San Francisco: Why no one has approved a second Bay bridge for 70 years

San Francisco structural engineer Roumen V. Mladjov noted last year in a Chronicle opinion piece that there are 700,000 people per bridge in the Bay Area compared to only 171,000 for New York City.

The demand on the Bay Bridge alone results in gridlock even on weekends and weekday rush hour starting at 5 a.m., all while the region’s population is expected to increase from the current 7.7 million to 9.3 million in 2040.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has said for years that the bay needs a new bridge. BART is just as adamant that the time has come for a second Transbay tube. By the time Feinstein made a push in 2000, calls for a companion to the Bay Bridge had been bubbling up for more than 50 years.

In fact, the Southern Crossing, a highway bridge that would span the bay somewhere between the Bay Bridge and the San Mateo Bridge is an idea brought forward more than a dozen times over the last 70 years, only to founder.