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Commuters capture first trip across newly reopened Bay Bridge

Chesapeake Bay BridgeCommutingGavin NewsomRim Fire

Morning commuters in the Bay Area marveled at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Tuesday after more than a decade of waiting.

Images of the the bridge's towering suspension cables against white puffy clouds and a blue sky appeared on social media sites as commuters documented their first trip across the new span.

The entire bridge had been closed for five days as crews put the final touches on a $6.4-billion structure that replaces a stretch damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Some people described the reopening as "historical."

A group of officials, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, marked the reopening by riding in a parade of vintage cars across the new 2.2-mile span from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island. 

Wayne Barnes, who maintains the collection of cars for the San Francisco Academy of Art, told KPIX-TV that he remembered how useful the bridge was before it was damaged.

"And so this is a big deal, especially for somebody from this area,” he said. 

The project was marred by delays and cost overruns.

"Thank you for your patience, Bay Area!" state officials said in a Tweet on Monday afternoon. 

The first cars, led by California Highway Patrol cruisers with flashing lights, started rolling across the bridge toward San Francisco about 10:15 p.m. Monday. As they did, motorists honked their horns by the toll plaza on the Oakland side of the bridge, according to television news reports.

Historic moment, the opening of the new span of the Bay Bridge! @ San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge http://t.co/1vuONJ1I8J

— Amanda Soskin (@sodudev) September 3, 2013

Driving on the new Bay Bridge on opening day with yvvonneen @ San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge http://t.co/Vxen9y7Ywk

— Mischa Block (@MISCHABLOCK) September 3, 2013

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