Bay Bridge InfoBay Bridge InfoBay Bridge InfoBay Bridge Info
Bay Bridge Info

1989

Loma Prieta

LOMA PRIETA STRIKES

At 5:04 p.m. on October 17, 1989, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck the Bay Area. The upper deck at pier E9 on the Bay Bridge failed and crashed into the lower deck, also causing the lower deck to fail. The suspension bridge on the West Span is inherently more flexible and was able to withstand the earthquake. It was the rigid structure of the truss bridge on the East Span that made it more susceptible to failure.

The third game of the 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics was set to begin at 5:30 p.m. at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Many commuters were listening to the game on their radios as they sat in traffic. There was one fatality on the Bay Bridge, which was a result of confusion around exiting the bridge after the failure.

The bridge was then closed for a month-long repair. At that time, it was determined that the bridge needed a long-term solution, which resulted in the retrofit of the West Span and replacement of the East Span.

Go to top

1989

Bay Bridge Troll

THE BAY BRIDGE TROLL

The Bay Bridge Troll was placed on the Bay Bridge during repairs after the 1989 earthquake as a symbol of protection. A group of ironworkers affixed the 18-inch sculpture without knowledge or consent from Caltrans, and it was later discovered by a maintenance worker. It is said to be created by a local Bay Area blacksmith. The troll first came to the public's attention on January 15, 1990 when the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story about the small figure of a troll with a spud wrench that had been welded to the iron below the upper deck on the north side of the bridge. When the original east span is demolished, the troll will be relocated.