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Bay Area's New Span Truly Is A Troll Bridge

Who goes there? On the Bay Bridge, the new troll will want to know.
Who goes there? On the Bay Bridge, the new troll will want to know.

Would there be a troll under the new Bay Bridge that links San Francisco and Oakland?

That seemingly silly question was being taken pretty seriously by some in California until Monday evening, when the official Twitter page of the San Francisco-Bay Bridge put out the word that, yes, there will be a little fellow under the new span. He'll be there to "protect" travelers.

As our friends at KQED's News Fix blog explain, during a retrofit after the 1989 earthquake that shook the area, a metal troll created by artist Bill Roan "was welded in place on the north side of the [old bridge's] eastern span, without official sanction." Not surprisingly, over the years the troll's legend grew.

With this past weekend's opening of the new bridge and the impending demolition of the old span, campaigns had begun to "save the Bay Bridge troll."

As it turns out, the old troll — known as San Andreas — has been saved and will be kept for now at at undisclosed location, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Eventually, according to KGO-TV, the troll "will go into the bridge museum that's being built near the toll plaza." He's got "a dragon head, goat's horns, webbed hands and feet and a spud wrench at the ready," theLos Angeles Times writes.

The new troll is to be welded to the the new bridge's eastern span, KQED says. He's more human-like than his predecessor, but has what look to be glowing eyes set in something of a Gollum-like face. There is "an ironworking hammer in its right hand and a tong in its left," as KGO says.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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