Reuters

California's largest public works project is finally open to traffic.

The new span of the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland has been under construction for 11 years, during which time it grew to become the largest public works project in California history. At final tally, the construction cost $6.4 billion, five times what the bill looked like a decade ago. And in all that time, the project has been famously dogged by political controversy, construction delays, and engineering flaws.

Monday night, though, at 10:15 p.m. local time, officials re-opened the eastern span of the bridge to great fanfare and a backup of waiting vehicles eager to be among the first to finally cross it (after all those delays, at least it opened a few hours ahead of schedule!). The long-awaited day came 24 years after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused part of the original bridge to collapse. That disaster forced the state to confront the reality that many of its bridges were ill-prepared for earthquakes. The new span is meant to be both an architectural spectacle and a "seismic safety project."

Since 2008, video cameras at the construction site have documented every moment of the painstakingly slow process to complete the bridge. In the below timelapse video, you can watch that progress in a much more satisfying four minutes of film:

Top image of the Bay Bridge moments after it re-opened: Stephen Lam/Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of the Eiffel Tower with the words "Made for Sharing" projected on it
    Life

    How France Tries to Keep English Out of Public Life

    France has a long history of using official institutions to protect the French language from outside influence. Still, English keeps working its way in.

  2. Maps

    The Map That Made Los Angeles Make Sense

    For generations in Southern California, the Thomas Guide led drivers through the streets of Los Angeles. Now apps do that. Did something get lost along the way?

  3. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

  4. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  5. Life

    Staying Afloat on an Island of Wealth

    Each summer on Martha's Vineyard, year-round residents and seasonal workers struggle to find affordable housing amid the island’s luxury real estate.

×