60 Minutes Reports: Future of San Fransisco’s Bay Bridge

April 26th, 2010 - 10:34 pm ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

Apr 26 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Most people who live and work in the San Fransisco Bay area are aware of the extreme likelihood that they will be hit with a catastrophic earthquake similar to the ones which hit Haiti, Chile, and China lately. They may not have been aware of just how weak their only link to the outside world is, until 60 minutes aired a show last night, explaining that the government is pretty much in a race against time to fix the problem.

In 1989, the Loma Prieta Earthquake caused severe damage to the The San Fransisco Oakland Bay Bridge (usually just called ‘The Bay Bridge’). The leading engineers in California stated that it was a very powerful warning that the bridge needed to be made safe against earthquakes. 60 Minutes released a report called “Bay Bridge: Competing Against Time” in which Byron Pitts reports from the construction site of the bridge. The video can be seen here. It shows the race to complete the new San Fransisco Bay Bridge before an earthquake destroys the old one which is still being used. A new span of bridge considered a wonder of engineering is making it’s way across the San Fransisco Bay, but it is still under construction, and the authorities are pushing for the completion of the job in fear that it may not be finished in time.

The Bay Bridge is not the most popular for tourists, that would be the Golden Gate Bridge. The Bay Bridge is, however, the most important as far as economics are concerned. Nearly 250,000 cars travel across it everyday to go to work, it is one of the world’s most busy. But, as California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) spokesman Bart Ney explains, here’s the problem: “If a very large earthquake strikes now we’re going to have trouble with that structure.” “That bridge goes in the water?” correspondent Byron Pitts asked. “Portions of it, maybe,” Ney replied. Caltrans is the agency facing the challenge of making the Bay Bridge earthquake safe as quickly as possible. “Where we’re standing right now is probably lane two, heading westbound into San Francisco in 2013,” Ney told Pitts, as they toured the construction project. “You hope 2013,” Pitts remarked. “That’s right,” Ney said. “Now, that’s what we’re gunnin’ for.”

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