Senator DeSaulnier to Chair Hearing on Lessons Learned from the Development and Construction of the Bay Bridge

January 22, 2014 16:17 pm · 41 comments

Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) will chair an informational hearing of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on Friday, January 24, 2014 in Sacramento.

The subject of the hearing is: “Lessons Learned from the Development and Construction of the Bay Bridge”.

This hearing includes the submission of a preliminary outside investigative report titled: “The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge: Basic Reforms for the Future”.

QUESTION FOR CLAYCORDIANS: What lessons do YOU think politicians, construction workers, etc. learned from the construction of the Bay Bridge?

Noj January 22, 2014 at 3:48 PM

CalTrans PAC gives DeSaulnier money and he investigates CalTrans…you idiots.

Atticus Thraxx January 22, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Do it right the first tome and lessons learned are almost irrelevant.

Atticus Thraxx January 22, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Do it right the first time and lessons learned are almost irrelevant.

Mark January 22, 2014 at 4:05 PM

The Big, Bad Wolf is investigating Grandma’s disappearance.

Atticus Thraxx January 22, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Yeah I see the irony but my statement stands 😉

ClayDen January 22, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Lessons learned are part of being a good engineer and a good manager; there’s not enough time to make all of the mistakes yourself. Engineering and management are NOT exact sciences. I say this from the perspective of having spent over 35 years doing both in aerospace.

The key question here is that there were plenty of lessons to be learned, but did anybody actually learn them?

RANDOM TASK January 22, 2014 at 4:18 PM

lol wow you guys really did this state over now the politicians just rub their scams in our faces ……..dems take and then bash us over the head with it …uhhh hey kids what did we learn today ….well the tax payer and toll payers get ripped off and all is good not one goes to jail for misuse and or shady dealings or the bait and switch ……if you can find it someone said the bay bridge will be the dems greatest theft yet…….but they didn’t say they would throw it in our faces over and over again ……wasn’t it the politicians jobs to make sure the bridge didn’t go over budget and didn’t have problems and didn’t bilk the taxpayer over and over ………oh that’s right the only one who put up and stink got the western span named after them as a payoff …….and some hush cash ……..ahhh beautiful times here the payoffs and ripoffs don’t even make the news ……doh forgot the dems run the news as well ……..soooo mission accomplished I guess … demifornia will probably ask for federal aid soon just to pad their pockets even more …….what like it won’t happen ?

RANDOM TASK January 22, 2014 at 4:23 PM

of course this seminar is on our dime complete with jumbo shrimp and free cocktails come one come all who participated in setting up demifornia for the fall ……..sheers

Follow The Money January 22, 2014 at 4:38 PM
Dorothy January 22, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Lesson learned? How to draw a job out for many years and make them cost many times more than the projected cost.

Next up – bullet train that starts in the middle and ends up going nowhere for the next 50 years.

Accountability January 22, 2014 at 4:50 PM

C.C. Myers Inc knows how to run a project they fixed ramp connecting Interstate 80 and Interstate 880 south in Oakland in only eight days after an exploding gasoline tanker caused steel from another ramp to collapse on it.

Bridge should have been contracted out Completely.
Companies and individuals can be held accountable and sued for screwing up. Will anyone at Caltrans be out of a job, except of course the whistle blowers.

When is DeSaulnier going to push for a house cleaning at Caltrans?

A Useless politician !

anon January 22, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Waste of time and taxpayer money.

Shouldn't we be January 22, 2014 at 4:54 PM

addressing as Congressman? Or is that premature? His election is a done deal in this state with its rigged districts and its peculiarly sheep like voters.

The Theorist January 22, 2014 at 5:22 PM

We’ll be the ones learning the lessons when the next Loma Prieta hits and we find out how many corners were cut and what kind of substandard metal and processes were used in the building of the bridge. It will make the ’89 failure looks like child’s play.
Lessons learned: Zero …but I’m sure there are more than a few new millionaires from all the cost overruns and palms greased.

Anonymous January 22, 2014 at 6:07 PM

This is about maximum press exposure for DeSaulnier in his run
for Millers spot. Unsatisfied with bankrupting the county and the state he is shooting for the whole country.

