Caltrans responds to news story questioning Bay Bridge safety

Newspaper alleged improper testing; Caltrans wants to reassure public

Bridges News Caltrans, Contra Costa Times June 14, 2012
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The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is responding vigorously to a May 27 story published in the Sacramento Bee that alleged improper testing and possible structural weakness in the concrete of the structures under the eastern section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The $6.4 billion self-anchored suspension span is currently under construction.


Caltrans has scheduled a webinar for tomorrow (Friday, June 15) at 10 a.m. “to educate the public about the engineering, construction and safety of the Bay Bridge.” The address for the webinar is


“The webinar will give the public the opportunity to directly hear from bridge engineers and experts about important project details, including protocols required to ensure the highest possible level of seismic safety,” according to the Caltrans announcement.


Caltrans asked the Sacramento Bee to retract the story in a June 7 letter to the paper’s editor, Joyce Terhaar. “A Caltrans review of the Bee’s assertions has determined that they are completely inaccurate,” Caltrans said in a statement. “Every part of the new span has been thoroughly tested by expert engineers and independent experts who have determined that the bridge is safe and sound.”


“Your reporter was given voluminous evidence that contradicts the story’s conclusion that the bridge foundations were inadequately tested,” Caltrans’ director Malcolm Dougherty wrote to the Sacramento Bee. “Evidence suggests that your reporter failed to test the accuracy of his claims and omitted information that contradicted his conclusion. The story includes unsubstantiated and untrue accusations that Caltrans officials misrepresented or dismissed important engineering evidence during bridge construction.”

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