New Bay Bridge Could Open Earlier Than Expected After Feds OK Temporary Bolt Fix

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The federal government is giving the California Dept. of Transportation approval to move ahead on a plan to fix bad bolts on the new Bay Bridge eastern span, KPIX 5 has learned, and the solution could allow the bridge to reopen as originally planned just after the Labor Day Weekend.

The Federal Highway Administration spent the last few weeks evaluating the idea of using steel shims to temporarily stabilize critical seismic structures on the bridge and they are allowing Caltrans to begin work on the project.

“We see no reason to delay opening the bridge to traffic prior to the shear key retrofit being completed” the agency wrote in its findings.

The ultimate fix for the bad bolts is a steel saddle that will hold the bridge in place permanently, but that won’t be ready until December.

But Monday’s word from the FHA means the notion of opening right after Labor Day is at least a possibility again.

Caltrans slated a conference call for Tuesday on how to proceed.

(Copyright 2013 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)

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