OAKLAND (CBS/AP) — More than 400 seismic safety rods that may be vulnerable to cracking or breaking are embedded in the base of the new Bay Bridge and may be difficult to inspect, remove or replace.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the 424 threaded rods are among more than 2,000 that the California Department of Transportation recently realized are vulnerable to being invaded by hydrogen that could cause them to become brittle.

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Caltrans spokesman Will Shuck tells the newspaper the tower rods will get added scrutiny as the agency makes repairs to the new bridge, which is already years late in opening and billions of dollars over budget.

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Caltrans officials say the rods are not being subjected to a high stress load, which they say reduces the risk they could crack.

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