Anyone who routinely drives the Bay Bridge has noticed the series of thin suspender ropes being hung off the main cable recently. Though they are called ropes, they're still made of steel. Crews of six or seven ironworkers hang the suspender ropes over the main cable. One safety officer called the ironworkers "fearless" describing the way they work hundreds of feet above the water, tethered to the bridge with a harness and what's called Y-lanyard.
The suspender ropes are connected to the bridge roadway by a system of sockets and brackets. 160 of them have been hung so far. About half of those are anchored in at this point. "The suspender ropes are hung over the main cable, so they're all twice as long as they look. They vary in length from about 20 feet to almost 700 feet so, a wide range of lengths there," explained Caltrans spokesperson Jordona Jackson. "Depending on the length, they take anywhere from ten minutes to more than half an hour to install."
All 160 ropes will be anchored into the road when load transfer begins next month. That's when the weight of the bridge is taken off the temporary scaffolding below and transferred to the main cable and ropes. The next planned full bridge closure is not until Labor Day weekend next year. That is also when the new bridge is scheduled to open.