The Eastern Span's Good Luck Charm

The Bay Bridge eastern span holds a little known lucky charm

Enough already. Thousands of drivers today are asking themselves what's going on with the eastern span of the Bay Bridge -- and the upper deck in particular.

There is no question there have been calamities on that particular stretch of road. Some believe the road is cursed, but those who dig a little deeper might just find the opposite to be true. The stretch of road may actually be a place of miracles.

Just a few weeks ago, a Safeway truck filled with food overturned just before Treasure Island.  The clean up took six hours and snarled  traffic for miles because the food had to be off-loaded one morsel at a time.

The most infamous incident happened exactly 20 years and 11 days ago when the Loma Prieta earthquake collapsed a 50-foot section of the bridge's upper deck onto the deck below.  

Then Tuesday a 5,000-pound chunk of metal on the end of a huge cable, snapped off and hurled itself toward cars, taking out three in the process.   View images here.

All three happened on the Oakland side of the upper deck. 

During the Loma Prieta quake, one woman died on the bridge. When workers repaired the bridge, they wanted to leave behind a protector, something to keep drivers safe in future disasters. Iron workers gave a Bay artist a piece of the bridge and asked him to make a mascot of sorts.

Out those artsy hands was born an 18-inch-tall iron creature, holding what looks like a wrench.  You can watch an archived report on the troll or gargoyle at the bottom of this article.

Caltrans says the troll was put there to protect the bridge from future earthquakes.  It just may be protecting drivers at the same time.

The Safeway truck slammed to its side without so much as scratching the driver or any other cars.  At the time that fact was called miraculous.  The "miracle" word is also being used described the snapped cable.  That happened at 5:30 p.m., when the bridge was packed with evening commuters -- and no one was hurt.

So whether we need to thank God in heaven or a little-known troll, miracles do happen here in the Bay.

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