To DeSaulniers intern that posts here: Lets see how much press Mark gets out of this.

motimer January 22, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Oh here we go another conspiracy theorist…..Let’s Hear it…

Saint January 22, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Lesson learned? That the problem, we never learn our lesson, that’s why we keep repeating our mistakes.

Anonymous January 22, 2014 at 7:29 PM

I took the advice and looked up DeSaulniers contributions. This guy is bought and paid for by every corporation and union in the state.There are about 5% of his contributions from individuals.

@Clay Den January 22, 2014 at 7:49 PM

With great respect, Aero Space Engineering
is an entirely different field than the mechanical
Engineering field as it applies to Bridges.bridges have been being
built for more than two thousand years.
I recall watching a Modern Marvels episode
regarding a bridge that spanned an icy fjord
in Scandinavia , almost nine miles long,
joining two countries . It cost under 2 billion
American and was completed ahead of schedule .
And a section of it looked a lot like the single
Mast suspension Mast on the Bay Bridge.
We were cheated, not unlike the new 49RS
Stadium that was built without having enough
parking spaces for its capacity.
The State should be embarrassed at its cost
and incomplete design and testing.
The People of California were lied to and cheated.
And it doesn’t even go all the way to S.F.!

Suburban Dad January 22, 2014 at 8:02 PM

Did outsourcing most of the off site work to China save us an friggin dime since we had 200 full time people in China trying to make sure it was done right and we still had to fix a great deal of the welds anyway? What about all the money taken out of the US economy instead of putting more Americans to work?

caskydiver January 22, 2014 at 8:03 PM

Uh…that it takes a project to go years overdue and billions over budget and, only at the very end, does our Sen DeSaulnier become “outraged”. What a joke…

So, in short, lesson learned is DeSaulnier isn’t very good at his job and should not be representing us in Congress. Don’t vote for him.

common sense January 22, 2014 at 8:21 PM

1st: I would love for the focus of CalTrans to be to recapture monies that are needed to fix all the defects. I really think they need updates on a website. With a list of the companies that caused the defaults. It needs to also list the primary owners of the companies so they will feel a sense of civic duty / guilt to make right on their companies mistakes.

2nd: Immediately put through legislation that rolls back tolls in the amount of the monies the MTA was going to spend building out the old post office they acquired in SF. Make sure they sell that building and return that money too. Then make sure no salary increases for any Sr. Managers involved with that decision until they figure out how to repay any monies lost in re selling the building. The MTA needs to understand they were allowed to increase tolls on our bridges to pay for Earthquake Retrofit. Not so they could bloat the agency and to move from Oakland to SF with all the excess monies.

. January 22, 2014 at 9:27 PM

The point is thatroject management and engineering have well-establishedrocesses and procedures that must be followed to be effective. QA/QC, planning, forecasting, design reviews, independent auditors/review board, etc… Should have been in place for a job of this size.

It sounds like none of this was done. Designing a bridge isn’t “rocket science”.,,but it’s welll beyond the skill of the engineers currently employed by the state. They ought to be sticking to flat straight roads on level ground in the middle of the desert.n or have their PE licenses revoked.

ClayDen January 22, 2014 at 10:53 PM


Aerospace is really a sub-specialty of mechanical with some civil thrown in (the structural part). Many of the materials are different, as are allowables and margins. It’s still engineering though, Completing something on schedule or ahead of schedule is the result of good project management and engineering management.

The fact that the new 49ers stadium doesn’t have enough parking has nothing to do with engineering or project management, rather the government officials who approved the stadium without adequate parking should be held accountable. BTW, I understand that much of the parking will be in multi-story parking structures that will prohibit tailgating. Also, there will be even less parking available during the week, so no Monday or Thursday night games. Dumb.

ClayDen January 22, 2014 at 11:00 PM


I’m sure there were design reviews and all of the other process you mention. Apparently they weren’t done very well however. Something else that apparently was done poorly was systems engineering, something that was pioneered by the aerospace industry.

james January 23, 2014 at 4:45 AM

I’m acquaintances with a guy who was an outside inspector hired by the state to test the steel, welds etc.. He said there more issues with the steel and components than what was brought to public attention.
I do not blame the contractors or men doing the work. It is the state that screwed up using Chinese steel and components.
They should of kept some of the manufacturing in state, if you are going to overpay might as well overpay American workers.

