Tom Warne Report, 2 April 2013
The discovery of broken bolts on part of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge is putting extra pressure on bridge officials working toward the opening of the $6.4 billion project in just five months. Caltrans toll bridge program manager Tony Anziano said they intend to perform the fix, which has not yet been crafted, simultaneously as other finishing work is completed on the bridge, and the opening will not be delayed beyond the scheduled Labor Day weekend. He warned the Bay Area Toll Authority Wednesday, however, that it “should acknowledge the possible risk” of a delay.
“There’s no guarantee for anything,” he said. “But we see a high likelihood of opening on Labor Day.” Inspections earlier this month found that 30 large bolts on the new eastern span have fractured. Caltrans discovered the snapped bolts – 3 inches in diameter and ranging from 9 to 24 feet long – after they tightened the nuts on both ends. When they came back days later saw that the nuts were loose, which indicated that the bolts had cracked. Engineers sent three of the cracked bolts to a lab, which found they contained hydrogen that can weaken metal components. So far, construction crews have tightened 96 of the 288 bolts and 30 have shown to be damaged.