Bay Area Traffic
Demolition of old Bay Bridge eastern span underway
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- With the new Bay Bridge up and running, the next project begins. Excavators are now finishing what the Loma Prieta earthquake started 24 years ago; tearing apart the old upper deck of the Bay Bridge's eastern span.
"Today they begin taking out 1,400 feet of the upper deck, which is the concrete, the rebar inside the concrete and the steel floor beams below that were holding that deck up," said Bay Bridge spokesperson Andrew Gordon.
Contractors have been preparing for two months. First, removing the top layer of black asphalt that was part of that preparation and then scoring large rectangular sections.
"They've been saw-cutting. It's a device that looks like, basically a big floor polisher. They've been cutting rectangles into the upper deck, so when the excavators, which you see working behind us now, start ripping up the deck, it's not in big jagged chunks. It's, kind of, in controllable pieces," said Gordon.
It's important to have those controllable pieces to keep the rubble manageable and tidy as possible for the same long list of reasons that simply blowing up the bridge was never an option.
The new bridge is so close to the old one, at places that flying debris could be a threat to motorists on the new span. And there are environmental concerns for the bay.
"This bridge has lead paint on it. Who knows how much gasoline and oil has been spilled on the deck over the 77 years it's been in use. And then thirdly, we just can't blow it up because there are boats that pass through here," said Gordon.
This type of deck demolition will continue into early next year. The gap in the upper deck will then allow equipment staged on the lower deck to reach up and work from below.
"That will allow more of the bottom deck to be used to reach up through that gap and help assist taking down the steel truss that's above the bridge," said Gordon.
The whole bridge is supposed to be gone, down to the mud line, in 2016.
caltrans, bay bridge, construction, bay area traffic, heather ishimaru
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