The first permanent section of the Bay Bridge’s new self-anchored suspension span is being hoisted into place today.

The section weighs 1,020 tons and is nearly 84 feet long. It is being lifted onto the bridge’s temporary support steel by a 400-by-100-foot shear-leg crane barge, which is the largest on the West Coast.

Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney called the event “a big moment” in the construction of the new bridge’s eastern span.

“This is history in the making,” Ney said.

The section being put into place today is one of eight sections that arrived recently from China, where they were manufactured.

Ney said additional deck and tower sections will arrive over the coming months, and that if all goes well, commuters will see significant progress on the new eastern span this year.

He said the span, now estimated to cost $6.3 billion, is expected to open to traffic in 2013.

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