Bay Bridge Makes List of America’s Top 10 Transportation Projects

(c) 2014, Sam Burbank
(c) 2014, Sam Burbank

This week, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), in partnership with AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, announced that the New East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge made the list of America’s Top 10 Transportation Projects.

“This competition recognizes excellence in project delivery,” said Bud Wright, AASHTO’s executive director in a news release published this week. “It’s about saving time and taxpayers’ money and improving the ability of people, manufacturers, farmers and service providers to move themselves and their goods, reliably, every day.”

The New East Span’s selection for America’s Top 10 Transportation Projects list comes on the heels of a decision by AASHTO to select the span as the winning regional project in the “Best Use of Innovation, Large” project category.

The Bay Bridge is now eligible to also potentially receive two additional awards—the Grand Prize, which will be awarded by an expert panel, and the People’s Choice Award, which will be determined by popular choice online voting. Voting for the People’s Choice Award is open until October 24, 2014: http://nominate.americastransportationawards.org/Voting.aspx

The year-old New East Span of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge is the world’s longest single tower self-anchored suspension span bridge.

These awards join a growing list of project awards and achievements that recognize the tremendous engineering and seismic safety innovations on the new Bay Bridge. In July, the American Society of Civil Engineers selected the Bay Bridge as one of the five finalists for the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award. And in 2010 and 2013 Region 9 of the American Society of Civil Engineers recognized the Bay Bridge with the “Outstanding Construction Project” award and the “Project of the Year” award respectively. The New East Span also received the “Golden State Award” for Excellence in Engineering by the California branch of American Council of Engineering Companies in 2011.

These awards and short listings are consistent with the unanimous engineering consensus that the New East Span is strong and safe. In August, Dr. Frieder Seible, Dean of Faculties of Engineering at Monash University said that

…If I had to be here for the big earthquake, I would like to be on the Bay Bridge because I consider this one of the safest places in California to be.

Dr. Sena Kumarasena, an independent engineering expert hired by the California State Senate to review the safety of the Bay Bridge agreed:

When it comes to seismic safety of this bridge, I heard it being said that there is no question about it and I totally agree with that, especially when compared with the old bridge. This improves the seismic safety by leaps and bounds.

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