Title: Dept. of Public Works. Toll Bridge Record Group,
Date (inclusive): 1929-1970
Inventory: F2516, 2517, 3310, 3338, 3780
Creator: California. Dept. of Public Works
California State Archives
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[Identification of item], Dept. of Public Works. Toll Bridge Record Group, F2516, 2517, 3310, 3338, 3780, California State
The first step toward State ownership and operation of toll bridges occurred in 1929, when the Legislature created the California
Toll Bridge Authority. Comprising the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Director of the Department of Public Works, the Director
of the Department of Finance, and the Chairman of the California Highway Commission, the Authority was empowered to determine
the location of bridges, issue bonds, set toll rates, and acquire land through imminent domain (
Stats. 1929, ch. 763).
In 1931, the Bridge Authority and the Department of Public Works were authorized to lay out, acquire, and construct a crossing
from San Francisco to Alameda County (
Stats. 1931, ch. 401), and $650,000 was appropriated to carry out a preliminary survey (
Stats. 1931, ch. 400). As a direct consequence of these statutes the Department of Public Works created the San Francisco-Oakland
Bay Bridge Division to carry out surveys, prepare plans, and eventually to construct the bridge. Charles E. Purcell was appointed
Chief Engineer, Charles Andrew became Bridge Engineer, and Glenn Woodruff was made Engineer of Design.
In the same year the Hoover-Young Commission (appointed by President Hoover and Governor Young of California in 1929) released
its final report on its review of various proposals for a Bay crossing. The report became the basis for the present location
and general design of the bridge (for a copy of the report, see F2517:559). Previous to the publication of the report, Public
Bill No. 695 of the 71st Congress (approved Feb. 20, 1931) had authorized the State of California to build a bridge over the
navigable waters of the Bay.
In 1933, the State Legislature provided funds for the construction of the bridge and provided that full charge for the acquisition
and construction of the structure was to be vested in the Department of Public Works (
Stats. 1933, ch. 5, 9, 10). The designing of the bridge was carried out by the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Division. Actual
construction was performed by a series of contractors overseen by Division Engineers.
Ground breaking ceremonies took place on Yerba Buena Island on July 9, 1933, and the bridge was officially opened on November
12, 1936, at a total cost of $74,000,000. Funding was provided by special act of the Legislature (
Stats. 1933, ch. 5), and by Toll Bridge Authority bonds sold to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
The bridge is owned by the California Toll Bridge Authority. Its operation and maintenance is the responsibility of the San
Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Section of the Bridge Department of the Division of Highways.
In 1940, shortly after the completion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Toll Bridge Authority issued bonds for
the purchase of the Carquinez and Antioch Bridges, and the Rodeo-Vallejo Ferry Company from the American Toll Bridge Company.
Investigations of the structures were carried out by the Bridge Department, which gained possession of the original construction
records of the Carquinez Bridge (see series entry 10, CARQUINEZ AND ANTIOCH BRIDGE PURCHASE RECORDS, 1923-1932, 1937).
To facilitate the construction of additional toll bridges, the Division of San Francisco Bay Toll Crossings was established
by Executive Order on December 29, 1947. An independent division within the Department of Public Works, it was responsible
for all engineering work and related activities with respect to the making of surveys, the preparation of plans, specifications,
and estimates for additional toll crossings of San Francisco Bay and later bridges throughout the state.
The Division of San Francisco Bay Toll Bridges carried out surveys which led to the purchase of both the San Mateo-Hayward
and the Dumbarton Bridges from private firms on September 12, 1951. Additionally, it oversaw the construction of the Richmond-San
Rafael Bridge completed September 1, 1956, the Benicia-Martinez Bridge finished July 28, 1959, and the Vincent Thomas Bridge
in Los Angeles Harbor opened November 15, 1963. In 1965, the Division carried out the complete reconstruction of the San Mateo-Hayward
Bridge. All these projects were authorized and funded by the Toll Bridge Authority.
The Toll Bridge Record Group comprises the records of the California Toll Bridge Authority; the San Francisco-Oakland Bay
Bridge Division; the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Section of the Bridge Department of the Division of Highways; and the
Division of San Francisco Bay Toll Crossings.
For additional records relating to the construction and operation of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge consult the following:
Title: Governor's Papers
Communications received in support of or opposition to the purchase by the State of California of the Southern Pacific and
Golden Gate Ferry companies, the reduction of bridge toll charges, the refinancing of bridge loans, and the improvement of
rapid transit facilities.
Title: Records of the Secretary of State
Agreement between the Toll Bridge Authority and the Key System regarding the replacement of ferries by the Bridge Railway,
and a copy of the Embarcadero Plan for the San Francisco Terminal of the Interurban Railway - includes drawings. 1935. 1ff.
Legal opinions on the status of bridge revenue bonds. 1938-1941. 1ff. SS12:13.
Title: Records of the Department of Industrial Relations
Correspondence and legal documents relating to court actions against Bridge Builders, Inc. for violation of the prevailing
wage law. 3ff. 1935. F3273:126-128.