The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was completed in 2013, took 12 years to build and cost $6.4 billion. It is the largest and most ambitious public works project in California history, in large part because it is designed to withstand a massive earthquake. Since shortly before its completion, however, the bridge has been plagued with questions about its sturdiness.

Last week Caltrans revealed that 120 of the 400 galvanized steel rods that anchor the bridges tower to its foundation are in leaky sleeves flooded with saltwater.   This presents a key vulnerability in the event of a large earthquake.

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  • Date occured Friday, 12 June 2015

The most complex public works project in California history - the Bay Bridge's new eastern span - will be finally declared complete in a few weeks. The area's landmark was based on a bold design that had never been tried on that scale and will now pass under the control of state and local authorities after 16 years of construction. 

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 11:20

Bay Bridge Deficit Expected

According to the latest projections, the new Bay Bridge eastern span will be completed $35 million over budget. Caltrans is shifting funds from other bride projects from around the state to make up the deficit. The new Bay Bridge eastern span connecting San Francisco and Oakland, California opened in September of last year.  Caltrans has been optimistic throughout the duration of the project that the completed bridge would cost less than the $6.4 billion price tag. That figure includes $900 million for cost over runs and contingencies. However, it is estimated that there is still $110 million of unfinished work left to complete the eastern span and Caltrans expects their original estimate of $100 million to tear down the old span to be lower than the actual cost. Taking into account the remaining work that needs to be done as well as cost overruns, Caltrans expects to have a $35 million deficit when the bridge is completed.

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  • Date occured Tuesday, 04 November 2014
Thursday, 19 December 2013 13:46

Bay Bridge Fix Complete

The $25 million fix for the broken rods on the Bay Bridge’s east span was finally finished last week.  After only being in place for two weeks in March, 32 of the 96 galvanized steel rods used to hold down large seismic stabilizers on the east span snapped.  Caltrans determined the failure was caused by hydrogen that was able to penetrate the rods when they were standing in hydrogen rain-rich rainwater over a five-year period. 

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  • Date occured Thursday, 12 December 2013
Monday, 18 November 2013 12:56

Old Bay Bridge Demolition Underway

Workers began tearing down the east span of the old Bay Bridge on Tuesday, nearly two months after the new bridge opened.  The demolition of the old bridge is expected to be a long, tedious process.  Construction workers will have to dismantle the bridge piece by piece.  According to one of the California Department of Transportation’s bridge engineers,  “the old bridge is the world’s largest armed bow and arrow. We have to de-string it very carefully or it will go boom.”  The $281 million demolition project is expected to take three years to complete.  This cost was already incorporated into the $6.4 billion price tag for the new bridge.  The 1.97 mile long east span opened in 1936 and is made of almost 59,000 tons of steel and 245,000 tons of concrete.  The majority of the steel will be recycled or reused, but some will be saved for a new park commemorating the old bridge.  The following link contains a great slideshow of construction crews beginning the demolition of  the bridge.

Additional Info

  • Date occured Tuesday, 12 November 2013