The Troll on the San Francisco Bay Bridge

The San Francisco Giants are leading the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Score so far, 6th inning:  4 to 2 (YAAAAY!!  You go, Giants!)

Self mosied over to Whole Foods and bought a copy of today’s New York Times.  Already (and she’s still only in Section A), she’s read many many articles that give her more news on the Bay Area than the copy of the San Francisco Chronicle she read just yesterday.

For instance, this fascinating tidbit (with accompanying visual) on a “small iron squatter” on the San Francisco Bay Bridge (Article was written by Shoshana Walter):

The Bay Bridge troll, a 14-inch-high, snarling iron sculpture, has lived beneath the upper deck of the eastern span of the bridge since workers completed repairs after the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.

The quake caused a 50-foot section of the bridge to collapse, resulting in one death and forcing construction of a massive, new eastern span, which is expected to be completed in 2013.

Now, many Bay Area residents wonder what will become of the troll, whose powers are said to have protected the bridge, and the 280,000 cars that cross it daily, from further troubles.

*     *     *     *     *

The troll moved in without the permission of bridge authorities 22 years ago.  Construction crews were working around the clock to repair the bridge when the ironworkers forging the replacement section thought to ask Bill Roan, an artist and fellow ironworker, to create a commemmorative sculpture.

Mr. Roan went to the library to find an appropriate candidate.

In “Billy Goats Gruff,” there was a troll that lived under the bridge, and he was really mean and nasty to everyone,” Mr. Roan said.  “But he took really good care of his bridge.”

As workers raced to complete the repairs, Mr. Roan worked for three nights straight to turn a piece of the collapsed bridge into the dark iron sculpture.  Assuming that Caltrans would reject the idea, the group took Mr. Roan’s creation straight to the construction site.

Workers welded it into place, the troll’s long tongue snaking past a long spud wrench grasped by the troll’s webbed hands.  The wrench was affixed to a bridge bolt.  By the time officials in Sacramento heard of the action, it was too late.

Commuters cannot see the troll from their cars; it is underneath the deck on the northern side of the span.

But self highly recommends googling for a visual.  It is a really cool piece of art.

(Here are more close-ups of the thing, from a blog self stumbled on, just today:  Melancholia Imaginativa)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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