Wrecking ball drops on Transbay Terminal

Wrecking ball at San Francisco's old Transbay Terminal.
December 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Crowds of children and adults in San Francisco are watching a piece of history disappear before their eyes, as a wrecking ball is destroying the old Transbay Terminal. The wrecking ball is on a red crane, called 'Big Red,' by its crew. It has a lot of concrete to pound through at 1st and Mission Streets.

This is a significant point in the Transbay Transit Center Project, marking progress of the demolition of the old terminal, in order to make room for the new. The center came to be as a terminal for the Bay Bridge. In the 1940s, about 400,000 people would pass through here any given day.

The ball is 8,000 pounds that slammed into the 71-year old Transbay Terminal. The construction activity is drawing crowds of spectators on the sidewalk and watching from above in offices of surrounding downtown buildings.

The wrecking ball will be used many more times over the next two months for demolition work. By spring, construction will begin on the sleek $4 billion terminal built of steel and glass. It will serve up to 45 million public transit passengers a year. And what's being demolished to make way for the new is not going to waste.

"The raw materials of the building, the concrete, the steel, all the steel beams and rebar are being segregated and taken away for recycling into new products. The concrete material itself we're going to be crushing here on-site, and using that to back-fill the basement and that'll be the working platform off of which we start our shoring wall construction," said Robert Beck of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.

The regional transit hub will connect the public with 11 transit systems, including the first modern high speed rail station in the U.S.. The entire project will encompass five city blocks, and include seven high rises, 2,600 housing units, office and retail space, and even a rooftop city park.

The area is being dubbed the Grand Central Station of the west. Aside from serving commuters, this project is also stimulating the economy, generating more than 134,000 jobs. The landmark new transit center is scheduled to open in 2017.


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