Demolition on Old Bay Bridge Span Underway

By Christie Smith and Bob Redell
|  Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013  |  Updated 3:23 PM PDT
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Bob Redell with the help of two NBC Bay Area photographers reports on the old Bay Bridge as demolition work begins.

Bob Redell with the help of two NBC Bay Area photographers reports on the old Bay Bridge as demolition work begins.

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Demolition About to Begin on Old Eastern Span

Demolition begins today on the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge. Christie Smith reports.
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A huge piece of Bay Area history is coming down.

Demolition begins Tuesday on the old section of the Bay Bridge.  It’s a project that could take up to three years to complete.  The deconstruction work will begins by removing 1,400 feet of the upper deck of the cantilever section, just east of Yerba Buena Island, which will take approximately six weeks to complete.

PHOTOS: New Bay Bridge Eastern Span

The span opened 77 years ago on Nov. 12, 1936, and a lot has changed since then.  The steel is old, brittle and rusty.  Every link and piece is designed with a balanced structure design.  Caltrans says it’s somewhat like a bow and arrow.  That means there is tension in the structure. 

Each piece of the old bridge must be removed carefully to avoid a section snapping apart.  In all, about 7 million tons of asphalt, concrete and steel will be removed. The cost is estimated at about $281 million.

Caltrans wants to make room to complete the bike and pedestrian path on the new span because the old span is in the way.

After the Yerba Buena Island side is complete, crews will work east.  The final part to complete is removing the foundations and supports below the water line.

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