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Deconstructing the Oakland Bay Bridge, 2014

Photographs of segments of the Bay Bridge deconstruction, August, 2014.
Photographs of segments of the Bay Bridge deconstruction, August, 2014.
Catherine Al-Meten

As child, I loved taking things apart and building things. Growing up in a new housing development, my friends in the neighborhood and I built roads, bridges, and whole cities in the dirt before our neighborhood was landscaped. Construction and deconstruction continue to fascinate me, and recently while crossing back into the City over the Oakland Bay Bridge, I took some shots of the deconstruction process of the old eastern bridge. Most locals call the bridge the Bay Bridge.

The idea of building a bridge across the San Francisco Bay from Oakland to San Francisco, was first considered during the Gold Rush era, however it was not until 1933 that construction on the bridge started. Designed by Charles Purcell and built by the American Bridge Company, the Bay Bridge was completed in 1936 just six month before the Golden Gate Bridge. The Bay Bridge is actually two bridges, the eastern bridge, is a cantilever bridge linking Oakland to Yerba Buena Island, also called Treasure Island. The western bridge, a double suspension bridge, links the Island to San Francisco. In 1989 the Loma Prieta earthquake caused the upper level of the eastern bridge to fall onto the deck of the lower level. In 2002 reconstruction of a self-anchored suspension bridge began. The new bridge was completed in September, 2013.
Currently considered the widest bridge in the world, the Bay Bridge brings 10 lanes on I-80 from Oakland as far as Treasure Island.

The demolition process will take about five years, and will happen in three separate phases. Phase one is already underway. The cantilever bridge is being separated and dismantled; the middle of the cantilever, a segment approximately 600’ long, has already been removed. For more information on the demolition process, visit the Bay Bridge Information site.

The photographs in this slide show show the state of deconstruction as of August, 2, 2014.