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The Bridge

Why a New Bridge?
Earthquakes and Bridges
East Span Design Basics
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Seismic Safety
Site Challenges
The Bridge and the Environment
Bridging by Numbers
Bridgespeak Glossary

The Bridge

A bridge of superlatives. It will boast the world's first single-tower self-anchored suspension span and some of the largest and heaviest components ever seen in bridge-building, all assembled by the biggest equipment ever seen on the Bay. One section alone, the $1.04-billion Skyway, is by far the largest single construction contract ever awarded by the state of California.

A bridge of safety. The new East Span incorporates several state-of-the-art seismic safety features, such as a shock-absorbing hinge system built into the bridge deck. A "lifeline" bridge, the East Span has been designed to provide service within 48 hours of a damaging earthquake, keeping emergency vehicles, people and commerce moving across the Bay. Unlike its predecessor, the New East span will conform to modern standards for lane widths, stopping sight distances and other features, all of which will increase public safety.

A bridge of great complexity. The 2.18 mile-long span is not one bridge, but a combination of a bridges: A signature Suspension bridge, an elegant "Skyway" viaduct, an Oakland Touchdown and the Yerba Buena Transition structures. The latter will be built in a manner that will allow construction while making the seemingly impossible accommodation of keeping traffic flowing on the existing bridge. The estimated ten-year construction of the East Span will require an army of craftworkers, designers, managers, engineers and support people, as well as untold pieces of equipment and material organized, marshaled and deployed according to exacting schedules.

A bridge of simple beauty. The East Span's lean, graceful design was created to compliment the beauty of the Bay and mirror the grace of the Golden Gate and west Bay bridges. The signature element, the Suspension tower, with its asymmetrical cable design, will become a landmark recognized the world-'round and a welcoming symbol of the East Bay.

A bridge of many benefits. The New East Span will provide safer, more efficient transportation across the Bay. Although the crossing will not have more lane capacity than the existing Bay Bridge, its husky emergency shoulders will produce a smoother flow since accidents and stalls will be able to move to the side. The bridge will benefit the economy by keeping goods and people moving, and its bike/pedestrian path to Yerba Buena Island will offer new recreational opportunities. The path's observation platforms will present new vistas of the Bay and the region. The bridge project also supports more than 67,000 jobs and provides an $8 billion economic stimulus to the California economy.

A monument to the talent and intellect of its builders. The new East Span is the product of design teams, joint venture companies, planning committees, boards, agencies and unions, but it is foremost the product of individuals who have brought and continue to bring their training and talents to bear on the job. For decades to come, the East Span will remind travelers and viewers of the human effort - the sweat, skill and genius - it took to build it.

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