CalTrans Says Bay Bridge Rods Need to be Adjusted Due to Fears that Stability Could be Threatened During Earthquake

May 16, 2014 13:07 pm · 42 comments


Some of the anchor rods that hold in place strands of the main cable of the Bay Bridge’s new eastern span are skewed off-center and will have to be adjusted, a Caltrans spokesman said today.

However, spokesman Victor Gauthier said, “It’s not an urgent issue” and driver safety, seismic safety and the expected 150-year lifespan of the bridge won’t be impacted by the problem.

The concern is that the rods are now close to the sharp-edged plates that are inside the new span and if the rods are jerked in a large earthquake the cable could be damaged and the bridge’s stability could be threatened.

Gauthier said many of the rods, which are essential to the span’s structural stability, are less than the required 10 millimeters from the inner surface of the holes through which they pass.

“There’s an adjustment that needs to take place so there’s adequate clearance,” Gauthier said. One possibility is make the holes bigger and the other is to realign the bolts as they go through the holes, he said.

But he said the work can be finished “in several months” while the bridge is still in service.

Gauthier said it’s too early to estimate what the repair will cost but he said, “It’s definitely not a difficult job.”

Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman Randy Rentschler also said it’s too soon to estimate the cost but he said it’s likely the amount will be in the millions of dollars, not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The money for the work will come from the bridge’s contingency fund, he said.

Rentschler said, “It’s not an immediate problem” and probably won’t be the last issue for the new eastern span, which was a $6.4 billion project and just opened last Labor Day.

Shoppermom May 16, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Seriously?! I thought the whole point of the new bridge was earthquake safety, and yet they are already finding flaws?!

Silva May 16, 2014 at 1:22 PM

I haven’t crossed it yet!

jtkatec May 16, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Bad news just keeps coming with the new span. Some engineers head should roll.

It's not urgent unless......... May 16, 2014 at 1:51 PM

wait is that the ground shaking? Everyone off the bridge! Everyone off the bridge!
I bet nobody gets fired over this.
Where is Mark and his peer review when you need him?
I noticed they didn’t say why the bolts don’t have the required clearance.

Koko May 16, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Yikes! So I guess going to the city is over for me:( I can’t take BART because I don’t trust them anymore….hmm lets see I guess swimming across is the next option lol and a safer option lol

The Theorist May 16, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Told you so. This won’t be the end of issues or even the least severe.
RIP the souls stuck on that deathtrap during the “Big One”.

Bob May 16, 2014 at 2:33 PM

This is what happens when you let a committee build a bridge.

Dorothy May 16, 2014 at 2:41 PM

Too bad they already started tearing down the old bridge. Bet it was in better shape after it was repaired than the new one will ever be. I had already decided that if I ever need to drive into the City, I will make time to take the long way around. If I never cross the new bridge it will still be too soon.

ClayDen May 16, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Engineering is NOT an exact science, however the amount of screw-ups on this bridge is ridiculous and people need to be held accountable.

Kirkwood May 16, 2014 at 2:44 PM

@Koko – Watch out! There are sharks in the bay.

Old Timer May 16, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Why all of the time? (The money for the work will come from the bridge’s contingency fund). What about the contractor? they have no blame.

@2 May 16, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Same here. Anybody out there keeping track of all the problems. What were all the inspectors doing when this was being constructed ?

Fig Newton May 16, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Amazing in this Liberal Controlled Bay Area, that Diane Feinstein has not stepped in,,,,Where is Boxer? Where is Pelosi,, the Democratic Spokesmouth!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m amazed at the Bank Roll this bridge cost us,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and The story keeps getting worse!!!!!!!!!!!!

keep the old bridge May 16, 2014 at 3:18 PM

definitely premature to tear down the old bridge. don’t have any confidence in the workmanship on the new bridge.

KJ May 16, 2014 at 3:27 PM

The contractors and inspectors should be banned from working on any future publicly-funded projects.

Concord Res May 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

The problem is we live in the information age where EVERY little detail in life is put on display. The old bridge was probably full of problems from the start but there were no Claycord-like websites in the 1930s to point out every flaw in life. You all need to calm the f&*^ down and lay off the Starbucks.

Duck May 16, 2014 at 3:37 PM

This is nothing new or out of the ordinary ……….things settle and need to be adjusted even on large projects like a bridge .

Although I really do think they rushed to take down the old span , so when the new span falls into the bay and the old span was still standing ,they wouldn’t look so foolish.

Atticus Thraxx May 16, 2014 at 3:45 PM

So what I read was it’s not an urgent issue and doesn’t compromise the integrity of the bridge seismically, yet it could fail during a severe enough earthquake. So we just let them spout BS like that and everyone’s okay with it?
I’m with ClayDen….when does somebody get held responsible?

just a concordian May 16, 2014 at 3:47 PM

the pyramids, the great wall of china, numerous castles, the Taj Mahal, the Colosseum, Golden Gate Bridge and many many older than life bridges all over the world, still standing. And the high tech Bay Area cant even build a bridge worth a damn????

