Effort to make a house from the SF Bay Bridge scrap


This effort is commendable but has clearly overlooked one of the primary challenges to dismantling the bridge, LEAD mitigation. Short of reprocessing the steel the new home will be virtually uninhabitable because of the risk of brain damaging yourself and your children. There might be PCB’s in it too.

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Is there a lot of lead in this steel? Or is it the paint or something?

I wonder if this would end up being an environmental win vs recycling the scrap. You would end up with a house made out of an epic amount of steel, which is pretty expensive.

Actually houses seems like a rather dumb thing to try to build out of this sort of material. Need something that will get more out of the industrial strength nature of the material. Maybe a park? Could build benches, tables, shelters, stages, climbing structures, etc.

Why not build a bridge out of it?


From what I’ve seen of dismantled steel structures, typically the results are an unwieldy swirling mass of metal. The destruction of the bridge will probably significantly affect the durability of the steel, and then re-working the steel is likely to be more effort than just melting it down and recreating it.

I imagine the firm in China has similar plans as the project, and was the best bidder for recycling the metal into something new. And, like most recycling, it’ll happily go into those shipping containers that we receive full and then sit around waiting to head back overseas.

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This is what I think when I think lots of repurposed plate steel.

Dangerous lead would be in the paint that (were it to exist) have to be manually (wire brush, sand blast) or chemically removed. Depending on the scale of the structure I don’t see that it would be limiting to the funds. Put a sealer on top and any residue is trapped in, again. Could be very airy and light, even open to the sides and have a real ‘spanny’ feel.

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Maybe it could just be relocated as-is, like how Magneto converted the Golden Gate Bridge into a pedestrian walkway to Alcatraz in “X-Men 3.”

In particular, it would make a great spare bridge, in case something bad should happen to the new replacement bridge.

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Keeping those things safe and operational isn’t cheap. Plus it’s not exactly a trivial matter to re-connect the old span at the Treasure Island end.

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