State and federal laws intended to protect birds like the double-crested cormorant, which nests on the Bay Bridge, mean that Caltrans must use extreme care as they demolish the old eastern span. After all, no one wants another Chippergate. But to do so is becoming very expensive! Let's look at the numbers.

  • 10,000: The length, in feet, of the to-be-demoed Bay Bridge structure on which double-crested cormorants like to nest
  • 3: The number of years ago that Caltrans last counted the number of double-crested cormorants on the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge
  • About 266: The number of double-crested cormorant nests during that count
  • 533: The number of double-crested cormorant nests found on the old eastern span during that count this year
  • 800: The number of double-crested cormorants who live in those nests
  • 2.5: The width, in feet, of the nesting “condos” built on the underside of the new span, in hopes that the birds would move away from the old span and onto the new (spoiler: they didn't)
  • 709,000: The cost, in dollars, of those unused condos
  • 1 million: The expenditure, in dollars, of other attempts to get the birds to move, "using bird decoys, cormorant recordings and even nests made from discarded Christmas wreaths." (Spoiler: they still didn't)
  • 1.6 million: The amount of money, in dollars, Caltrans has requested from the Bay Bridge Toll Authority so they can afford to "cover the entire cantilever and temporary bypass sections of the old bridge with netting" to keep additional birds away
  • 12.5 million: The cost, in dollars, for Caltrans to speed up demolition to get it done before nesting season next spring, as "once the birds start laying eggs, the work has to stop."
  • 33 million: The total amount, in dollars, that the Chronicle's Matier and Ross estimate Caltrans is now planning on spending to deal with these intractable birds

All facts and figures: Spending soars higher on relocation of Bay Bridge’s birds, SF Chronicle, Monday, September 29, 2014