@clay den January 23, 2014 at 5:20 AM

The processes of design and engendering is not
exclusive to the Aerospace industry, We have made
incredible leaps in aeronautical and space travel.
The fact remain, we have much experience building
I mention the 49RS boondoggle as another swindle pulled off
on the people of Santa Clara.
That is the lesson I am trying to point out is how our elected
Officials, their appointees and private industry
find it easier to cheat us than to provide what we
pay for.
I am ashamed that this bridge was built with
Foreign steel, etc.
As a contractor , I bid a job with a fixed cost and clear
results . If my costs increased , to bad for me.
Look, even now, reports that Cal Trans ignored
substandard work on bridge.
As long as we keep making excuse for this fiasco
it will happen again.
“Bridges ain’t Rocket Science” .

Doggie Dad January 23, 2014 at 5:38 AM

Lesson: don’t let DeSaulnier lead any more committees.

@20&26 January 23, 2014 at 8:14 AM

I agree with both of you there is a reason it cost a little more to build in the US it is called quality. I can’t believe with all the shipping cost and mistakes that it was cheaper to use China. I know the bolts were made by a US company but my question would be did the steel they used also come from China? It upsets me that we send all of our scrap metal to China for them to build our products and ship it back to us. We need to bring back all manufacturing to the US where we have quality, pride and environmental laws to protect our environment. This bridge is a good example for us to learn a lesson.

dk January 23, 2014 at 8:28 AM

We spent billions of dollars for a “better?” bridge. Noiw they will take down the old bridge and we will never know if it would have ever had another problem.

dk January 23, 2014 at 8:29 AM

I say leave the old bridge right where it is.

Studying the problem January 23, 2014 at 8:42 AM

This is all about DeSaulnier getting publicity.Bridge goes wrong and he is studying the problem . Bart goes on strike and he is studying the problem. Far as I can see he is a professional money raiser .

I’m studying the problem.

Shelly January 23, 2014 at 8:44 AM

@@20&26; We can dream, right? I have not yet crossed the new bridge, and will only do so if forced. I lived 1 1/2 blocks away from the Cypress Structure for many years before it pancaked in the ’89 quake. Although it was a convienient access to the bridge and major arteries, I stayed off of it and drove on surface streets to avoid it, as it gave me the eebie jeepies, especially the lower deck. I definately anticipated that outcome someday, and wanted no part of it. To say I’d rather cross on the old bridge than the new one would be a gross understatement.

Silva January 23, 2014 at 8:49 AM

That just sounds so PRODUCTIVE, after the fact. We’ll pay through the nose for it though.

Mongoose January 23, 2014 at 9:05 AM


Actually we keep re-electing our mistakes.

coot57 January 23, 2014 at 9:14 AM

These lessons were learned a long time ago. They keep making the same mistakes because it is somebody else’s money they are spending.

Grumpy Old Man January 23, 2014 at 12:42 PM

This is long, but Please read.
Psychology 101…

If you start with a cage containing five monkeys, and inside the cage hang a banana on a string from the top, and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the monkeys with cold water.

After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result — all the monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put the cold water away.

Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him.

After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one.

The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment — with enthusiasm — because he is now part of the “team.”

Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by the fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.

Now, the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, not one of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana.

Why, you ask? Because in their minds, that is the way it has always been!

This, my friends, is how the House and Senate operates… and this is why, from time to time:

ALL of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME !

What The H$!! January 23, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Looking over news stories breaking today why hasn’t and isn’t DeSaulnier called for a FULL Federal Grand Jury investigation.

The next Boondogle January 23, 2014 at 6:23 PM

The “BULLET TRAIN”, why in all that’s holy do
we need this monte routs waste of money!

The next Boondogle January 23, 2014 at 6:25 PM

Darn spell check, please read, MONSTROSITY!

"Studying the problem" January 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM

You’re right. And isn’t that (as a perfect example) what Obama is always doing “looking into it” and always “finding who’s responsible”. In the end nothing happens except more of the same. Clean house, don’t elect them to a new position. Our system was not set up for these ppl to stay in various public office forever, getting rich, not having to deal with the actual real issues (they create) in their home state, county, etc.

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