UC Berkeley press release


UC Berkeley professors to unveil new, cheaper design for Bay Bridge at campus's Cal Day open house April 19

by Robert Sanders

Berkeley -- Two UC Berkeley professors will unveil an alternative design for the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge at the campus's annual Cal Day open house on Saturday, April 19.

The design, a cooperative enterprise between Abolhassan Astaneh, professor of civil engineering, and R. Gary Black, associate professor of architecture, is a steel, cable-stayed bridge.

Black conceived the sweeping new design of a single angled tower as the dramatic equivalent of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Steel, cable-stayed bridges survived the devastating January 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, with very minor damage or no damage at all, Astaneh says.

"The Kobe quake was a nice laboratory that showed how well these steel, cable-stayed bridges perform. I felt that we needed to bring that information to the public and to the Bridge Design Task Force that is considering the various designs for a new eastern segment of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge," he says.

In his Cal Day talk, Astaneh plans to discuss the pros and cons of cable-stayed bridges. He and Black also will present a scale model of their proposal for the eastern span, plus display computer renderings and talk about preliminary structural findings.

The free April 19 Cal Day lecture is at 2 p.m. in Sibley Auditorium, located in the Bechtel Engineering Building in the northeast corner of the campus.

The entire day from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. will be filled with a wide range of activities, ranging from sports events to lectures, music to high-tech displays, art exhibits to theatrical performances. Last year more than 30,000 people attended Cal Day.

Astaneh and Black also will display a 14-foot-long model of the Bay Bridge's western span, while Astaneh discusses various aspects of seismic behavior.

Astaneh was leader of the team that studied the seismic vulnerability of the Bay Bridge's eastern span. The team's findings eventually led to the decision to tear it down and build a new segment between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland. He also was the principal investigator of several studies of seismic retrofits of Bay Ara toll bridges.

Black is an engineer and designer who has worked to integrate structural engineering with architectural design in both his published building designs and in his teaching.

They will formally present their design to the Bay Bridge Design Task Force early in May.

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