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Salvaged Bay Bridge Steel Awarded To 5 Art Proposals

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Salvaged steel from the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge has been awarded to five projects for public display, with more awards on the way, Oakland Museum of California officials announced Tuesday.

The chosen projects include a public sculpture near the Petaluma River, a gate for an arts center in Joshua Tree, two public installations near the bridge and an observation platform for a park in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood, museum officials said.

The steel was salvaged from the ongoing dismantling of the old Bay Bridge, which started last summer. The Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, the governing body for the construction of the new eastern span, directed the museum to find artists to award the salvaged steel.

The five projects chosen are the first of three rounds of awards of bridge steel. Applicants for future rounds must submit proposals by May 2 or Dec. 1 of next year.

Among the recipients of this round are San Francisco landscape architecture firm SURFACEDESIGN, which is planning an overlook and viewing platform at a Mission Bay park.

The platform will be constructed of bridge trusses and other steel and a series of interactive exhibits in the park will teach visitors about the history of the bridge and its construction.

Another proposal by Oakland-based Hyphae Design Lab would create several installations in the redevelopment of the old Oakland Army Base.

Development of that space as a new logistics center for the Port of Oakland is finally underway after the land was turned over to the city and port a decade ago.

The proposed installations by Hyphae would incorporate the original 504-foot truss spans, fashioning them into a bridge tower that would frame the touchdown of the bicycle and pedestrian route on the new eastern span and an observation deck at Burma Road and Maritime Street with views of the port and bridge.

Another proposed installation would be built near the bridge, possibly on Treasure Island. Bay Area artist Tom Loughlin designed a sound and light sculpture from an old Bay Bridge warning light that would incorporate top beams for seating around it.

Loughlin hopes the piece will evoke thoughts of the natural landscape and the tools humans have built to help them traverse it, according to museum officials.

Sculptor Paul Lorentz of Petaluma will build a sculpture from bridge trusses near the Petaluma River, a design that will feature two separate cantilevered structures with a space between them that will call to mind the power of the bridge just before its completion.

The last award announced Tuesday was to the Harrison House, an arts center just outside of Joshua Tree National Park, where the bridge's top horizontal braces will be fashioned into an entry gate.

No timeline was given for completion of the sculpture and structures approved. Applicants interested in future awards can find application materials at

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