Bridges Become Tunnels
Oakland and Alameda grew and commerce knit them together, bridges across
the Estuary became a necessity. The Webster Street Bridge was the first
to be built. Completed in 1871, this long wooden trestle with iron draw
was replaced in 1900 by a modern iron and steel bridge. The Central
Pacific's Alice Street Bridge opened in 1873 as the first railroad
bridge across Estuary. The Southern Pacific replaced it in 1898 with a
new span at Harrison Street.
Although all of these bridges included movable sections, or draws, which
were swung open to allow boats and ships to pass through, they were
still seen as obstacles to commercial shipping. The solution was the
Posey Tube, opened in 1928. This tunnel under the Estuary was built of
precast concrete sections which were floated to the site, sunk, and
assembled at a sufficient depth to allow deep-draft ships to pass
overhead. An adjacent tunnel, the Webster Street Tube, opened in 1963.
Ironically, these tunnels are no longer deep enough allow the largest
container ships to pass overhead.
"Walk Along the Water"
© Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.
Explore this Topic:
Historic photograph of bridges
crossing the estuary at Webster and Harrison -
Port of Oakland Archive,
used with permission
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