Bay Bridge 360: Swaying the public interest
California DOT's multimedia sites keeps public updated on a massive project
- By Rutrell Yasin
- Jan 14, 2011
Keeping traffic flowing on one of the nation's busiest bridges — while simultaneously making the structure safe from earthquakes — demands new levels of engineering innovation, not to mention public patience.
A website that attends to both, Bay Bridge 360, is part of the California Department of Transportation’s San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Seismic Project.
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The seismic retrofit work on the Bay Bridge is being performed through a series of complex projects that started in 2003 and is expected to be completed by 2013.
After the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, which caused major damage on a section of the East Span of the Bay Bridge, state officials authorized a study of bay bridges to determine their ability to withstand earthquakes. It determined that the San Francisco-Oakland span needed retrofitting, and each section of the bridge should be rebuilt.
Several of the projects have already been completed, including the seismic retrofit of the bridge’s West Span between San Francisco and Yerba Buena Island. The East Span is being entirely replaced.
Every effort is being made to keep 280,000 vehicles a day safely moving across the bridge, Caltran officials say.
On the baybridge360.org site, commuters can follow the progress of these projects during each phase, from the West Approach in San Francisco leading to the bridge to the touchdown in Oakland.
Thy can click on the ball icons along the bridge for video presentations or more detailed information, and they can download PDFs and fact sheets. There’s even a simulation of how the retrofitting will let the bridge respond to the movement of the land during an earthquake, remaining a vital conduit as an emergency route for evacuation and first responders.
Rutrell Yasin is senior editor for GCN covering cloud computing.