1989: San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge Earthquake Collapse 95
The 1998-approved design consists of an Oakland short low-rise span to
the bridge, a 1.5-mile roadway, the world’s first single-tower self-anchored
suspension span, and a box-girder roadway connecting to Yerba Buena
Island. During an earthquake, the roadway is designed to sway and slide,
and the tower is designed to allow for movement (CAFJ, 2005). However,
according to an Army Corps of Engineers study completed in 2000, the
performance of this bridge design during an 8.1 to 8.2 magnitude earth-
quake as close as 3.2 miles away cannot be guaranteed because the design
is not based on meeting this strict seismic safety requirement. Further, this
design does not meet the lifeline criteria (USACOE, 2000).
Originally scheduled to open in December 2006, 2010 of the bridge’s
11,525 feet had yet to be built as of March 2005. Total cost estimates
have ballooned from $1.3 billion to more than $5 billion. Governor
Schwarzenegger called for a simpler design eliminating the tower in the
remaining 2010 feet to reduce costs (Chea, 2005). However, Bay Area
legislators believe Schwarzenegger’s idea would cost more and result in
further delays because it requires design and environmental approvals.
Additionally, the California legislature is divided regarding whether
only Bay Area commuters, through tolls, or all Californians should
pay for cost overruns of $2.9 billion, based on the original estimated cost
by Caltrans in 2001. Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation
is checking allegations that the foundation of the concrete span built
so far is riddled with shoddy welds. As of May 2005, work continues
on the part of the bridge reaching Oakland but remains stalled on
the last feet to Yerba Buena Island. Expected completion for the new
bridge is now around 2011, 22 years after the Loma Prieta earthquake
(Schmidt, 2005).
According to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Ch. 1,
§21000, of the California Code of Regulations:
§21000. Legislative intent
The Legislature finds and declares as follows:
(a) The maintenance of a quality environment for the people of
this state now and in the future is a matter of statewide concern.
(b) It is necessary to provide a high-quality environment that at
all times is healthful and pleasing to the senses and intellect
of man.
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