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By Paul Losch

New Bay Bridge Eastern Span

Uploaded: Aug 26, 2013

I do not have occasion to drive on the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge these days, unlike a prior time in my life.

Still, I do use it from time to time, and the risk of rubber-necking, I have tried to understand just what this replacement portion of the bridge would be like.

One can look at this a bunch of ways. I will offer one. I hope other readers provide other thoughts.

My thought is about design.

The cantilever bridge that is coming done is ugly, and reflective of the time it was built, namely in the midst of the 1930's depression, and a time of public works employment. Rosie the Riveter mentality. I don't have the civil engineering background to understand why this approach was taken for the span. It was acceptable for years until the 1989 earthquake, and it has taken this long to replace it.

It always has been ugly from a design standpoint.

The new replacement span has been a boondoggle from a spending standpoint, and some of the shenanigans around some of its construction components raise questions about how much safer it is than what it replaces.

But from a design standpoint, my opinion is that it is a thing of beauty, much more in place with the San Francisco persona than its predecessor.

I just hope it is safe to drive.