The new Bay Bridge is ugly


They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Okay, that’s true. But I beheld the new Bay Bridge today and I wasn’t impressed.

The Bay Bridge is made up of two parts: The East and The West with Treasure Island in the middle. The Eastern Span was damaged during the 1989 earthquake and has been seismically unstable ever since. So a new bridge has been in the works for many years now. After much anticipation, the new part opened last night at 10:00pm. And you might think it’s pretty…

If you think safety is beautiful, then you might like this new span. “It is designed to withstand the strongest earthquake estimated by seismologists to occur over the last 1,500 years,” according to The Sacramento Bee. So yay for that!


And maybe you think engineering is awesome (shout out to my ramblin wrecks). Then you’ll be excited to hear that the new bridge contains “approximately 200 million pounds of structural steel, 120 million pounds of reinforcing steel, 200,000 linear feet of piling and about 450,000 cubic yards of concrete” (from
If you’re a big expenses kind of beholder, then I should tell you that this bridge cost $6.4 Billion.
Maybe you like that it includes a bike/pedestrian path. That maybe gorgeous to you! I walked the 8-mile walkway today and I didn’t enjoy it. Too much wind. Too much walking. But you might…
And I feel it’s necessary to mention that it took over 11 years and hundreds of thousands of workers to complete this project. And that’s pretty awesome!
I took all of these details into account before writing this blog post. I think all this is great, and I’m excited that we’re all safer. But at the end of the day, I look at the hundreds of naked light poles, and the tall white tower with unequal spacing in the crossbeams, and really,  it’s still ugly.

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mark
    Nov 12, 2013 @ 08:36:01

    Well I agree it looks bad, but maybe we will get used to it. After all the Eiffel Tower wasn’t well received either, and now…


  2. Haley
    Oct 06, 2013 @ 11:06:35

    WTF ?!!! 1500 years stuck w/ this?!!!


  3. Vern
    Sep 29, 2013 @ 17:33:09

    Its like they ran out of money with the crossbeams and just decided to stop. Ugly ugly UUUGLY. 😦


  4. Vern
    Sep 29, 2013 @ 17:31:27

    It is soooo UGLY!


  5. Andy
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 07:43:40

    You are so right, Kim. 6 million dollars and all we get is this? I was especially shocked at the lampposts which I assumed were temporary. OMG. Those things, those square posts with absolutely no charm whatsoever, are what they are using for lampposts? Unbelievable. I grew up in SF and very little that has been built in since the 1930s is worth looking at. The GG bridge, Coit Tower, Ferry Building, Rincon Annex, GG Park, all this went in long ago. Since then is seems planners are too short sighted, or the process is to corrupt to be able to produce anything of artistic value.


  6. Ed
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 07:30:56

    thanks for being truthful. The bridge is butt ugly. Especially the lampposts which are rectangular blocky and completely void of charm.


  7. Native San Franciscan
    Sep 21, 2013 @ 18:48:42

    Thanks for telling the truth. I was born and raised San Francisco and the new bridge is UGLY. How the heck did SF get jacked so badly on this offense to aesthetic design??? We need new project negotiators we’ve been had.


    • kimetzel84
      Sep 21, 2013 @ 21:26:57

      I feel like we are a city of beautiful bridges (heck, even the dumbarton bridge is nice), but we got this blemish now. Thanks for reading!


  8. Liz
    Sep 05, 2013 @ 06:16:22

    Damn right “beauty does lie in the eyes of the beholder’ I love that bridge. I don’t find it ugly at all. And I love the stint about withstanding the strongest earthquake, so that means the focus was on strength and not the beauty. Thanks for sharing! Have a lovely day!


    • Lisa
      Nov 07, 2013 @ 08:57:29

      I wouldn’t count too much on the safety of that span of the bridge, with the cracking bolts and all (if you pass under the new span, you can see the rust already). I think my father is right – they should leave the old span up for a while…just in case. I disagree with your comment that the span was built for safety. It was built for the money that changed hands and nothing more.


  9. Shari
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 20:13:30

    I agree. Not so pretty! The water is pretty though!


    • kimetzel84
      Sep 03, 2013 @ 20:15:13

      Thanks! Yeah, I’m with you. The water looked so blue today. I should’ve just photographed the bay.


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