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San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge East Span Seismic Safety

Oakland, California

Market Sector



Segmental, Suspension

Services Provided

Design, Construction Phase Services, Seismic Analysis and Design



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Photo Credit: Sam Burbank Photography
Photo Credit: Brooke Duthie Photography
Photo Credit: Thomas Heinser Studio
Photo Credit: Brooke Duthie Photography
Photo Credit: Thomas Heinser Studio

T.Y. Lin International (TYLI), in a joint venture with Moffatt & Nichol, served as Designer for the replacement of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland, California. As Lead Engineer for the joint venture, TYLI was the Designer and Engineer of Record for the dramatic, 2,047-foot-long self-anchored suspension span (SAS) and the 1.2-mile-long precast segmental Skyway viaducts, both signature components of the new, 2.2-mile-long San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge New East Span (East Span).

TYLI provided bridge engineering expertise to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for all phases of development – from conceptual and final design through construction support services. Located between two major California fault lines, the seismically resilient East Span is the world’s longest single-tower, self-anchored suspension bridge.

TYLI’s unique design for the 525-foot-tall SAS tower consists of four steel shafts connected by shear link beams that are designed to protect the load-bearing shafts in the event of an earthquake. A single cable gracefully drapes from the top of the tower and loops back below the west end, with slender suspender cables that attach the main cable to the girders beneath the roadway deck.

The Skyway makes up the longest section of the East Span. Featuring sweeping, side-by-side decks, the bridge accommodates a total of 10 lanes of traffic (five in each direction) and a steel bicycle/pedestrian path. The Skyway was designed with an optimum span length of 524 feet. The viaducts are composed of five frames to reduce the number of expansion joints needed. The frames serve the dual purpose of accommodating sliding movement while maintaining rigidity to resist seismic motion.

Project Highlights:

  • The East Span features a record-setting self-anchored suspension span of 1,263 feet.
  • As a lifeline structure, the East Span is designed to withstand the strongest ground motions engineers can expect in a 1,500-year period.
  • The project features the first use of seismic energy-absorbing shear link beams in the tower of a cable-supported bridge.
  • The East Span is the first suspension bridge with no connection between the deck and tower,
  • The SAS utilizes a single, 4,550-foot-long cable - the longest looped suspension cable ever used for a bridge.
  • Precast girder segments for the Skyway weigh up to 750 tons each — the largest ever built in the world.
  • State-of-the-art hinge pipe beams were designed and built at the expansion joints between bridge frames.
Outstanding Project of the Year Award, 2016
International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC)
Seismic Safety Award, 2016
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
Grand Conceptor Award, 2015
American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
Outstanding Structure Award, 2015
International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE)
Bridge Award of Excellence, 2015
American Segmental Bridge Institute (ASBI)
Public Works Project of the Year, 2015
American Public Works Association (APWA)
George S. Richardson Medal, 2015
International Bridge Conference (IBC)
Project of the Year, 2015
Post-Tensioning Institute (PTI)
Outstanding Project Award, 2015
Deep Foundations Institute (DFI)
National Grand Award, 2015
American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
Golden State Award, 2015
American Council of Engineering Companies of California (ACEC-CA)
Global Road Achievement Award for Design, 2014
International Road Federation (IRF)
America's Transportation Award, Grand Prize, 2014
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
America's Transportation Award, Best Use of Innovation, 2014
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
Globe Award, Bridges (Projects > $100 Million), 2014
American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)
Award of Excellence, Infrastructure, 2014
Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC)
Excellence in Structural Engineering Award, 2014
National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA)
Excellence in Transportation Award, Major Structures, 2014
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
Award of Excellence, 2014
Portland Cement Association (PCA)
Special Recognition Award, 2014
California Transportation Foundation (CTF)
Project of the Year Award, 2013
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Region 9
Outstanding Transportation Project Award, 2013
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), San Francisco Section