OAKLAND (KCBS) — Caltrans began to install the first strand of the main cable for the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge Monday.

The self-anchored suspension span is the signature element of the new section of the bridge. Crews will be pulling 137 strands that will make up the main cable, each of those is made up of 127 steel wires.

“This is not your grandfather’s suspension bridge. We’re not going to pull this cable one-by-one,” said,” Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney. “This bridge is special. We’re going to pull whole bundles of wire.”

The first cable is nearly a mile long, making it the world’s longest looped suspension cable used in bridge construction. The cable is anchored into the east end of the bridge and travels back to the single tower as part of a unique process known as self-anchored suspension.

Ney said the cable will follow the path of the bright orange cable catwalks attached to the new tower that have been visible to motorists for the past several months. He explained the process of lifting the first cable into place.

“We’re standing next to the crossbeam between eastbound and westbound traffic,” said Ney. “Looking over on the San Francisco side, we’ve just lifted up one of the bundles of strand. It’s on a crane right now.”

KCBS’ Susan Kennedy reports:

Caltrans acting director Malcolm Dougherty  said the cable will weigh 5,291 tons, or nearly 10.6 million pounds.

“It’s monumental because this is the largest bridge of its type,” Ney said. “It’s got some of the largest saddles in place on top of the tower.”

The entire cable installation process is expected to take several months.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  1. tours Martel says:

    Let’s just hope they get it done before the next major earthquake. And that the Chinese-made steel isn’t as defective as most of it is. Looks like we have a new game show: “you bet your life- California style”.

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