SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP / BCN) – A state transportation official said it could take weeks or even months to find a solution for bolts that snapped on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.
California Transportation Commission Chief Engineer Stephen Maller made the comments at a Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee meeting Wednesday, raising concerns that the span will not be ready in time to open on Labor Day as planned.
The bolts that snapped last month connect steel earthquake safety devices called shear keys to the deck of the span and a large concrete cap.
Another official, Metropolitan Transportation Commission Executive Director Steve Heminger, added that there were “no definitive answers yet” to important questions such as why the bolts failed, what the best solution is, and how much it will cost to fix the problem.
He told the committee, “Based on what we know today… we can’t give you a guarantee” that the new span will open on time in early September.
San Francisco Supervisor John Campos called it “scary” that there was not a certain date for the bridge’s opening, and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan expressed concern that her city needed timely notification of any possible delay to help avoid impacts to local businesses, particularly hotels.
Both Campos and Quan are members of the committee.
Transportation officials learned about a month ago that roughly one-third of the 96 bolts that were installed on a pier just east of Yerba Buena Island had popped out several inches after they were tightened recently.