Now here's an interesting adaptive reuse project:
Back-seat Driver: Could Sacramento use recycled parts of Bay Bridge?
Buzz up!By Tony Bizjak
Published: Monday, Oct. 12, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Monday, Oct. 12, 2009 - 12:23 pm
Sacramento needs a few more bridges -- so some say.
They're talking about one connecting Natomas to downtown for light rail and one between Sacramento and West Sacramento.
But there's no money.
Reader Gunnar Henrioulle has an idea. Why not get Caltrans to give us sections of the old Bay Bridge east span?
The state is going to disassemble that span in a few years when it opens the new bridge it's building there.
We could ship a few sections up the Sacramento River on barges and retrofit them for use here, Henrioulle proposes.
Crazier things have happened. See: London Bridge in Arizona, a major tourist attraction.
We asked a Caltrans representative.
"It's not a crazy idea," Caltrans' Bart Ney said.
Caltrans considered doing that for a Bay Area county when it tore down the old Carquinez Bridge a few years ago.
But the bridge and its rivets were too old.
Because the Bay Bridge is on historic registers, Caltrans is required to put some parts of it on display, in museums, for example.
But re-using sections?
We sprung the idea on Sacramento city spokeswoman Linda Tucker.
"A hand-me-down bridge?" she said. Then, diplomatically: "Um, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
It probably would be a tough fit, though. The Bay Bridge is a double-decker, many lanes wide, and no one here is talking about needing a bridge that wide.
While the double-decker part may be less than ideal, the width of the bridge isn't that enormous. The Tower Bridge was 52 feet wide as originally built, and its two pedestrian "outrigger" lanes make it more like 60-65 feet wide in its current form. The Bay Bridge is 57.5 feet wide.
Even more interesting: the lower level of the Bay Bridge was originally intended for trucks and interurban trains. When the Bay Bridge opened, you could take Sacramento Northern trains from Chico or Sacramento all the way to the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco, and Key System commuter trains went from the terminal throughout the Bay Area. Why not make use of a "recycled" bridge that can handle auto traffic on its upper deck, and both streetcar and pedestrian traffic (in comfortable shade) on the lower deck?
Definitely one of the weirder ideas on record, but interesting.