The last two massive concrete deck segments that make up the Skyway of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge East Span were lifted into place mid-morning on December 7 in a balancing act that is an engineering achievement in itself. Caltrans crews lifted each segment — tipping the scales at over 700 tons and the largest of their kind in the world — in tandem at either end of their common bridge pier to avoid stressing the new span.
A row of orange-vested Caltrans workers looked on as the final wing-shaped segment — the 452nd such piece —was fitted into place. The 1.2 mile-long Skyway is the longest portion of the new East Span and will ultimately connect the Oakland shoreline with the bridge’s crowning element, a stunning suspension span now taking shape near Yerba Buena Island.
The projected cost of the Skyway is $1.293 billion and it will likely be completed in December 2007. According to Caltrans Resident Engineer Doug Coe, over the next year Caltrans will place the final concrete overlay, install electrical systems, finish the bike and pedestrian path, and put in water lines to serve Treasure Island.
The massive construction winches that were used to lift each segment into place are already being dissembled and removed from the deck. The recognizable red cranes that have perched in the Bay for the past few years will also be coming down. Once the Skyway is complete, it will be used as a staging ground for the next phase of the project: construction of a half-mile self-anchored suspension span and its 524-foot tower. The new East Span is not expected to be fully open to traffic until 2013.
Hoisting the last concrete segment into place marks a key milestone in the construction of the new East Span. A huge banner on the deck segment said it all: “Skyway Project Final Segment… Congratulations to everyone involved.”
Last Pre-Cast Segment Leaves Stockton
Stockton, Calif., December 5, 2006 – The Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee (TBPOC) consisting of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and the California Transportation Commission (CTC) celebrated a key milestone in the construction of the Skyway portion of the new East Span of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge: the send-off of the final concrete segment that will make up the new road deck.
Departing on a barge from Stockton, California, this 770-ton concrete segment is the last of 452 prepared on this site with custom-made equipment, match-cast to fit precisely with the adjoining segments, will travel along the San Joaquin Delta, past other Bay Area Bridges to its permanent home over the San Francisco Bay. The largest of its type in the world, the segment will be lifted into place by custom-made winches later this week. This will mark the closing of the Stockton Yard, home to roughly 260 bridge builders for the past 3 years, and the processing site of 130,000 cubic yards of concrete and 31 million pounds of steel by Skyway contractor Kiewit-FCI-Manson (KFM), a Joint Venture. Caltrans Chief Deputy Director Randell Iwasaki said “Today we feel a sense of accomplishment. This signifies completion of a major portion of the project that will leave a monument in the San Francisco Oakland Bay Area.” The final concrete segment will be lifted into place on Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 8:00 am.
This will complete the structural portion of the 1.2 mile-long Skyway, the longest portion of the New East Span, connecting the Oakland shoreline with the Self Anchored Suspension span near Yerba Buena Island. Over the next year Caltrans will place the final concrete overlay, install lighting and electrical systems, and complete the bike and pedestrian path. “We are really excited to be a part of today’s events; to recognize major milestones that are accomplished for our bridge construction projects and to recognize the hard work that’s occurred to produce such massive complex projects.” said Rod McMillan, Director of Bridge Oversight & Operations for the Bay Area Toll Authority.
The Skyway is one of a series of Bay Bridge Seismic Safety Projects to strengthen the bridge. The East Span, between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland, is being entirely rebuilt to bring it up to current seismic safety standards. The projected cost of the Skyway is $1.293 billion and it will be completed in December of 2007.