Twenty-four years ago, the Loma Prieta earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay Area. It caused the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to collapse. The eastern span was fixed, but a plan to build a new, safer eastern span was put into place – hopefully protecting commuters from an earthquake. Over the years, the bridge closed for long durations, typically on the three-day weekend of Labor Day.
Fast forwarding to yesterday. My girlfriend’s mom invited us to go kayaking in the bay. “Heck, yes”, I believe my response to be. I didn’t think the outing would carry any significance until we were gearing up to go out. Ms. Mae Rose exclaimed, “I can’t wait to hear how quiet it’ll be under the bridge.” I hadn’t forgotten that the Bay Bridge was closed for the final construction efforts to open the new, earthquake resistant easter span, but absence of countless commuters roaring across the western span hadn’t occurred to me.
After paddling out to the bridge, we sat underneath taking in the eerie, yet calming absence of the empty bridge. I wanted to … I needed to capture this experience. This video, recorded from my phone, doesn’t do it justice until you fully understand the industrial hum and noise is coming from the city.
If you’re thinking “big whoop”, understand that the construction of the new eastern span is complete and the likelihood of the bridge closing to traffic for a considerable amount of time is … well, unlikely. Maybe I’ll go back another day to record video for comparison. Until then, use your imagination.