Caltrans crews were set to begin removing the first of 14 sections of the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge at noon Wednesday using a complicated hydraulic jacking system.
Crews will slowly remove the 288-foot, 1.7 million-pound section over the course of two days, weather permitting, Caltrans spokeswoman Leah Robinson-Leach said.
“This is a really methodical, really detailed process,” Robinson-Leach said.
The removal involves stacking special barrels on top of jacks that will reach to just below the section, called a truss, that’s targeted for removal.
“It almost looks like you’re stacking Legos up to the truss,” Robinson-Leach said.
Crews will then cut the section away from the bridge, push it up, move it over and lower it to waiting barges using massive cranes. The section will then be towed into the Port of Oakland’s Pier 7, where it will be dismantled and sent to recyclers around the Bay Area, Robison-Leach said.
“It won’t be obvious movement,” she said. “It will probably take some time before it’s even noticeable.”
Part of the demolished section will be used in a public and civic arts program managed by the Oakland Museum of California, she said.
Caltrans began demolishing the old eastern span in September 2013 and this is the second phase in a three-part process to dismantle and remove the old bridge.
The first phase involved the demolition of the cantilever section and S-curve to Yerba Buena Island, completed in 2015, according to Caltrans.
The second phase includes the recently completed removal of five 504-foot bridge sections, as well as the removal work that starts today. The third phase, expected to be completed by the end of 2018, will involve the demolition of the bridge’s 13 remaining marine foundations, Caltrans officials said.