Bay Bridge Enters Next Stage of Construction as ‘Big Lift’ Completed

Posing as the most technically-challenging feat of engineering the Bay Bridge connecting Oakland and San Francisco slated to open Labor Day 2013, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that crews successfully completed the load transfer known as the ‘big lift’ of shifting the 35,200-ton weight of the new single-tower suspension span to a single mile-long cable.

“This is now, officially, the largest self-anchored suspension bridge in the world,” said Bart Ney, a Caltrans spokesman.

“Completion of the load transfer led to a big collective sigh of relief from all the engineers,” said Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and a member of a committee overseeing construction. “There was never any question about the cable picking up the weight of the bridge. But there was uncertainty over whether it would get picked up right the first time or if the engineers would have to go back and forth with the tensioning to fine-tune the system.

“With the heavy lifting and tuning complete, crews are coating the suspension cable – 17,399 pencil-thick strands of steel wire that’s been compressed – with zinc paste, wrapping it with steel wire then applying a thick coat of paint to make sure it withstands the elements.”

Read the entire article here.

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