Latest Problem For New Bay Bridge Involves $4 Million Maintenance Elevator

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge has had a bevy of construction problems, from broken rods to leaking and welding issues.

Now, the latest headache is a $4 million glass elevator meant to take workers to the top of the span’s signature self-anchored suspension tower.

The elevator’s primary function is to take maintenance workers from the base to the top of the 525-foot tower so they can make repairs if needed.

But according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the door of the elevator malfunctioned on December 7, just two days after it was put into service. The problem was fixed in late December but on January 8, the drive shaft failed and the cab became stuck halfway up the tower. It has been out of operation since.

“The Bay Bridge maintenance elevator is being repaired by the contractor,” said Caltrans spokeswoman Leah Robinson-Leach. “It is in fact under warranty so there will be no cost to taxpayers. The cost will be absorbed by the contractor.”

The original cost estimate for the elevator was $800,000, but modifications sent the price soaring. Among those modifications was extending the elevator shaft 50 feet and adding larger observation windows so bridge investors could enjoy the view.

It was just last week that a bridge engineer told the project’s oversight panel that final work on the span may not be complete until June.

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