SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The old eastern span of the Bay Bridge is closing for good Wednesday evening but won’t be disappearing from view — bridge officials say it will take around three years to take apart and remove the seismically unsafe span.
The old cantilever bridge, built in 1936 to connect Oakland to Yerba Buena Island, has been slated for replacement since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake collapsed a section of the span’s upper deck.
After years of delays, it is finally closing to traffic forever at 8 p.m. Wednesday and will be replaced by a new self-anchored suspension bridge opening next week just to the north of the old span.
But while a building on land can be demolished fairly quickly, the bridge’s location over the Bay requires the painstaking removal of the span piece by piece.
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Bay Bridge spokesman Andrew Gordon said the demolition of the old span can begin “as soon as traffic is off the bridge” and should be completed by 2016.