SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) – Two baseball-size chunks of concrete fell from the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Friday night, damaging a vehicle, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The CHP said a woman was driving eastbound on the bridge just west of the county lines when the concrete fell on the car around 9:30 p.m. She filed a report with the CHP and Caltrans was notified.
She was not injured in the incident. The bridge remained open, but traffic on the lower deck was reduced to one lane for inspection for other loose chunks of concrete and previously scheduled overnight work to replace expansion joints.
Falling debris has shut down lanes several times over the last five weeks and began on the morning of Feb. 7 when several large chunks of concrete tumbled onto the lower deck, damaging at least one car.
It forced Caltrans to shut down the bridge — a vital transit link between the East Bay and Marin — for several hours during the evening commute, triggering a traffic nightmare.
In the wake of the incident, engineers examined the bridge and determined that 32 expansion joints needed to be replaced as quickly as possible. That work has been ongoing, requiring lanes to be shutdown overnight as crews undertake the major repair.
“Safety is Caltrans’ top priority,” said Caltrans District 4 Director Tony Tavares at the time. “Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to replace the remaining sliding plate joints on the bridge beginning with those on the upper deck.”
Caltrans said that in the early 2000s, more than 90 percent of the bridge’s 856 deck joints were rebuilt as part of the seismic retrofit or through other rehabilitation projects.
It was determined at the time that the remaining 61 joints, different types of joints called sliding plate joints, did not need to be replaced. An inspection of the underside of the upper deck and the upper deck joints was conducted in August 2018, the state transportation agency said.
“Structural integrity issues were not identified in any of the last inspections,” Caltrans said in a news release.