Amidst the excitement and controversy over the opening of the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, plans for the old span's parts have been slightly less enthusiastic.
But when one Bay Area man heard that most of the scrap parts would be sent to China, he began rallying support to hold on to some of the bridge for a new construction project: a house.
David Grieshaber, a computer engineer and entrepreneur, came up with the idea last year. When the new span opened on Labor Day, he launched a website to pitch the idea to Bay Bridge officials, governing agencies and locals, the San Francisco Examiner reported. His plan asks for fewer than 200 feet of the 10,176-foot-long span.
"A piece of our history will be gone forever. Some of the bridge should remain behind for future generations to enjoy," Grieshaber wrote. "Let’s use a few small sections and create the most modern self-sustaining housing and eco multi-use space in the world."
Bridge parts Grieshaber hopes to salvage include everything from whole road sections and steel beams to wire and fencing. He lists several additional structures that could be built alongside the single family house, including condos, a bed and breakfast and an eco-co-working space.
Grieshaber already has specific ideas for how the parts will be repurposed: the roadway for the bottom floor of the house, the bridge's sides for walls and ground-up concrete and asphalt in place of plaster and wood, the Examiner reports. The building would be topped off with solar panels, windmills, fiber-optic lighting and a home-sized desalination plant for collected rainwater.
"With assistance from Bay Area individuals, organizations, companies and government we can source all of the build parts locally and create something magical and unique for everyone to enjoy," he wrote on his site.
The project recognizes other local, innovative plans to reclaim the the bridge parts but contends that this is an opportunity to think outside the box.
"There are plans for pieces in Gateway Park, maybe a pier with a view where the bridge once was and even talks of pieces in a museum," the website says. "We think that something more creative should be done with some of the scrap."
According to Bay Bridge officials, the plan has not yet reached them, but if Grieshaber were to obtain the parts, they would have to be thoroughly stripped of coats of lead paint and asbestos, the Examiner reported.
While Grieshaber hopes the parts and a small land plot can be donated to him, he will have to navigate through a chain of command. According to the Examiner, Bay Bridge officials relinquished responsibility of the parts to the span's demolition contractors who say giving the parts to Grieshaber would be too much of a liability. However, they added, he can attempt to acquire them from the recycler.