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At the turn of the century, travelers to the Bay Area were faced with a tortuous
journey across the swift flowing water of the Carquinez Strait. First to Vallejo,
then by ferry to Martinez before tackling the Tunnel Road to Oakland.
Aven Hanford, owner of a grocery store in Vallejo, and Oscar Klatt, a wholesale
grocery salesman from San Francisco, came up with an easier way. They began
a ferry service in 1917 across the strait. Five years later, the ferry was
carrying 400,000 cars and trucks annually. With the demand increasing, Hanford
and Klatt decided to build a bridge.
Using new and untried construction techniques, the bridge-builders conquered
the strong tidal current. Two years and one month after the start of construction
and only hours after Charles Lindbergh completed his solo flight over the
Atlantic Ocean, the bridge was opened to traffic in 1927.
The state acquired the bridge in 1940 and gradually reduced the tolls until
passage of the span was free, As traffic began increasing, a decision was
made in 1955 to build a twin parallel bridge, 200 feet east of the existing
The new bridge, designed to blend in with the original Carquinez Bridge, incorporated
countless new features reflecting the engineering advances made since the
construction of the first crossing. Some of the innovations were the use of
welded steel fabrication for the cantilever spans, high strength bolts for
the field connections and the high strength steel known as T-1, three times
stronger than the usual steel used in bridge construction. The new bridge,
opened in 1958, has four lanes of northbound traffic.
The original structure, which marked its 60th birthday in 1987, was temporarily
closed in the 1970s for repairs and strengthening. The span carries three
lanes of southbound traffic.
Carquinez Bridge | East
Brother Light Station | Richmond
Bridge | China Camp State Park
| Angel Island | Golden
Gate Bridge | Alcatraz | Pier
39 | SF Ferry Building
| Treasure Island | Bay