Building a better Bay Bridge

San Francisco will get a new Bay Bridge this summer. The New York Daily News has an interesting story about that bridge's creation — and the earthquake-resistant engineering behind it.


  1. FYI, the official CalTrans site ( ) is shockingly informative, with a bunch of great videos on various aspects of the construction and design.

    (I’m not connected to CalTrans aside from my daily commute past the bridge-in-process.)

    1. Reading the New York Daily News makes my brain hurt. Cool bridge, article could have been much better. Thanks for the link, Tarek.

    1. Also, the “estimated cost of $6.4 billion” is the after-the-fact cost; IIRC they were talking about $2B when they first proposed the new design.

  2. I think William Gibson suggests lots of epoxy. And BTW I just read the bridge trilogy again, last to first and I wonder if WG actually wrote the last two books. They contain a lot of stuff rehashed out of Virtual Light and slightly reorganised.

    1.  Yes, but… I think of them as three different points of view from three different characters on the same geography, i.e., one book concentrating on Rydell, one on Chevette… That said, I haven’t tried reading them last to first.

    1. It also needs to be a ship-proof bridge, given the combinations of fog and carelessness that have led to occasional collisions.

  3. “For a bridge that has been limited to automobiles throughout its history, however, getting halfway on foot or bike is better than nothing.”

    I can haz get halfway to work?

    1. Throughout its history, eh?  That’s nice revisionism on the part of the anti-transit memory hole brigade, but the original bay bridge carried two rail lines on the lower deck.  The new bridge is so flimsy it can’t carry any kind of rail.

      1. Yup.  Much of Berkeley and Oakland got settled largely because trains on the Bay Bridge made it practical to live over there and commute into the city. 

  4. I dunno, people keep telling me this thing’s full of chinese steel, and we can’t trust the chinese to do steel right.  Probably filled it with secret back doors so their government can snoop through our bridge!

    (I’m just a little sick of the radio and billboard ads I’ve been seeing for the past couple of years…)

  5. I made a (pretty poor-looking, truth be told) video of a boat tour of the new bridge construction, using an old Flip camera (remember those?):

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