New Bay Bridge span overcomes final major engineering hurdle

Getty Images File PhotoHome stretch: Construction of the new span of the Bay Bridge is on track to be completed by Labor Day 2013.

Work on the new span of the Bay Bridge has passed its last major milestone following the successful transfer of the roadway’s weight to the tower of the new $6.3 billion span set to open Labor Day.

“We can smell the finish line,” Metropolitan Transportation Commission Executive Director Steve Heminger said Tuesday at a news conference.

The transfer was a three-month process in which workers lifted 35,200-ton bridge decks from the temporary steel trestles where they were assembled onto the tower and main suspension cable that cradle and support the self-anchored suspension span, a 2,047-foot section of bridge east of Yerba Buena Island, Heminger said.

The weight of the bridge is now supported by a single, 1-mile-long cable that acts like a sling.

He described the remaining tasks to be completed before the new span opens next year as “meat and potatoes work” such as roadwork, striping of lanes and mechanical and electrical work.

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