BAY BRIDGE: As Caltrans downplays severity of issues on Bay Bridge, officials demand investigation

Exposed tendons could spell trouble for span during major earthquake

Bridges News The Sacramento Bee May 21, 2013
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More eyes are about to lock in on the new Bay Bridge, as officials contemplate whether or not to open the span by Labor Day weekend.


Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, chair of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, and Sen. Anthony Cannella are calling for an investigation into the latest string of mishaps on the new Bay Bridge. After broken bolts and cracked welds were discovered weeks ago, The Sacramento Bee revealed over the weekend that certain tendons had been exposed to rain and salt water from the Bay. The latest developments (welds and exposed tendons) have raised serious doubts of having a Labor Day opening.


“Given all the questions on bolts and tendons, I don’t think a hard deadline makes sense,” San Francisco Supervisor David Campos told The Bee. Campos is a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which holds financial responsibility for Bay Area toll bridges. “The goal would be to open the bridge as soon as possible but no sooner than we can ensure safety. At this point, I don’t think a Labor Day opening is realistic.”


The tendons play an important role if there is an earthquake, and The Bee has revealed that tendon corrosion could disable sections of the skyway during a major event. Experts also told The Bee that Caltrans could have done what was recommended to prevent corrosion, but construction records show Caltrans managers turned the other cheek.


“At every turn, they have tried to minimize the severity of the issues,” Campos told The Bee, “undermining their own credibility with respect to the entire project.”

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