The new San Francisco landmark is the staged Bay Bridge or San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge. In March 2013, the Bay Bridge launched a light show ” The Bay Lights ” across the San Francisco Bay. This should initially remain two years and attract many visitors to San Francisco.
25,000 LED diodes were attached to the steel cables of the 1.8 mile western span of the Bay Bridge. Every evening the bay is illuminated by this light show. The light show begins at dusk and is on until 2am.
The New York artist Leo Villareal installed and planned the light installation on the vertical lines of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
The project cost around eight million dollars, it is privately financed and is intended to provide another attraction in San Francisco.
Leo Villareal has permanent installations at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. These are also on display at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the PS 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, New York, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The light show can be viewed particularly well from the boardwalk or from a boat in San Francisco Bay. The boat operators offer extra new tours to the light spectacle.
Constructed of steel and concrete, the Bay Bridge is California ‘s largest public works project. The inconspicuous Bay Bridge connects San Francisco to Oakland via Yerba Buena Island and has until now been overshadowed by San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
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It consists of two bridge trains that were built over the island of Yerba Buena Island with the associated Treasure Island. Traffic travels on two levels on the bridge. On the upper deck it leads towards San Francisco and on the lower towards Oakland.
The western section ( San Francisco Bay Bridge, 3.2 kilometers) of the bridge consists of two suspension bridges, each with two pylons (West Bay Bridge) and connects Yerba Buena Island with San Francisco.
On Yerba Buena Island, the two bridges are connected by a tunnel 165 m long. The rock and debris from the tunnel construction was used to fill in the new Treasure Island.
The eastern section ( Oakland Bay Bridge ), the 1.9-mile (3.1-kilometer) East Bay Bridge, consists of a steel truss viaduct, five smaller steel truss bridges, and finally a large truss bridge. It connects Yerba Buena Island to Oakland. The truss bridge is currently being replaced by a new construction that is said to be safer in the event of an earthquake.
History of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
Ships supplied and prospered the city of San Francisco during the Gold Rush era. But when the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1868 in order to transport goods better and faster, it only went as far as Oakland. San Francisco was on the wrong side of the bay for the transcontinental railroad. As a result, planning began for a bridge connecting Oakland with San Francisco.
But it was to be years of planning and testing before Congress approved the construction of the bridge in 1931. Construction of the entire structure began with a groundbreaking ceremony by Herbert C. Hoover and California Governor Frank Merriam on July 9, 1933.
On November 12, 1936, the Baybridge was opened to traffic. Since then, around 280,000 vehicles have rolled across the bridge every day.
Six months later, the Golden Gate Bridge was completed and became San Francisco’s new landmark. With this new colorful tourist attraction, little attention has been paid to the gray Bay Bridge, even though many more cars cross the Bay Bridge.
24 workers died during construction. The total cost was $77.6 million.
When the bridge opened in 1936, normal traffic ran on the upper deck with three lanes in each direction. On the lower deck, the trams and trucks ran with one lane in each direction and a common middle lane for overtaking maneuvers.
In 1957 the traffic routing was changed. There are now five westbound lanes on the upper deck and five eastbound lanes on the lower deck. The tram rails have been removed.
In 1989, part of the eastern span of the bridge broke off in the Loma Prieta earthquake.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bay Bridge, a chain of lights was attached to the supporting ropes of the suspension bridge.
In 2011/2012, San Francisco’s two great bridges, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge, celebrated their 75th anniversary.
The eastern span is to be reopened in 2013; it is currently being rebuilt to be more secure against earthquakes.
When it was completed in 1936, the Bay Bridge was considered the longest suspension bridge and the longest truss bridge in the world. Only the George Washington Bridge in New York had a longer span between the pylons.
Tolls on the Bay Bridge
For the Bay Bridge there is a toll ( Toll and Traffic ) to maintain the bridge. When the Bay Bridge opened in 1936, the toll was 65 cents. The toll is now $6 during peak hours, $4 off-peak during weekdays, and $5 on weekends. There is a reduced fee of $2.50 for carpooling.
The toll is collected for journeys in a westerly direction. Traffic in the easterly direction remains toll-free.
Address of the Bay Bridge attraction in San Francisco
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge