The East Span of the Bay Bridge, which connects San Francisco to Oakland, has been the subject of California’s biggest-ever public infrastructure project in recent years, reducing the 1936 structure to being so much second-hand steel.

Work to reconstruct the East Span began after earthquake damage led to concerns about the longevity of the original structure – and neither the 1936 bridge nor its replacement has an official name in its own right.

But the Bay Bridge is an iconic part of the area’s skyline, and Oakland Museum of California are now working with the California Department of Transportation and Bay Area Toll Authority to make sure the dismantled part survives in some form.

Some 300 tonnes of second-hand steel have been carefully chosen due to their architectural and artistic merit, and local artists can now bid to obtain these materials free of charge for use in public artworks.

In order to qualify, applications must have a clear idea of how any other costs will be paid for, as well as the correct permits for installation in the relevant public location.

Ultimately though, it should allow segments of the Old Bay Bridge to be retained for future generations – an important historical link, just as the bridge itself is an important physical link.