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An Engineering and Construction Marvel
 

<= How to Bridge the Bay

Opening Day Celebration =>


The design and construction of the Bay Bridge was one the great engineering challenges of the 20th century. The bridge needed to span eight miles from Oakland to San Francisco and be able to withstand turbulent tides, high salty winds, and potentially devastating earthquakes. The final design consisted of two suspension bridges on the San Francisco side of Yerba Buena Island, a tunnel through the island, and truss and cantilever spans on the eastern portion of the bridge. Construction began in May 1933 with formal groundbreaking taking place in July. Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the bridge was the construction of a massive center anchorage between Yerba Buena Island and San Francisco. The anchorage, which was the equivalent of a 40-story building covering a city block, joined the two suspension bridges in the middle of the bay.

The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, This Original Bay Bridge Rivet Presented to E.R. “Mike” Foley in Gratitude.

The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, This Original Bay Bridge Rivet Presented to E.R. “Mike” Foley in Gratitude.

Margaret Monroe Collection
2006-237
California State Archives
Sacramento, California


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Progress Report. Weekly report from Charles  Purcell, chief bridge engineer, to Public Works Director Kelly noting  that the caisson for Pier 4 was positioned correctly at the bottom of the Bay.

Progress Report. Weekly report from Charles  Purcell, chief bridge engineer, to Public Works Director Kelly noting  that the caisson for Pier 4 was positioned correctly at the bottom of the Bay.

Progress Report
Weekly report from Charles Purcell, chief bridge engineer, to Public Works Director Kelly noting.

Department of Public Works, 1933
Director Record
California State Archives
Sacramento, California


Cable Wire Letter Opener. The letter opener is  made from a portion of the cable wire used on the bridge's suspension  cables.  70,000 miles of cable were spun for the western suspension span of the bridge.

Cable Wire Letter Opener. The letter opener is  made from a portion of the cable wire used on the bridge's suspension  cables.  70,000 miles of cable were spun for the western suspension span of the bridge.

Cable Wire Letter Opener. The letter opener is  made from a portion of the cable wire used on the bridge's suspension  cables.  70,000 miles of cable were spun for the western suspension span of the bridge.

Cable Wire Letter Opener
The letter opener is made from a portion of the cable wire used on the bridge's suspension cables. 70,000 miles of cable were spun for the western suspension span of the bridge.

Margaret Monroe Collection
2006-237
California State Archives
Sacramento, California


Pier #4 Photo.

East Suspension Span Photo

West Cantilever Arm Photo.

Y. B. Anchorage Photo.

West Span Stiffening Truss Photo.

Arch Photo.

West Bay Crossing Photo.

West Bay Crossing Photo.

Tower #2 Photo.

Bridge Construction Photographs

These photographs from the Department of Public Works-Bridge Department records depict the various stages of construction for the bridge. This photograph collection documents the entire surveying and construction of the bridge.

Department of Public Works, various
Bridge Department
California State Archives
Sacramento, California



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