A San Francisco Bay bridge that's the world's largest self-anchored suspension crossing was put to the test Tuesday, with thousands of commuters traversing its length after it opened six years behind schedule and five times over budget.
The new eastern portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which carried a price tag of some $6 billion to construct and is among the busiest crossings in the nation, opened late Monday, according to Reuters.
Morning rush hour traffic was quieter than usual but the bridge is expected to support some 280,000 daily commuters, San Francisco police told Reuters.
At an event commemorating the bridge's opening, state officials praised the bridge's form and function.
"It is a useful bridge. It will connect our communities," said California State Sen. Loni Hancock. "It allows our commerce to continue."
"And everybody," she added, "it is a gorgeous piece of public art."
Key state officials, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, celebrated the reopening by riding in a procession of vintage automobiles across the new 2.2-mile span from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The single-towered, 2,047-foot-long main span is double the length of previous record holders: Japan's Konohana Bridge and South Korea's Yeongjong Grand Bridge, Reuters reported.
The self-anchored bridge's span has its main cables locked into its deck —unlike a traditional suspension bridge, which is anchored to the ground.
The reopening follows years of postponements and setbacks caused by design disagreements, cost overruns, financial woes and safety concerns.
It also comes 24 years after its predecessor partly collapsed in a 1989 earthquake that rattled the region.
More than two decades "since the Loma Prieta earthquake," Hancock said, "it's about time, isn't it?"
Reuters contributed to this report.
First published September 3 2013, 7:05 PM