Bay Bridge Design
What it will look like — the Bay Bridge’s new self-anchored suspension segment, planned for completion in 2013, uses a single cable anchored into the deck and wrapped around the tower to solve the problem of the bay’s geology: soft Jell-O-like mud, not ideal for anchoring. (photo courtesy of Caltrans)

Marwan Nader (M.S.’89, Ph.D.’92 CE) was walking outside Davis Hall when the earthquake struck. He felt a jarring sensation, as if someone were trying to nudge him over. Something significant has happened, the graduate student thought. It was 5:04 p.m. on October 17, 1989. Reports trickled in — 6.9 magnitude — and rumors quickly spread. The Bay Bridge had collapsed!

Actually, the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge hadn’t collapsed, everyone learned, but a 50-foot section of the upper deck had fallen onto the lower deck, crippling the eastern span that straddled Oakland and Yerba Buena Island. The entire bridge closed for a month.

Not long after the Loma Prieta quake struck, Nader gazed at the hole in the bridge as he stood a safe distance away, part of a Berkeley team inspecting the damage. Twenty-two years later, he’s still standing on the bridge, so to speak. As lead design engineer of the self-anchored suspension (SAS) bridge, he is responsible for the standout architectural feature of the new portion of the bridge that will replace the old eastern… Read the rest of Rachel Shafer’s story in Innovations.

(Note: Marwan Nader’s Berkeley degrees are in structural and earthquake engineering. He is now vice president of T.Y. Lin International, which was founded by the late Tung-Yen Lin, who earned his master’s degree in civil engineering here in 1933, taught for decades in Berkeley’s College of Engineering, and was known worldwide as a visionary whose pioneering work in prestressed concrete had a profound influence on modern structural design.)