Transbay Terminal overpass demolition

I often walk by the overpasses that connect (or once connected) to the soon-to-be-defunct Transbay Terminal here in San Francisco, including the Fremont Street “bridge to nowhere” and the curving elevated road over Howard Street. Both have been featured in Wordless Wednesday photos on CatSynth the posts Fremont Street Overpass and Shine.

[Click the above images to visit the original posts.]

The bridge to nowhere used to connect the Fremont Street exit off of I-80 to the Transbay Terminal. The Fremont Street ramp, which included the last remaining pieces of the Embarcadero Freeway, was truncated and left this bridge hanging. It was a particular favorite “architectural feature” of mine in the city, and in fact qualified as a “Thomasson” or hyper art structure in that was present and maintained but served no purpose.

The elevated road over Howard Street continued to function as a bus entrance to the terminal.

This past week both structures were demolished, as part of the project to replace the entire Transbay Terminal with a new modern transit center. Thanks to a tip from a close friend, I went to shoot some photos of the demolition in progress.

The Fremont Street bridge is completely orphaned on both sides. Only the single arch remained.

In the second photo, one can see the “Buses Only” ramp that temporarily replaced the bridge. That ramp was completely gone already.

The Howard Street overpass was being dismantled in pieces.

One could see the metal skeleton amidst the remaining concrete sections.

Here is a short video of the Howard Street overpass demolition in progress:

By Monday, the Fremont Street overpass was completely gone. And Howard Street structure will be gone soon as well. It is sad to so them go. For me, they were landmarks, part of the architectural landscape of the neighborhood. However, in a city where people get upset easily about architectural changes and preserving landmarks, these seem to have gone largely unremarked upon. I am glad I got a chance to see the demolition and take photos before they were gone. Indeed, some of the images can be quite beautiful in their own way. There is something about aging and decaying urban infrastructure, even when it is being reduced to a pile of concrete rubble and twisted rebar. But I would have rather seen it preserved – I wonder if San Francisco can ever do anything as creative with its old infrastructure as New York did with the High Line.

I may post more images in the near future.