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Weekend Blow-up to Close Last Chapter in Bay Bridge Demolition

Karl Nielsen

A series of controlled implosions set for noon this Saturday, Sept. 8, will remove a pair of the original 1936 Bay Bridge East Span’s marine foundations from the San Francisco Bay shallows just west of the Oakland shoreline and mark the official end of demolition work on the old Bay Bridge. Technically known as Pier E-19 and Pier E-20, the concrete structures are the last of 18 marine foundations to be removed from the waters between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island during seasonal windows identified by state and federal regulatory agencies to minimize impacts on migratory fish.

Dismantling of the old bridge started in November 2013, with the first implosion of a onetime marine foundation at Pier E-3 occurring in November 2016. But the original East Span won’t disappear entirely: Pier E-2 off Yerba Buena Island and Piers E-21 and E-22 near the Oakland shore will remain in place, reborn as supports for a pair of new public-access walkways. From the Oakland shoreline, a 600-foot long, 25-foot wide walkway will be constructed featuring lighting, a fitness area and a 45-foot wide overlook area at its western end. From Yerba Buena Island, a 15-foot wide walkway will lead to the repurposed Pier E-2, where people can take in sweeping vistas of the Bay and other sites.

To allow crews to prepare for this weekend’s activity, the bicycle and pedestrian pathway on the new East Span that opened in September 2013 will be closed to the public this week. The California Highway Patrol also will institute rolling traffic closures on the Bay Bridge during and just before the midday implosions. Debris booms will be placed in the water around Piers E-19 and E-20 to contain material dislodged by the implosions.

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