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The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is the region's workhorse bridge, carrying more than a third of the traffic of all of the state-owned bridges combined. It is also a jewel along the San Francisco waterfront.
In 1924, government engineers investigated the possibilities of building the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and determined that it would be impractical due to earthquake faults and the difficulty of finding a solid anchorage on the muddy bottom. However, President Herbert Hoover, an engineer, took an interest in the idea and in October 1929, with California State Governor C. C. Young, appointed the Hoover-Young San Francisco Bay Bridge Commission. The Commission submitted its report in August 1930, concluding that not only was the bridge necessary to the development of the area but that it was “entirely feasible from economic and construction viewpoints.” Hoover expedited War and Navy Department approvals and promised financial support through his Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Contracts for the first construction were awarded in April 1933.
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was opened to vehicular traffic on November 12, 1936, and was built for a total cost of $77.6 million. Tolls paid off the government loan within twenty years. Upon its completion, the Bay Bridge was recognized as the greatest bridge in the world for its length, cost, weight, depth, amount of steel and concrete used, number of piers, and versatility of engineering.
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