Bay Bridge: Walking the eastern span in 1989


As we say farewell to the funky, almost always reliable eastern span of the Bay Bridge we reflect back to 1989 and the Loma Prieta earthquake. That was the one time the eastern span failed, and the Bay Area was ready to celebrate when repairs were made to the collapsed section on Nov. 16, 1989. Folks who had registered were given a free Caltrans pass to go to a designated parking area and hop on a bus to the toll plaza. From there, they were free to walk the eastern part of the bridge — up to a certain distance, where a platform was set up for remarks by dignitaries.
There were port-a-potties set up on the cantilever section for celebrants, and loudspeakers so they could hear the speeches and join in as special dignitary Tony Bennett sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
While there was lots of law enforcement along the sides of the bridge, there were no metal detectors and bag or background checks for those attending.




Chris Treadway

  • John Stashik

    Long ago there was some type of cross country charity walk that began in San Francisco. I rode a bus to the city and then walked back to Oakland and Emeryville across the bridge. From the city, up the ramps from Fremont Street, then on to the upper deck in two lanes that had been coned off. In Oakland I walked under the bridge, through the former Bridge Railway yard and Army Base, and to Emeryville where I caught a bus home.

    I don’t even recall the date of the event although it was on a light traffic Sunday morning. But I figured it was a once in a lifetime chance to walk the span.