Monday, January 20, 2014

Around the Town: The Newish Bay Bridge

It's been nearly 24 years since the Loma Prieta earthquake sent a section of the upper deck of the Bay Bridge collapsing down onto the deck below it. It wasn't the worst of the Bay Area's damaged roads, but those of us who live here have known for the last couple decades that it would not withstand another Big One.

For the last ten years, the new safer span has been under construction. And finally, on Labor Day weekend last year, it was completed.

The strange thing is, I barely noticed the new bridge while it was going up. I knew it was happening, slowly but surely, but it wasn't particularly distracting. Maybe others paid more attention.

With the new span open, the old bridge span sits empty and dirty, waiting to be disassembled. The first few weeks were hectic as commuters slowed down while they took in the view of the old bridge and the new span they had to navigate. It was frustrating (as a fellow driver being forced to slow down), but the novelty has worn off enough now that it isn't causing the constant traffic jams.

I know I watch too much Walking Dead, but tell me this doesn't look like a herd of walkers will be coming into view any minute!

The first weekend it was open, we walked the footpath along the new freeway. Last weekend, we visited it again.

It is novel in that the old bridge had no access for pedestrians and bicyclists at all. And that it stops just short of Treasure Island which means it doesn't actually allow you to get anywhere.

It is just shy of four miles each way, which was a good walk (or an easier bike ride). And it provides a perspective of both the bridges, the Port of Oakland, and the bay that we've never really had before.

It's worth a visit if you find yourself in Oakland/Emeryville with some free time. Or wait another year, and you'll be able to walk all the way to Treaure Island!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Your shots are stunning. I really like the new bridge, but I'm glad we moved here in time to use the old bridge a few times before it shut down. Such a major transition for the city — I'm happy we got to experience it.