Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Caquinez Bridge is Coming Down.

Today the old Carquinez Bridge is coming down.
The 1927 Carquinez Bridge is dying a slow, meticulous death.

The steel cantilever bridge, which carried eastbound traffic across the Carquinez Strait for nearly 80 years, was replaced in 2003 by a handsome, two-tower suspension bridge and now is being dismantled.

"I wish they'd just blow it up,'' said one person watching the operation, who did not want to be identified. "This is kind of dull. They're being very safe -- slow and methodical.''

That's because the old bridge is one of three bridges spanning the strait between Crockett and Vallejo within yards of one another. The new Al Zampa Memorial Bridge sits to the west of the old bridge, and a 1958 span carrying westbound Interstate 80 traffic sits to the east, leaving only so much room for crews to maneuver. Workers also must be careful not to drop anything into the waters below, which serve as a salmon run and natural habitat for delta smelt.

The Carquinez Bridge built in 1927 was the first steel bridge in the Bay Area. Caltrans determined that the old bridge was unfit for seismic retrofitting, allowing for the construction of the new Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge in 2003.

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