You might have been already driven over the new part of the Bay Bridge, but did you know you can walk now from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island? Well almost. The part which connects the bridge to Yerba Buena Island is not finished yet. The walkway ends shortly before the island. Scheduled date for finishing this part is (late) summer 2015.
After walking and driving numerous times across the Golden Gate Bridge, I had to walk the Bay Bridge as well.
But what is now hidden under the new bridge? No it’s not the water! It is a secret guardian who protects the bridge. It’s the Bay Bridge – Bridge Troll. This little fellow is very shy and hard to spot. As you walk west from Oakland, walk passed the anchor point of the main suspension cable and look between the bike path and the bridge deck.
The new troll is with two feet, two inches slightly taller than his predecessor and wields an ironworker’s mallet and torch.
There is also another troll hiding not to far from the new troll. He is smaller but easier to find. His big brother is hiding under him on the pillar.
There is probably another fact you don’t know about the new Bay Bridge. It is the longest single-tower self-anchored suspension bridge in the world with a main span length of 1,263 feet. What makes the bridge special is the single suspension cable which is anchored in the deck of the bridge, runs up over a 525-foot-tall tower, down and wraps around the columns on the island, comes back up over the tower, and anchors in the bridge deck directly across from its starting point. The nearly 1 mile long cable is 2,6 feet in diameter is made up of 137 strands with 127 wires each, for a total of 17,399 wires.
The old Bay Bridge also had a Bridge Troll. Because of the demolition of the old bridge, the 18-inch-tall sculpture got removed and is currently in the lobby of the Caltrans District 4 office at 111 Gran Ave, Oakland. This troll was installed during the repair works after the 1989 earthquake as a symbol of protection.
A section of the upper deck felt onto the lower deck during the 7.1-magnitude earthquake. During the repair works the troll was installed by iron workers without the knowledge or consent of Caltrans. A blacksmith named Bill Roan sculpted the troll.
If you want to explore the new Bay Bridge by yourself, getting here is a bit tricky. There are essentially three ways to get there and I recommend you to take your bike with you if you can. It is quite a walk from both parking locations. If you don’t have a car, you are lucky. There is a bus stop near the toll plaza.
One of the parking lots is at the intersection of Maritime St and Burma Rd, and the other one is behind Ikea in Emeryville on Shellmound St.
It will take you about 2 hours for a roundtrip from the Maritime St parking lot to the end of the bridge and back if you are a fast walker and don’t stop.
The path opens at 6 AM and closes at 9 PM. This is strictly enforced by police and if you are on the walkway after 9 PM you might get in trouble with the police. The path might be closed during the week because of the dismantling of the old Bay Bridge. More info about can be found on the official website.