Independent panel set up to review Bay Bridge testing irregularities

Following reports that two workers inappropriately carried out engineering tests on the Bay Bridge’s rebuilt eastern span, an independent commission will review all safety records of the project.

The Seismic Safety Peer Review Panel, comprised of engineering professors and technical experts, will review all quality assurance reports stemming from the Bay Bridge rebuild project. The panel will be headed by Steve Heminger, executive director of the Bay Area Toll Authority, the regional body overseeing the Bay Bridge construction project.

On Sunday, Caltrans, the state transportation department, fired two employees for routinely using test devices on the bridge without first verifying their accuracy. While there is no evidence that the workers falsified any reports, and the structure has since passed all structural integrity tests, the panel will scrutinize the level of oversight at the project site.

The questionable test devices were used on the foundation piles of the bridge’s east span, which connects Yerba Buena Island to Oakland.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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