November 7, 2015

Bay Bridge bolt cracks cause major concern

SFist - The saga of the cracked bolts on the Bay Bridge's two-year-old eastern span continues as experts testified Tuesday at a bridge oversight panel meeting. Even though there was a minor bit of good news a couple weeks back suggesting that perhaps the rods were not all exposed to corrosion from sea water, it's looking more like the compromised bolts are going to require a very costly fix. As the Chronicle reports, several engineering experts weighed in suggesting that microscopic cracks found on at least two of the steel bolts/rods anchoring the bridge's suspension tower to its base could endanger the integrity of all 423 rods. One even called the cracks "a portent of catastrophe."

....The decision now, which won't get made until after Caltrans receives recommendations from an expert panel, is whether to modify, repair, or replace the rods. It's been suggested that replacement was nearly impossible, but experts now say that they can be replaced, it just will cost an enormous amount of money. The bridge already cost $6.4 billion to construct, and $4 million is being spent just to investigate this problem.

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