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Demolition of old Bay Bridge visible to drivers

For the first time drivers on the new Bay Bridge could see a significant change on the cantilever section of the old bridge.
April 8, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
For the first time on Tuesday drivers on the new Bay Bridge may have noticed a change. A large section of the old eastern span is now gone. ABC7 News took a tour of the construction site.

We're about to see the demolition of the old cantilever bridge take a more rapid pace. Over the past year, Caltrans has been doing a lot of preparation for this demolition and during that time, nobody really noticed much until this week.

From their hot dog stand on Treasure Island, Angel Arredondo and his father are noticing a 50-foot gap in the old cantilever section of the Bay Bridge.

"Yeah, there's a big gap in the middle," said Arredondo. When asked if he were watching it he replied, "Every day. Every day, since they came. Little by little they take it apart."

Crews are now removing the 30,000-pound beams and with them, the tension that held the bridge together.

"If you cut that in the middle like we did, without any prep, it would just drop in the water," said Andrew Gordon, a Caltrans spokesperson.

So Caltrans installed hydraulic jacks that are pulling the load from the two halves away from each other so it doesn't collapse.

"The engineers have been looking exactly how this bridge was built nearly 80 years ago and they're pretty much taking it apart in the exact opposite order," said Gordon.

As they were grinding away the surface of the upper deck, construction workers discovered something that had long been forgotten. From an aerial shot, you can see how they uncovered white square tiles that were used to separate the lanes more than 80 years ago.

Each day, the gap will get wider and Caltrans is asking drivers not to slow down to look.

In about two years and $300 million later, the old bay bridge will be no more.


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