Letter to California Governor Gray Davis


March 8, 1999

Honorable Gray Davis
State Capitol
Sacramento, California

Honorable Governor:

There are moments in history when decisions affecting the lives and fortunes of great numbers of people are left in the hands of a single man. The outcomes of these decisions constitute the landmarks of human civilization.

We submit that such a moment is upon you with the Bay Bridge controversy. Please consider the following:

We fully understand the various political pressures now bearing upon you concerning this crucial project. Therefore we propose a solution based upon the following facts:

Any rational solution should include assurance that the present east span will not likely collapse. Caltrans has supervised some of the most urgent seismic repairs, and a more thorough interim retrofit of the existing east span superstructure should be expedited. Caltrans has determined that the timber piles and pile caps of the existing east span are not repairable to current safety standards, and that replacement of the span is the safest and most cost-effective permanent solution.

The time-tested solution to this situation is to call upon the wealth of talent worldwide which awaits the opportunity and challenge. A six-month open international competition for bridge design concepts will not delay the construction of a more permanent bridge, but will expedite it.

A competition announces to the world that California will share an opportunity to assess experience acquired in this century and apply it to a bridge which will span the millennium. Future generations will discover either that we lacked vision and confidence toward the end of this century, or else they will be inspired by the way we gracefully combined our growing awareness of nature's limits with our own limitless imaginations.


Rick Feher

Daniel Coman

Coman Feher Associates

Attachments: San Francisco Chronicle op-ed piece by Jerry Brown (June 22, 1998); Chronicle editorial (June 22, 1998); Chronicle feature story by Allan Temko (June 23, 1998); two letters from Dr. Astaneh to the MTC Bay Bridge Task Force; letter from Coman and Feher to José Medina, Director, Caltrans; Chronicle op-ed piece by Coman and Feher (February 23, 1999); international competition advertisement.

cc: Garry South

For additional information on the east span replacement project, see www.oaklandbridge.com

cc: Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator
Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator
Nancy Pelosi, M.C.
George Miller, M.C.
Ellen Tauscher, M.C.
Willie Brown, Mayor of San Francisco
Jerry Brown, Mayor of Oakland


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