From The Archive: Opening of new eastern span of Bay Bridge in 2013

ByJustin Mendoza, Alan Wang KGO logo
Friday, September 3, 2021
Sept. 2, 2013: Opening of eastern span of Bay Bridge
Eight years ago, the highly-anticipated eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened to commuters.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Eight years ago, the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge opened. It was around 10:30p.m. when the first vehicles drove through the Bay Bridge toll plaza. There were a lot honking horns and people screaming out of their windows, said former ABC7 News reporter Alan Wang.

Many drivers anticipated this historic opening. Some parked near the ramps to the Bay Bridge and waited for the cue from the California Highway Patrol for the go ahead to being among the first drivers.

It replaced the old eastern span of the bridge that was damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

It took 12 years and $6.4 billion to construct the new seismically safe span, according to Caltrans. It served 280,000 daily commuters (in 2013).

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a seismic retrofit for the west span of the bridge was completed in 2004.

In the video below, you can see an empty eastern span of the new bridge as crews completed the major and minor work the day before the opening. Then you will see video from earlier in the day were state and local dignitaries were near the toll plaza of the new span for a chain-cutting ceremony. They included current Governor Gavin Newsom (who was then Lieutenant governor), former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Here's a preview of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, and state and local dignitaries at the chain-cutting ceremony in September 2013.

The demolition of the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge began in 2013. It which originally opened in November 1936. Demolition completed on September 8, 2018.

In this edition of "From The Archive," on we revisit the opening of the span of one of the longest suspension bridges in the U.S. from former ABC7 News reporter Alan Wang. It originally aired on September 2, 2013.

You can watch more stories on the "ABC7 Bay Area" app on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Android TV in the "From The Archive" section.