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San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge header

Bay Bridge It is a remarkable coincidence that the two signature bridges of the San Francisco Bay Area were planned and built simultaneously. The Bay Bridge was an official, publicly funded project with nearly everyone agreeing that a bridge connecting San Francisco and the East Bay was desirable. Building consensus on the feasibility of the project, however, was another story. 

In 1924, government engineers investigated the possibilities of building the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and determined that it would be impractical due to earthquake faults and the difficulty of finding a solid anchorage on the muddy bottom. However, President Herbert Hoover, an engineer, took an interest in the idea and in October 1929, with California State Governor C. C. Young, appointed the Hoover-Young San Francisco Bay Bridge Commission. The Commission submitted its report in August 1930, concluding that not only was the bridge necessary to the development of the area, but that it was “entirely feasible from economic and construction viewpoints.” Hoover expedited War and Navy Department approvals and promised financial support through his Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Contracts for the first construction were awarded in April 1933.

Bay Bridge
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was opened to vehicular traffic on November 12, 1936 and was built for a total cost of $77.6 million. Tolls paid off the government loan within twenty years. Upon its completion, the Bay Bridge was recognized as the greatest bridge in the world for its length, cost, weight, depth, amount of steel and concrete used, number of piers, and versatility of engineering.
Design & Construction | Cable Spinning
Autos & Trains | Charles H. Purcell | Celebration
Introduction | Related Links | Acknowledgements
Copyright © 1999 UC Berkeley Library
Data owner: R. Brandt
Updated 12/9/99