A Tale Of Two Bridges
05/21/2017 1:53 PM
The SF Oakland Bay Bridge open in 2013 and is showing water damage and rust its first year.
The old rusty bridge it replaces was built in 1936 and has survived earthquakes.
|The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (known locally as the Bay Bridge) is a complex of bridges spanning San Francisco Bay in California. As part of Interstate 80 and the direct road between San Francisco and Oakland, it carries about 240,000 vehicles a day on its two decks. It has one of the longest spans in the United States.
The toll bridge was conceived as early as the gold rush days, but construction did not begin until 1933. Designed by Charles H. Purcell, and built by American Bridge Company, it opened on November 12, 1936, six months before the Golden Gate Bridge. It originally carried automobile traffic on its upper deck, and trucks and trains on the lower, but after the closure of the Key System transit lines, the lower deck was converted to road traffic as well. In 1986 the bridge was unofficially dedicated to James Rolph.
The bridge has two sections of roughly equal length; the older western section connects downtown San Francisco to Yerba Buena Island and the newer eastern section connects the island to Oakland. The western section is a double suspension bridge. Originally, the largest span of the original eastern section was a cantilever bridge. During the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, a section of the eastern section’s upper deck collapsed onto the lower deck and the bridge was closed for a month. Reconstruction of the eastern section of the bridge as a causeway connected to a self-anchored suspension bridge began in 2002; the new bridge opened September 2, 2013 at a reported cost of over $6.5 billion and is currently the world’s widest bridge, according to Guinness World Records.
Cartier vs. Champlain: A Tale of Two Bridges
|As explorers, Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain both loom large in the history of this country. Cartier “discovered Canada” and claimed it for France in 1534, exploring and mapping first the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and later the Saint Lawrence River. Champlain, for his part, set up the French settlement in 1608 that was to become Quebec City, and explored and mapped the Great Lakes.As Montreal bridges, however, the Jacques Cartier far outshines the Champlain. Most obviously, the Jacques Cartier was opened to traffic in 1930 and is still in good shape 80 years later. The Champlain was opened to traffic in 1962 and is falling apart only 50 years down the road. Their histories—and today’s proposals for rebuilding the Champlain—are a sad indictment of how some things have changed for the worse in Canada over the last hundred years.
The Roaring 20s
The ground breaking ceremony for the Jacques Cartier Bridge was held on May 26, 1925, according to the website of The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI), the crown corporation that has managed and maintained—or failed to maintain—both bridges since 1978. The Jacques Cartier was completed almost a year and a half ahead of schedule, in December 1929 instead of May 1931, as planned. It cost $20 million to build, the equivalent of around $262 million in today’s money, according to the Bank of Canada’s Inflation Calculator
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