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Lawmakers Call For External Review Of Bay Bridge Construction

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A view of the construction of the self-anchored suspension cable on the Bay Bridge eastern span. (Caltrans)

A view of the construction of the self-anchored suspension cable on the Bay Bridge eastern span. (Caltrans)

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Three state senators have begun an independent examination of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Tuesday after recent media reports about safety issues.

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D- Concord, who is chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee asked the Legislative Analyst’s Office to bring in investigators to confirm reports from Caltrans that the bridge’s new eastern span is structurally safe.

KCBS’ Melissa Culross Reports:

“When we open this bridge, hopefully on time, there can be cause for realistic celebration knowing that there were challenges to the project but that people can indeed be proud of the fact that we delivered a project that will make the public safer,” he said.

Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin, and Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, are also on the committee.

In response, Structural Engineer and Caltrans Seismic Advisory Board Chair, Frieder Seible, told DeSaulnier and the rest of the committee that the structural integrity of the bridge work has been thoroughly reviewed.

“With all the bridge reviews I’ve been involved in, I can assure you that there is not a single structure where more analysis has been done, more testing has been done and more independent review has been done than the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge,” he said.

Earlier this month, however, the Sacramento Bee reported that a Caltrans engineering team had uncovered doctored data and suspicious testing on the bridge project which is estimated at $6.5 billion–California’s most expensive public works project to date.

In light of these reports, Simitian said the public needs more assurance.

“You’ve got to stop and take time to make the case that you’ve looked at this issue top to bottom and then handed it off to someone else,who is a wholly disinterested third-party, and that they’ve come to the same conclusion,” he said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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