Your faithful blogger has been on a quick trip east, talking up Oakland as usual. No one really cared much about Oakland, until 60 Minutes came to the rescue last night. They aired a story about the urgent need to earthquake-proof the Bay Bridge, slinging superlatives about the new Eastern Span under construction. We were so proud!
Of course, the TV segment considered the grandparent and grandchild bridges side-by-side. Caltrans Spokesman Bart Ney received plenty of airtime and he showed the new bridge in ways we have already seen. The original bridge was rigid, and a marvel for its time. The new bridge enables movement, and certain parts can bend and break so the whole remains intact.
In typical 60 Minutes style, the piece played up the current risks of living with the grandparent Eastern Span. The facts are undeniable, since the Hayward Fault quake and the replacement bridge are both well overdue. Steve Heminger, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission almost shrugged his shoulders, responding to the concerns in a hopeful yet realistic manner.
This TV program didn’t touch on what Bay Area residents think or do about earthquake preparations. Oaklanders even ran a major drill in Oakland this past weekend. Residents are learning, finally, where to turn off their gas and what they should do to be self-sufficient for a couple days. There’s no point in living with hysterical fear, que sera, sera.
By 2013, the Eastern Span will likely open for business. In the meantime, all of America glimpsed this gorgeous engineering marvel and acknowledged the Contra Costa and Oakland – at least for a few fleeting minutes.