OAKLAND (KCBS) – Crews installed a series of temporary steel shims under the deck of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge over the weekend. The steel plates will allow the new bridge to open to traffic on schedule.

The shims will provide a temporary seismic safety solution, allowing for the new Bay Bridge to open during the Labor Day weekend. They are needed because of the failure of some of the bolts that are a part of the bridge’s seismic safety equipment.

Bay Bridge spokesman Andrew Gordon said the steel plates will serve as wedges that allow the seismic gear to move in the event of an earthquake, but not too much. He said the idea was vetted by several safety experts.

“They were all in agreement and they all endorsed this idea of using this,” Gordon said. “And they all said with these shims in place, there was no reason not to open the bridge to traffic.”

Gordon said there were no problems in installing the shims over the weekend. They have a combined weight of 3,500 pounds.

“They will be on the bridge until the permanent fix is done and we are anticipating the permanent fix to be in place by mid-December,” said Gordon.

That permanent retrofit will involve the installation of steel saddles that will cover the broken bolts.

Officials said work remains on track to close the entire Bay Bridge starting on the night of August 28th. The bridge is scheduled to reopen on the morning of September 3rd.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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