BAY BRIDGE: Signature span may not open for several months

Caltrans has until July 10 to make decision

Bridges News San Francisco Chronicle May 30, 2013
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The opening of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge may be delayed for months, according the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.


“We absolutely want to do what’s right and not be rushed,” MTC Executive Director Steven Heminger told the San Francisco Chronicle.


Officials have until July 10 to decide if the new iconic span will open by the original kick-off date of Sept. 3. The reason Labor Day weekend was the target date originally was because Caltrans needs to shut down the existing Bay Bridge for several days to make the transition to the new bridge. Holiday traffic is expected to be light. However, it could be months before the next opportunity comes when congestion will be lighter than normal.


“The thing I fear most is if we lose [Sept. 3], are we going to get one back?” said Heminger.


Extensive testing still needs to be done on 192 steel rods which came from the same fabricator that manufactured the ones that failed. Also, Mare Island is handling the $10 million replacement of the 32 rods that snapped, and the fabricator just received the order. Officials plan on submerging some of the rods still in place in saltwater and tightening them over time to measure their strength against corrosion in a marine environment.


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