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The Cantilever Closes Forever Tweet This   Forward This

31 August 2013

When the Bay Bridge closes, it's more than an inconvenience. It's a time warp. Twenty minutes becomes two hours. We've had a few closures since the Loma Prieta quake in 1989 but this week the cantilever span closed forever.

Bay Bridge, 2012. Nikon Coolpix P510 at f7.8, 1/400 sec and ISO 125 with a 124.8mm focal length, converted to black and white in Photoshop CC using the Camera Raw filter and sharpened with Nik Sharpener Pro.

Suspension bridges like the Golden Gate Bridge or the western span of the Bay Bridge are photogenic. Cantilever truss bridges not so much. They look like hamster cages. It's hard to love them.

But we have crossed the bay on it countless times on buses, in trains and in cars. On visits to grandparents in Albany, going to college in Berkeley, attending Warriors and A's games at the Coliseum, on our way to Tahoe. And coming back, its gentle climb like a takeoff reassuring us we were going somewhere.

We've always appreciated it for what it was. Looks aren't everything, even to a photographer.

On Tuesday the eastern span of the Bay Bridge will no longer look like a hamster cage. Its missile-like tower supporting the longest single looped suspension bridge able in the world will give the eastern side of the bridge a new look.


We spent the morning looking for images of the old bridge and information about the new one. If you're stuck at home this Labor Day weekend, we thought you might enjoy them:


For the engineers, there's the Bay Bridge Info site full of information about the new span.

And photographer Joe Blum has an extensive slide show on his site. The Bridge Builders, his images of the east span construction, appears at San Francisco City Hall though Sept. 27.

And then there's this time-lapse video showing the new bridge under construction from 2009 to 2012. Don't blink:

Time Lapse. Don't blink!

Let's see, since we can't drive over it this weekend, maybe we can find a chilled bottle of something or other and raise a glass to the old span. Good-bye, old friend. And thank you.

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