Main | Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Crack Delays Bay Bridge Reopening

Shortly after the Bay Bridge was closed on Friday for seismic retrofitting, workers noticed that a crack had developed on a beam of the eastern span. Repairs may delay the bridge's reopening today and pose a logistical nightmare for commuters.
The parts needed to make the fix were manufactured overnight by Stinger Welding Inc. in Coolidge, Ariz. Weighing about 18,000 pounds, they landed at Oakland International Airport aboard a chartered plane Sunday afternoon. They were rushed to the bridge aboard a flatbed truck with a California Highway Patrol escort. Caltrans engineer Mike Forner said a 10-person crew will need 18 to 24 hours to attach the saddles, then another four to six hours to properly set the tension on the tie-rods. But the estimate is just that, he cautioned, and the work will bump the project close to the 5 a.m. Tuesday deadline when officials had hoped to reopen the bridge. There are no guarantees, Ney said, that the work will be done in time for the first post-Labor Day commute. As a result, Bay Area transit and highway officials have been told to prepare for at least one more weekday with the Bay Bridge out of commission.
Caltrans says it was lucky that the crack was noticed when the bridge was already closed with hundreds of repair workers at hand.

UPDATE: The bridge has reopened.

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