"......probably won’t be the last issue for the new eastern span......." May 16, 2014 at 3:52 PM

these guys gonna be leaking out the bad news bit-by-bit for the next 150 years…

Bubba May 16, 2014 at 4:23 PM

So what if it is unsafe!

Bubba May 16, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Oooo…pretty bridge, SPLASH!

that guy May 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM

CONCORD RES, you are the only one that makes since out of the bunch. People need to chill and layoff the Starbucks for sure! The fact of the matter is not matter how many billions of dollars you put into making some structurally sound, there is always a chance that it will come crumbling down. Of course that is why I was for keeping the old bridge in the first place.

.... May 16, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Was a $6.4 billion project. Wait just a dang minute, just as buying a house what is the final price paid including interest. Bay Bridge with interest and rest of the costs has a final price tag of roughly 13 BILLION dollars.

Only in the public sector are people usually NOT held accountable for their screw ups or laziness.

And who is the chairman of State Legislature’s committee which oversees Cal Trans?

MrDioji May 16, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Concord Res speaks it true.

I would also like to keep the old bridge up. But only so that when a big one comes and the old one collapses while the new one only sustains minor, acceptable damage everyone can realize how irrational they’ve been.

Dan May 16, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Anyone who thinks an 80 year old bridge would be safer than this new one in a large earthquake is crazy. It’s a big bridge. Adjustments are going to be necessary. Sheesh.

@Dan May 16, 2014 at 6:41 PM

At least we know the old bridge reacted to an earthquake just as it was designed to do.

FigNewton May 16, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Is this gonna be like London Bridge and fall down?

Elwood May 16, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Caltrans spokesman Victor Gauthier (aka Bay Bridge Bob) says everything is OK. No problem.

“Nothing to see here folks. Move along.”

Random Task May 16, 2014 at 9:17 PM

WOW ……I mean the excuses for a bunch of union criminals is to be expected by the party but please democrat voters need to stop the pandering we all know you approve that the bridge went 10 times over budget and your dems got all the skimmed money to further their careers as well as the cal-trans heads who all got huge bonuses after a successful strike that bled even more money from bart riders and taxpayers ……I thought bart was supposed to be non profit transportation ….anyways …….pat your dems on the back all day long but please making excuses for criminals should be left to the paid party members and cal-trans goons as well as the MTC thieves who rlobbed from the bridge toll money earmarked for road repairs to buy a overpriced building in the highest priced area in S.F………..but …no ….keep the excuses coming since we will be on the Chinese yen monitary system shortly anyways as of july the Obama has sentenced this country to implode ………

Curious George May 16, 2014 at 10:13 PM

wondering… Does anyone put thought into anything before they start?
Buying Cheap crap makes for a cheap crap bridge.
I am just utterly appalled, yet not surprised!

Poor workmanship May 16, 2014 at 10:15 PM

Our forefathers are cringing in their graves.

Reality Slap May 16, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Why would anyone be surprised about the problems the bridge is having? It is a CalTrans project….hellbells CalTrans screwed up so bad on the toll plaza for the Benicia Martinez Bridge they had to tear out a whole newly built section as someone didn’t realize that large trucks had to fit through the toll lanes. Besides, it’s only taxpayers money to them.

David May 16, 2014 at 11:19 PM

remember how they even awarded a huge multi million dollar bonus for completing the bridge before the deadline?

how do people get away with this, especially under heavy scrutiny? the people up there are scratching each others’ backs and we the public are footing the bill..

anon May 17, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Maybe Mark can form yet another committee to oversee the committee who is in charge of over seeing the Bridge safety oversight committee. I think we need another BS report showing no issues with the bridge.

Julio May 17, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Caltrans! They should not be allowed to do anything. Shut it down. They lie and lie and lie. And Mark will be gone after the election and no one will be watching them. The state of the state is just plan awful unless you listen to Brown. He is not a realist.

Kirkwood May 17, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Every large project has a punch list. Something as large and complex as the bridge project is likely to have hundreds, maybe a thousands of small problems to be addressed. With so many people involved with the project it is impossible to cover every base at once.

james May 17, 2014 at 9:55 PM

#37 You are right. For some of us that have worked on large commercial, industrial and civil projects. Punch lists and adjustments are par for the course.

Construction is not as easy as loading an App on an iphone. From the smallest bathroom remodel to the tallest hi-rise build sh*t happens. And things get fixed.

The contractors and union workers are not to blame. Take you gripes with the suits, they are the decision makers

Aspirin May 18, 2014 at 7:51 AM

Style trumps engineering. This sums up the design criteria for the new bridge.

Noflow May 18, 2014 at 8:17 AM

@Bob #7,

Remember when Swartzen-Kennedy tried to replace the suspension span with a plain-jane causeway?

The cries for equality for Oakland?

They wanted; no, DESERVED a beautiful bridge of their own too!

Now, they have a $13 Billion CalTrans-deck-o sculpture….

An engineer May 18, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Most people here have absolutely no clue what they are talking about. The stupidity astounds me.

Dr. Jellyfinger® May 18, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Well, I have to give them some credit. I said the bridge would fall down faster than Michael J. Fox on ice skates, but I was wrong…. there it stands… for now.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: