The Earthquake Effect: Bridging the Faults - The catastrophic fall and slow rise of the Bay Bridge after Loma Prieta

ByKen Miguel KGO logo
Saturday, October 19, 2019
What it was like to drive on the Bay Bridge when Loma Prieta quake hit
On Oct. 17, 1989, ABC7 News reporter Leslie Brinkley was crossing the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on her way to a routine assignment. Her story and her life changed in 15 seconds when the bridge collapsed as the Loma Prieta earthquake hit.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On Oct. 17, 1989, ABC7 News reporter Leslie Brinkley was on her way to a routine assignment in Oakland. Her story and her life changed in 15 seconds. At 5:04 p.m., the Loma Prieta earthquake shook with such violent force it tore the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in two while she and her crew were crossing it. In the hours and minutes that followed, Brinkley stood at the edge of the broken section of the bridge and reported on the stories of survival, rescue and tragedy that unfolded on live television.

ABC7 ORIGINAL SERIES: 'The Earthquake Effect' provides in-depth coverage on Bay Area's readiness for the next major earthquake

With the lifeline that connected the East Bay to San Francisco severed, Caltrans quickly worked to fix the bridge, but it would ultimately need to be replaced. After decades of planning, the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge stands a shining monument to the regions recovery after the quake, but is also a symbol of the strength and ingenuity of the region.

Equipped with the latest in seismic technology, the new bridge will sway with Mother Nature when the next quake hits. Inside the structure, 20 massive 6-feet-tall fuses will shift with the bridge to ensure that not only will it not collapse, but it will be back up and running quickly to allow medical and emergency personnel to get resources to either side of the Bay quickly.

"The Earthquake Effect: Bridging the Faults" takes you back to that warm October day that changed the region and shows you a journey of personal and professional perseverance as the Bay Area braces from another major quake that could strike any day. Take a look at full coverage here.