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SAN FRANCISCO’s BEST ●Attractions●Historical Sites

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San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
image copyright Raul Flores

This massive, gray, double-deck span, which stretches more than 8 miles across the Bay to Oakland, is the world’s longest bridge.  It would be a major sight in any other city, but with the neighboring Golden Gate Bridge, it often gets overlooked.  But the thousands of vehicles that use it daily to cross between San Francisco and Oakland or Sacramento don't ignore it.  It is best viewed from the Embarcadero waterfront and Ferry Building Pier at the foot of Market Street.  At mid-span the bridge passes through Yerba Buena Island and provides access to Treasure Island. Due to damage in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, a new East Span is being constructed and an original section the Bay Bridge is being entirely retrofitted for earthquake safety—a project that was supposed to be completed in 2007, but cost overruns and political turmoil have pushed the completion date up to 2013.  No pedestrians or bicyclists are allowed anywhere on the bridge span.  The auto toll is US$4 and is only collected from westbound vehicles--those entering San Francisco.  Vehicles carrying three or more individuals qualify for the carpool lane.  Watch out for Fast Pass-only lanes, as there are no agents available in those lanes to take your toll fee. These lanes are reserved for people who have purchased prepaid monthly passes.

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Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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