San Mateo-Hayward Bridge



The San Mateo–Hayward Bridge (commonly called the San Mateo Bridge) is a bridge crossing the U.S. state of California's San Francisco Bay, linking the San Francisco Peninsula with the East Bay. The bridge's west end is in Foster City, a suburb on the eastern edge of San Mateo. The east end of the bridge is in Hayward. It is the longest bridge in California and the 25th longest in the world by length. The bridge is owned by the state of California, and is maintained by Caltrans, the state highway agency. Further oversight is provided by the Bay Area Toll Authority. The bridge is part of State Route 92, whose western terminus is at the town of Half Moon Bay on the Pacific coast. It links Interstate 880 in the East Bay with U.S. Route 101 on the Peninsula. It is roughly parallel to and lies between the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge and the Dumbarton Bridge, and is sometimes used by commuters to avoid traffic delays due to emergencies on those bridges. The original bridge, known as the San Francisco Bay toll bridge, opened on 2 March 1929 after approximately a year of construction. It was a privately owned venture and was then the longest bridge in the world. The original bridge was mostly a two-lane causeway trestle with five 300-foot (91 m) truss spans in the center[8] incorporating a vertical lift over the main shipping channel. Clearance when the lift was down to allow road traffic over the bridge was 35 feet (11 m), and clearance with the lift up to allow marine traffic to pass the bridge was 135 feet (41 m).

The original drawbridge played a minor role in the history of the Stanford Axe. When Stanford students stole the Axe back from Cal in April 1930, the getaway car was presumed to be traveling the shortest route, which would be over the bridge, and pursuing Cal students gave chase. The operator on duty, who was a graduate student at Stanford, learned that Cal students were causing the increased traffic in pursuit of the Axe, so he raised the draw and stopped traffic. In fact, the getaway car was traveling back to Palo Alto via San Jose.

Although the initial press was favorable, daily traffic fell from the opening months and never exceeded 2,000 cars per day until 1947. The State of California purchased the bridge on 12 September 1951 for US$6,000,000 (equivalent to $54,800,000 in 2015). By 1955, traffic exceeded 9,000 cars per day, and in 1957, traffic was stopped an average of six times per day to allow ship traffic to pass the bridge. The bridge originally had pole lights along the entire stretch, which were later abandoned except over the vertical lift span. Traffic on the bridge increased from 3,000 cars per day in 1929[11] to 56,000 cars per day in 1968. Before the new bridge was complete, California put the original truss spans up for sale in 1965, with the buyer obligated to remove all five truss spans after completion of the 1967 bridge.