This sturdy and serviceable
cantilever and truss span has been rather unkindly likened to a bent coat
hanger. For most of the 60,000 commuters who daily use this bridge the
crossing is probably a purely utilitarian means to travel between Contra
Costa and Marin Counties. But for anyone lucky enough to be heading west
on vacation it provides an exciting approach to the splendors of Marin
County, the Pacific Coast, and the Redwood Empire in the north.
On completion in 1956, this
5.5-mile bridge was one of the world's longest. Construction was financed
by the sale of $62 million in revenue bonds, topped by a loan of $4.68
million from the State School Land Fund. Nevertheless, the bridge was
finished $4 million under budget.
Despite its vertical clearance
of 185 feet, it has been struck by passing ships several times. However,
it has never sustained sufficient damage for it to be closed, not even
when bumped by a Navy radar vessel and a veteran World War II warship on
the same day.