The first permanent deck section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge’s Self-Anchored Suspension Span was hoisted this week onto the bridge’s temporary support steel.
Caltrans’ bridge spokesman Bart Ney says this historic lift marks the moment when the action on the permanent sections begins to shift from fabrication to construction of the iconic span. When construction is completed, the SAS will be the largest of its kind, at 2,047-ft-long and will have a single 525-ft-tall tower.
This first section weighs 1,020 tons and is nearly 84 feet long; all of the deck sections are about 90 feet wide. The section will be lifted by the 400- by 100-foot shear leg crane barge, the largest on the West Coast. The crane can lift up to 1,873 tons, and will place this first section onto a cradle on the eastbound side of the temporary supports. The cradle will then gently carry the section into place at the westernmost end of the supports on the edge of Yerba Buena Island. The next piece will also be placed in the same location, on the westbound side.
“With this lift, we’re beginning to close the final gap toward seismic safety on the Bay Bridge,” says Andrew Fremier, deputy executive director of the Bay Area Toll Authority. “The public has waited patiently for this milestone, and the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee is excited to start this stage of the construction.”
The various sections have different weights – from 559 tons to 1,669 tons – as well as different lengths, from 60-ft-long up to 229-ft-long. The first eight of the 28 immense deck sections for the SAS arrived on Jan. 21.
Deck and tower sections will arrive throughout the year, and the new East Span is expected to be open to both westbound and eastbound traffic in 2013.