The Bay Bridge suffered major damage from the devastating earthquake that struck California in 1989, but a North Tonawanda company's shock absorbers have been in place on the rebuilt span to try to make sure the next big earthquake doesn't cause the same type of deadly damage.
Now, Taylor Devices, the North Tonawanda shock absorber manufacturer, will be upgrading all of the so-called seismic dampers it first made for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge back in 2001.
All of the dampers will be replaced by updated devices that meet new state standards set by California regulators.
It's a big deal for Taylor Devices, too: The $7.5 million contract is the biggest single deal that the company has received in its 63-year history.
Protecting bridges and buildings from earthquake damage has become a significant part of Taylor Devices' business. The dampening systems, based on technology that originally was developed for the Space Shuttle program, use large shock absorbers that are designed to absorb some of the potentially damaging energy generated by the earthquake.
In the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the upper deck of the Bay Bridge collapsed onto the lower deck.