The Bay Bridge is quietly turning 76 years old today.

The span, which opened on Nov. 12, 1936, is carrying a relatively light traffic load for its birthday, with many businesses and government offices closed for the Veterans Day holiday.

Often overshadowed by its more glamorous neighbor, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge will have some time in the spotlight next year, when its new eastern span is scheduled to open over Labor Day weekend.

Additionally, an $8 million illuminated art installation on the bridge called the Bay Lights is set to be unveiled in March 2013.

The installation, in which 25,000 LED lights will decorate the western span, was initially scheduled to coincide with the Bay Bridge’s 75th anniversary but was delayed because of permitting and fundraising issues.

Organizers are still collecting donations for the privately funded project, which was $2.5 million short of its goal when details of the installation were announced in September.

People can donate to the project online at or find out more about it at

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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