(Photo by Bigge Crane & Rigging Co.)

Contractors working on the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge's eastern span pulled off a 1,700-ton mega-pick that began the evening of Feb. 7 and continued into the following morning. Local subcontractor Bigge Crane & Rigging Co. used 10 strand jacks to hoist a 200-ft-long, 85-ft-wide, 20-ft-tall steel "tub" girder off a barge and set it on temporary steel towers. Under the supervision of Kiewit-Pacific led prime contractor KFM, the 150-ft lift took 11 hours. The girder links the eastbound side of the bridge's 1.3-mile-long "skyway" with its still-unbuilt signature suspension span. A similar westbound lift is scheduled in June. Electronic controls that tie together the jacks made the delicate operation possible. "You hit 'enter' and away it goes," says Gedge Knopf, sales manager for Bigge.