SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Demolition crews began dismantling the final section of the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge Tuesday, removing the last remnants of a structure that graced the San Francisco Bay skyline for more than 80 years.
The 288-foot truss is the last of 19 that once supported two miles of roadway connecting San Francisco with the East Bay communities from Yerba Buena Island.
The span became a symbol of the power of the 1989 Loma Preita earthquake when a section of its upper deck collapsed. It was replaced by a seismically upgraded bridge in 2013.
“The deconstruction of the old eastern span is a fantastic story of incredible design, incredible deconstruction,” said Brian Maroney, Caltrans Toll Bridge Chief Engineer, in a prepared statement.
The 1.7 million pound piece of the old span will be sectioned off and carefully lowered to a barge then taken to Oakland for recycling.
“The old east span was a dynamic and tremendous engineering feat of its era, “ said Dan McElinney, Caltrans chief deputy director. “It served us very well.
Much more than the engineers in 1936 could have imagined.”
The removal of the ‘high steel’ is being completed more than 2 years ahead of schedule.
Demolition teams will now concentrate on removing the remaining concrete pedestals that supported the trusses. McElinney said implosions of those pedestals would begin in the fall.
The bike and pedestrian path will be closed Tuesday during the truss removal operation.