Reporting Tony Lopez
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) —The beauty of the new Bay Bridge is making for an ugly commute, but there are some drivers who will never have to sit through the traffic.
That’s because they’ll never be on that span, or any other bridge, because of a condition called gephyrophobia.
“Woah, I can feel the bridge shaking.”
“Are you OK?”
“Yeah, it’s OK.”
It really wasn’t OK for Susan Vann. She was on a bridge, and that’s the last place she wanted to be.
“And I can swear I know it’s not true, but I can swear that the bridge is moving.”
We were moving by foot, over Sacramento’s Tower Bridge. Driving over the crossing, or even the I Street Bridge was out of the question for Susan, who suffers from gephyrophobia—commonly known as “bridge phobia.”
“There are even people who avoid going over bridges at all,” said Dr. Ben Edmonson, “and maybe even have to hire someone to take them across the bridge, which is extremely inconvenient, needless to say.”
And needless to say, growing up in the Bay Area like Susan did makes the condition even worse.
“What about the Golden Gate Bridge?”
“I’ve never been over the Golden Gate Bridge.”
As for those drivers who wanted to be among the first to cross the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge:
“Good for them, but I’m not going to do it, ever.”
She was willing to give this a go.
“Now if you get too nervous, you tell me and we can go back.”
“Is the fear that it’s gonna collapse, or an earthquake?”
“So it’s just an anxiety?”
“No, it’s just—I’m getting nervous now.”
“You are? Should we go back?”
“Yeah, as long as I can look that way.”
“Yeah, you can look anywhere you want.”
She was looking forward to getting off the bridge.
But she also has her sights set on going to San Francisco this weekend.
“I’m taking the long way from Sacramento to San Jose, and from San Jose to San Francisco, on the train.”
And roughly seven hours later, Susan says she will be in San Francisco.
Most of the larger bridges in the country either offer rides or have rescue vehicles at the ready, in case a drive panics and can’t make it across.