Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

San Francisco: Building BART

This week a couple of transport videos out of the Bay Area. The first is a 1968 short film called “Along the Way” that was designed to promote the still under construction BART regional rail system. Atlantic Cities posted an article about this a while back saying that “viewers are hyped to the then-under construction system with a hippie-lite jingle about how BART will make life better for Bay Area resident.” If the video doesn’t display for you, click here.

Here’s another one of more recent vintage, this a time lapse of the construction of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. If the video doesn’t display for you, click here. h/t Likecool

Topics: Transportation
Cities: San Francisco

4 Responses to “San Francisco: Building BART”

  1. Eli says:

    Sad that we seem to have wholly lost the political will to do anything like this anymore.

    When was the last time a new heavy-rail transit system was built in the US?

  2. david vartanoff says:

    BART brought DOD style spending to public transit and unfortunately most similar projects since have trod the same path. US transit projects are astronomically more expensive per mile than anywhere else on the planet. It is very hard to persuade the citizenry to sign on for decades of debt for systems that will only serve limited corridors.

  3. Jonah says:


    Los Angeles – started opening it’s heavy, light, and commuter rail system in the 90s, and is still continuing to expand. But agree with your sentiment.

  4. Jon Seisa says:

    Unfortunately, a “Made in China” label is attached to the bridge. The manufacturing jobs to create the major components of the new bay bridge expansion were outsourced to China, depriving American/Californian manufacturers of contracts and work, and with utterly disastrous substandard results, including 100’s of cracks discovered in welds on bridge parts that were covertly hushed and concealed, resulting in a 6 year schedule delay and an inflated $5 BILLION over budget. It was revealed that critical and integral engineering decisions were made by unqualified non-engineers.


    “Engineers Found ‘Hundreds’ of Cracks in California Bridge”

    By James Nash – Jan 22, 2014

    Engineers spotted “hundreds” of cracks in welds on parts produced for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 2008 and were encouraged to stay quiet rather than delay the $6.4 billion project, according to a California Senate committee report.

    James Merrill, then a senior engineer with a quality assurance company known as Mactec, told Senate investigators that his complaints about work done at Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co. Ltd. (900947), known as ZPMC, were rebuffed by managers of the California Department of Transportation as “too rigorous,” according to the report released yesterday.

    A new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, the state’s busiest structure, carrying Interstate 80 between San Francisco and Oakland, opened in September. The replacement of the section damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was more than six years behind schedule and almost $5 billion over budget. The most recent delay occurred in March 2013 when 32 steel anchor bolts fractured as they were tightened.

    Attempts to contact Shanghai Zhenhua, based in Shanghai, by telephone and e-mail were unsuccessful.

    “This is the first time in my career the engineering wasn’t allowed to be done right,” said Douglas Coe, a former civil engineer for the California Department of Transportation, known as Caltrans, according to the report. “Engineering decisions were made by non-engineers.”

    Merrill and Coe said they don’t think the bridge is unsafe, according to the report, though they suggested that the structure may require retrofitting throughout its life and may last less than the 150 years state officials projected.

    Read more here:

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