2013 marked the end of the Oakland pipes at 9th Street and Pine in West Oakland. If you live in the SF Bay Area and are an artist or street art follower you have already felt the loss. For those of you who are not familiar with the pipes, it was a playground for both writers and muralist for the past several years.
In March, 2009 Caltrans awarded MCM Construction a contract to replace overpasses and ramps along the Interstate 880 corridor located between Hayward and Oakland. The project was scheduled for completion this year. It required gigantic round pipes that were to be submerged into the ground and filled with reinforced concrete to support the over head roadway. The pipes were stored on a several acre lot located a few miles down the freeway in West Oakland. On a need be basis they were hauled off to the construction site.
Initially the existence of the yard was not well known but overtime it became open season attracting viewers and doers. The pipes were painted on the exterior and as time slipped by the interiors were painted as well including the giant crane that was used to lift them onto the trucks for their ride down the freeway. Empty spray cans littered the grounds and writing covered the freeway wall bordering one side of the lot. On any given day when we stopped by we might find the place empty or hear muted voices drifting from unknown directions since you could not see around the pipes. The locals who drive that freeway said it was quite a sight to see the painted pipes suspended over the freeway.
This is a photo of the pipe site we took October, 2013.
Some of the pipes are supporting this overpass at 5th Avenue in Oakland. If anything ever happens to the overpass it will be another anthropological moment for those who discover the pipes in the rubble.
If you want to see videos and photos of how the pipes were used click on the I-880 Corridor Improvment FB Page
As a last hurrah we posted many more photos not previously shared. Most of the photos were taken in 2013. Oakland Graffiti Pipes Enjoy!