Black Lives Matter protesters shut down a major artery in the SF Bay Area

The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge is one of the major arteries in the San Francisco Bay Area.  That's why it's a big deal when protesters walk onto the bridge and stop traffic, especially because the bridge has...well, let's just call them issues.  It remains to be seen whether, over the long run, this protest helped or hurt the cause in the eyes of the people trapped in their cars.  After all, Bay Area virtue-signalers will put up with a lot to see Trump gone.

It took almost three and a half years to build the Bay Bridge, from 1933 through 1936.  When finished, those men who worked on the bridge, 24 of whom died during construction, had built a two-tiered, two-part span covering four and half miles of the San Francisco Bay.  The span has something of a pause on Angel Island, when it no longer crosses the Bay but, instead, travels through the Yerba Buena Tunnel.

Originally, the lower level was for train travel.  When the train was decommissioned, people driving to Oakland were on the lower level, and those driving to San Francisco were on the upper level.  One of the things that always rankled San Franciscans when watching Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate was that he ostensibly traveled from San Francisco to Oakland on the upper deck.

In October 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, one segment of the upper deck on the eastern span collapsed, killing a driver.  Because the bridge is such a vital artery, CalTrans quickly reopened it, but it was clear that the bridge needed upgrading.  Ultimately, CalTrans retrofitted the western (San Francisco) end and completely rebuilt the eastern (Oakland) end, a process that took two decades and had a 2,500% cost overrun (not a typo).  The eastern span is now a single-deck bridge.

In 2015, the local paper reported that the newly built eastern portion was still a seismic threat:

Californians spent $6.4 billion to replace the old Bay Bridge eastern span because it was unlikely to survive a major earthquake. Now, mounting revelations of construction problems are calling into question whether the new bridge can withstand the Big One.

Tests showing signs of saltwater intrusion into the bridge tower's foundation and damage to its anchor rods could be the most serious seismic issues for the project. But they aren't the only ones. Substandard welds on the suspension span's decks and water leaks near rods that secure the main cable also trouble engineers outside Caltrans who are experts in bridge construction and integrity.

None of this, incidentally, surprised me, because I'd heard from one of the construction workers that CalTrans originally bought materials from Japan but, when they proved too expensive, switched to Chinese-manufactured components.  The Chinese-made pieces, said the construction worker, were garbage.

The same article details a myriad of other problems with the bridge.  For someone like me, a worrier, driving across the bridge was always something that made me worry.

Safe or not, about 260,000 vehicles per day cross the bridge.  Traffic is heaviest during peak commutes, but it's a busy bridge at all times, except for the wee hours of the morning.  For those sitting on the span in traffic, there's always the slight worry that, if another big earthquake hits, they're in a bad place.

This long history is not just blather.  It matters because of what happened Sunday afternoon on the Bay Bridge: Black Lives Matter activists decided to shut the bridge down.  It's hard to tell if the cars honking are in sympathy with the protesters or really hacked off and worried by an unnecessary traffic jam trapping them on a theoretically unstable bridge in the middle of a bay in earthquake country.

Mandeep, who posted the videos immediately above, decided that the whole thing was an intersectional moment, tying together Black Lives Matter and transgender lives (because who could forget that, in years past, June was dedicated to gay lives mattering):

It must be so exhausting being an intersectional, virtue-signaling, victim-group person in today's ever-changing activist world.

If you're a mom with a baby and toddler screaming in the back seat of a car while you're trapped in a two-hour activist-created traffic jam, maybe now is a good time to revisit some of your leftist political beliefs.  But then again, given that this is the Bay Area, maybe not: