Crews begin stringing cable for new Bay Bridge span

December 19, 2011 9:49:38 PM PST
Construction of the new Bay Bridge hit an important milestone Monday as crews began installing the first strand of the massive suspension cable that will define the eastern span.

In any major construction project, every day is crucial because it lays a foundation for the next day, and the one after that. And yet, some of those single days will be more important than others because of their symbolic value. Monday was such a day on the Bay Bridge.

"Today is a huge milestone in the construction of what will be world's largest self anchored suspension bridge. Today, this week we begin the process for putting the main cable, the piece that holds the entire bridge up," Caltrans spokesperson Bart Ney said.

Caltrans, under the direction of project director Brian Petersen, began threading the suspension cable.

"This is the day of putting it on the reel, getting it to go," Petersen said.

But they're not doing it not a wire at a time, as in previous projects. The sections of cable come pre-assembled in wrapped strand

Each of the 137, one mile long strands will travel up the bridge, loop around the other side, then go up, again, and back down before crews anchor it in place. Hence the name: self-anchored, cable strand suspension.

"It's a little heavier and takes longer per strand, but you get more done at once," Petersen said.

This phase of the project should take about six months. Ultimately, the 137 strands will appear as one, thick, cable. But a cross-section tells the real story of a combined 14,800 miles of steel wires, becoming a reliable sum of their parts.

Peterson is a guy who has bridge building in his blood. His father built the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island with Brooklyn.


Load Comments