Caltrans: Bridge is safer this time

As crews prepared to open the Bay Bridge Monday, Caltrans assured motorists that the structure’s current fix is safer than its last.
On Tuesday, several steel repair parts fell onto bridge during peak traffic time, as strong winds cause vibrations that shake pieces loose. The parts had been put into place to fix a dangerous crack discovered Labor Day weekend in a load-bearing eyebar.

Caltrans blamed Tuesday’s break on wind, saying the vibrations wore the metal parts until they broke. On Monday, Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney assured motorists the problem had been eliminated.

“We’ve put in several enhancements to make sure the vibrations don’t cause fatigue again,” he said.

Caltrans has also made adjustments to ensure that if the eyebar fractures again, metal will not rain down on drivers.

 Crews placed stronger structural welds on the crossbar that came loose Tuesday, and wrapped the system in a cable.

“If something were to fail up there, it would be held in place,” Ney said. “This is a safer fix related to failure caused by possible fatigue.”

On Sunday evening, Caltrans officials had hinted that they would “look into other possibilities” to repair the bridge if the fix continued to fail stress tests. But on Monday, Ney said crews were able to make the repairs without changing course on the design.

“We are still confident this was the best design to fix the crack in the eyebar,” he said.

Monday morning, large trucks were lined up to rumble across the lower deck of the Bay Bridge, so engineers could test how the upper deck handled the vibrations. Visual inspections of the fix were underway, and crews were completing final supports in the damping system that will control vibrations during an earthquake.  

Unless problems are discovered during the final inspections, the bridge could open as early as late Monday morning. 

“We’re further then we’ve ever been before,” Ney said.

Meanwhile, BART continues to run longer trains after commuters shattered historic ridership records last week.

Caltrans will continue to monitor the repairs to the bridge. Daily lane closures during non-peak hours are likely, Ney said.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com
 

Bay Area NewsBay BridgeCaltransLocalTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Asian American youth report anger, sadness and fear over surge in racist behavior

Survey finds about 80 percent experienced bullying or verbal harassment

Court prevents Trump administration from blocking WeChat pending hearing

Late Saturday night, a federal judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary… Continue reading

San Francisco Symphony, Opera musicians settle contracts

Performers’ salaries modified due to inability to play live

California’s troubled unemployment agency needs immediate overhaul, report says

By Patrick McGreevy Los Angeles Times California’s antiquated unemployment benefits system requires… Continue reading

In Brown Type: New survey finds engagement and trend to progressivism among Asian American voters

The 2016 election and ‘Trump effect’ have fired up the voting bloc

Most Read