Bay Bridge Jumps Final Milestone

One cable, a mile long and made up of 17,399 steel wire strands now holds the entire weight of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge

By Joe Rosato Jr. and Lori Preuitt
|  Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012  |  Updated 6:23 PM PDT
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Mona Elfarra is the project director on the ground in Gaza for Berkeley based Middle East Children's Alliance...a non-profit aimed at making life better for Palestinian children in the Gaza strip. Jodi Hernandez got her perspective on the conflict.

Mona Elfarra is the project director on the ground in Gaza for Berkeley based Middle East Children's Alliance...a non-profit aimed at making life better for Palestinian children in the Gaza strip. Jodi Hernandez got her perspective on the conflict.

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Tonight, the new eastern span of Bay Bridge is doing something that it hasn't done before.

It's supporting itself. The entire 35,200 ton weight of the bridge is now supported by a single, nearly one-mile long cable.

Caltrans announced Tuesday that it has shifted the weight of the bridge deck to the cable system. The process took just under three months to complete.

"We were never really afraid we were going to drop the bridge in the Bay, but it could’ve taken us a lot longer to get this harp tuned," Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said.

Engineers say the load transfer represents the last major milestone for the project.

Before, the deck was held up by temporary supports. Those supports will now be removed.

The new bridge will be the largest self-anchored suspension span in the world. 

Caltrans says the bridge is an engineering and construction marvel that raises the bridge building bar to new heights.

The prime contractor is a joint venture of American Bridge/Fluor. The two engineering firms bring a combined 210 years of experience to this unprecedented project.

American Bridge also helped build the original bridge back in 1936.

Caltrans is now hoping for a bit of dry weather to get the rest of the work done.

Some of the things on the construction to do list include painting and installing the asphalt on the
self-anchored suspension span.

It is set to open next year on Labor Day weekend.

Key Facts:

  • Signature span of the bridge has only one tower and one main cable
  • Signature span has side by side steel roadways
  • Spans between YBI Transition and Skyway
  • Length: 2,047 ft
  • Height of tower: 525 feet
  • Largest span of its kind in the world
  • Main cable is approx 1 mile long and made up of 17,399 steel wire strands
 

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