Caltrans Says Bay Bridge Weld Issues Won’t Affect Safety

February 25, 2014 15:30 pm · 29 comments


A Caltrans spokesman said today that non-standard weld connections that were used to hold road deck sections together on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge won’t affect the bridge’s performance during earthquakes.

“This is not an issue,” spokesman Andrew Gordon told reporters.

Gordon admitted that there are some “misalignments” on the new span and that Caltrans “in some cases” exceeded an American Welding Society code section that says the vertical gap between two pieces of steel on a bridge can be no more than an eighth of an inch.

But he said members of Caltrans’ seismic safety review panel approved those exceptions because they believe the misalignments and larger gaps will only result in “inconsequential damage” in the event of an earthquake.

Gordon said, “At most there will only be an 8 millimeter difference between two deck sections and the public doesn’t see it and it doesn’t affect the public’s ability to drive on those sections.”

He said there are only “minor issues” on 10 of the 26 connections on the new eastern span and those issues are only on 7 percent of the total area of those 10 sections.

Commenting on another topic, Gordon said Caltrans has had “encouraging” test results that show that bolts that secure earthquake shock absorbers to the deck of the eastern span hold up well when placed under increased tension.

Last March, about one-third of the initial batch of 96 bolts that secure the shock absorbers to the deck failed when they were tightened.

Caltrans figured out a temporary solution that allowed the new eastern span to open on schedule last Labor Day and completed a permanent fix in December.

Gordon said the recent tests involved a total of 2,600 bolts.

Sorry, can't believe February 25, 2014 at 3:38 PM

anyone in government any longer. They all lie all the time.

This is a one party state and the state cares nothing of the people safe to tax and punish and mold into an ever increasing flock of sheeple.

Rob February 25, 2014 at 3:47 PM

What’s life without a little excitement while going across the Bay?

The Dude February 25, 2014 at 3:48 PM

The lug nuts on my car are probably less than 1% of the overall structure, but I wouldn’t drive without them.

funny man February 25, 2014 at 3:52 PM

let me update an old diddy:
Do you know when a psudeo-politican is lieing?
Their lips are moving.

My question is: who doesnt want to get penalized with doing the proper repairs? And
Who will get sued when the bridge fails when the “Big One” hits and the sub-standard parts fail?

anonanonagain February 25, 2014 at 3:57 PM

I don’t trust any of them. They bungled on this big time and are trying to cover their @$$e$.
“larger gaps will only result in “inconsequential damage” in the event of an earthquake.” What is inconsequential damage?? Does that apply to the amount of lives lost during the next quake and the failure of this bridge??
I am saddened and shocked that so many inept people did not suffer the consequences for their failure to notice the inadequacies of the materials used. Shame on all involved. We the public who paid for that bridge will have all the heads responsible for this disaster on a platter……

Noj February 25, 2014 at 4:12 PM

How’s your little commission doing Mark?

Anon2you February 25, 2014 at 4:22 PM

This just in Titanic builders say the use of substandard rivets will not contribute to it’s sinking…

MikeT February 25, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Oh…I feel so much better now………….NOT!

Elwood February 25, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Here is my prediction:

A moderate earthquake on the San Andreas fault will cause the tower to topple over and crush the old bridge.

Everyone will deny responsibility.

DanMtz February 25, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Caltrans has no credibility on this subject. If you want to know the truth about the Bay Bridge, ask someone else.

NoMoreFreeRide February 25, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Another government screw-up and we will keep paying on this piece of crap. After the bonds are paid it will be close to 14 Billion dollars! Such a waste! Thanks Willie Brown and Gerry Brown..idiots!

Amy February 25, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Famous last words.

Ricardo February 25, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Elwood, exactly what I was thinking.

Ted K., SuperMax February 25, 2014 at 7:36 PM

That’s like NASA saying the Challenger’s o-rings are not going to be a problem.

Go to full throttle!

Gary February 25, 2014 at 8:09 PM

All of the incumbents need to be kicked out. Don’t elect anyone who’s already in any office….we need to start fresh……and look what “experience” has got us…

RANDOM TASK February 25, 2014 at 8:24 PM

SO THE people directly under your control as in you are paying their salary said oh yeah all good …whos buying beer ..and now your free and clear …..Cal-Trans should be indicted and broken up after this fiasco as well as other botched projects. 40 years of dem control and corruption and shoddy work is where we are ………yeah nice voting lemmings …….let me guess keep the status quo and cross our fingers that they don’t kill us ……yeah that works

NRA #1 fan and member February 25, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Liars!!! What happened to the bridge supposedly being “state of the art” ?

Looks like a Mickey Mouse shoddy job to me and you idiots reward them $25 million for finishing on time……..I’d keep my mouth shut and glued shut just to get that bonus $ from the taxpayers.

Fire them all and close the bridge it’s 100 % UNSAFE

Bonus February 25, 2014 at 10:04 PM

I am glad everyone was paid their bonus for completing the bridge on time for the grand opening. No they should have to give it back so it can be built correct and safe.

mon cheri February 26, 2014 at 5:36 AM

Meanwhile somewhere in Europe, while our politicians were salivating over a “world class” design to rival the Golden Gate (didn’t work), the French whipped up this little span in less time for less money.

mon cheri February 26, 2014 at 5:38 AM
WC February 26, 2014 at 8:04 AM

@mon cheri, Thanks….

Some detail that makes you want to spit comparing it to the Bay Bridge…
“After laying the first stone on Dec. 14, 2001, the company finished 36 months later. Vehicles began crossing the Millau Bridge on Dec. 16th, two days after its dedication. And the company spent “only” some US$520 million – about half of the initial cost estimate – in completing the complex building process”

Duck February 26, 2014 at 8:28 AM

Nah……. not a bit.
All welds do is hold pieces of metal together !
What ah joke !!!!

ClayDen February 26, 2014 at 8:58 AM

The most expensive bridge ever built, and we have all of these issues (including the recent report of leaks and corrosion) already? Gross incompetence.

Don P - N. Concord February 26, 2014 at 9:31 AM

With the competency and efficiency demonstrated on this project, there is NO WAY we shouldn’t expect the high speed rail to nowhere to be a HUGE success!

Sacto Rob February 26, 2014 at 10:34 AM

CalTrans also said the new bridge would cost less than a billion dollars and take five years to build. They missed on both counts by a factor of five.
It’s apparent why CalTrans is in such a hurry to take down the old bridge; can you imagine how heads would roll if an earthquake struck and the old bridge was still standing while the new bridge collapsed?

Anon2you February 26, 2014 at 11:01 AM

They will have to change the old song:
The Bay Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down
The Bay Bridge is falling down
My fair lady…

chalkboy8 February 26, 2014 at 11:46 AM

That’s why they named it after Willie Brown. The Bridge is crooked, corroded on the inside, we can’t get rid of it and it siphons off tax money.

Silva February 26, 2014 at 12:57 PM

@mon cherie, yeah thanks! That’s some bridge! Embarrassing.

I personally haven’t/will not cross our new bridge. If I decide to go to SF, I’ll be using a real bridge. I would not use the Cypress structure before it “pancaked”. For over 11 years I lived 1&1/2 blocks from an on ramp, and it gave me the willies. Everything that I invisioned happened.

Puddintain February 26, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Sacto Rob. #26, For the first time, I completely agree with you!

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