
- San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (West Span) at Structurae
- San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (Old East Span) at Structurae
- Construction Photographs of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, 1931-1936, The Bancroft Library
- Film of the building of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge.
- HAER CA-32 (scanned) Historic American Engineering Record (SFOBB), history to 1999, 322 pages.
- Live Toll Prices for San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge
- 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.