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Bridge Redesign Issue

Bridge Design Finalized
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Bridge Design Finalized

A final deal, signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger after being approved by the Legislature, settles the span's design debate.

The self-anchored suspension (SAS) design was selected in 1998 following an international design competition to give the bridge a "signature" look. Unlike most large bridges, the SAS design has only one tower instead of two. Especially distinctive are a web of cables, attached to the steel tower, that wrap completely around the roadway, cradling it. The roadway is said to be self-anchored because it is tied to itself.

Click here for a technical explanation. 

Plans for the suspension segment were cast aside in favor of a causeway design in December 2004 after the cost of building the self-anchored suspension design was deemed too high. Completing a causeway would be cheaper and take less time, some state officials argued.

Advocates for the suspension plan maintained that designing and engineering the causeway would eat up any time or cost savings. Plans for the suspension bridge were already reviewed and approved.

The decision also ends a controversy over how to proceed with the project. The legislation also provides three ways to provide $3.6 billion in new money to cover higher cost estimates for the structure. The bridge is expected to cost $6.3 billion and be completed in 2012.

Sources of additional funds for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (east) replacement span:

  • Tolls increase Jan 1. 2007 on the seven state-owned Bay Area toll bridges. Tolls will rise to $4; bonds sold against future tolls: $2.15 billion.
  • Refinancing of existing debts: $820 million.
  • The State of California will pay for demolition of the exisiting bridge: $300 million.
  • State Highway Account : $130 million
  • Cost savings at Caltrans $125 million
  • State Motor Vehicle Account: $75 million
  • If the funds are inadequate local officials can raise the tolls further.

Read what the media is saying.

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