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Tue May 7, 2013, 08:33 AM

Bay Bridge Will Learn Its Fate on May 8th


Bay Bridge Will Learn Its Fate on May 8th
Tuesday, May 07, 2013 - 05:00 AM

By Isabel Angell




May 8th is a big day for the new span of the Bay Bridge. That’s when the San Francisco travelers will learn get answers to two big questions: what the Bay Area Toll Authority is going to do about the broken bolts fiasco, and whether the bridge is still on track for a Labor Day opening.

Back in March, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) officials found that 32 steel bolts had cracked and that those bolts play a vital role in the seismic integrity of bridge. Investigations showed those bolts – plus 60 more that have not broken – were made brittle from hydrogen exposure. To make matters worse, the bolts are built into the road deck, so they can’t be replaced.

And now there are new problems. The San Francisco Chronicle recently discovered that 1,200 other bolts used in the new bridge are made from the a similar hardened, galvanized steel, also prone to cracking. In fact, that type of steel is so susceptible to breaking that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials – a group that sets national guidelines for transportation construction – has banned it for use in bridges.

Caltrans officials defended its use of the hardened steel but said they were checking all the bolts and fasteners on the bridge. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/transportation-nation/2013/may/07/bay-bridge-will-learn-its-fate-may-8th/



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Reply Bay Bridge Will Learn Its Fate on May 8th (Original post)
marmar May 2013 OP
burnodo May 2013 #1
Le Taz Hot May 2013 #5
Warren DeMontague May 2013 #8
burnodo May 2013 #13
Warren DeMontague May 2013 #14
dixiegrrrrl May 2013 #2
Brother Buzz May 2013 #3
dixiegrrrrl May 2013 #6
Brother Buzz May 2013 #7
dixiegrrrrl May 2013 #9
eissa May 2013 #4
FarCenter May 2013 #10
Brother Buzz May 2013 #12
Arugula Latte May 2013 #11

Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue May 7, 2013, 08:37 AM

1. That giant sucking sound you hear...

 

is billions of dollars being flushed down the drain

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Response to burnodo (Reply #1)

Tue May 7, 2013, 12:06 PM

5. Billions of dollars that could have gone

to other desperately needed projects in the remaining 98% of the state. (sigh)

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Response to burnodo (Reply #1)

Tue May 7, 2013, 12:19 PM

8. Yeah, because who needs bridges, right?

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #8)

Tue May 7, 2013, 05:38 PM

13. of course we need bridges

 

but better planning and oversight are a must when considering a project like refitting the Bay Bridge. And these tried and true bolts that were supposed to stand up to earthquakes couldn't even be installed without cracking? Sounds like the project directors didn't cross all their t's

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Response to burnodo (Reply #13)

Tue May 7, 2013, 05:43 PM

14. It is disconcerting how impossible it seems for us to tackle these big projects.

I think part of the problem is too many cooks, too many mini-chiefs, and too long of a timescale subject to too many short-term political winds.

It's not like FDR and the WPA.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue May 7, 2013, 11:21 AM

2. My BIL refuses to drive the bridge, at all.

because of all the problems the re-build has had.
He says that most of the workers are Chinese....( can anyone confirm that?)
and is concerned because the steel came from China, notorious for low quality products. ( remember the sheetrock fiasco?)
the bolts are built into the road deck, so they can’t be replaced.


Even before the retrofit several years back, I always had a bad feeling going over that bridge, luckily rarely had to do so.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #2)

Tue May 7, 2013, 11:26 AM

3. The flawed hardened steel bolts in question were 'Made in America'

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #3)

Tue May 7, 2013, 12:09 PM

6. Really?

I had read otherwise some time back but cannot locate the source right now.
Were they FROM imported materials, I wonder.

Not trying to be argumentive, just trying to juggle different sources of info.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #6)

Tue May 7, 2013, 12:18 PM

7. The bulk of the steel was manufactured in China

The bolts (actually threaded rods) were made in Ohio by Dyson Corp

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #7)

Tue May 7, 2013, 02:00 PM

9. ty.....

I just love how Du folks find out so much stuff and bring it back here to share....

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue May 7, 2013, 11:50 AM

4. I have a phobia with bridges to begin with

particularly the Bay Bridge ever since a portion of it collapsed during the '89 earthquake. It's not a major phobia -- I just breath a bit easier once I reach the other side. I don't use the Bay Bridge often, but enough that these glitches are giving me big time anxiety. It's like the Titanic of bridges; a gigantic undertaking using cheap materials. I'm shuddering at the possible end result and hope I'm wrong.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #10)

Tue May 7, 2013, 02:32 PM

12. The bolts exceded CalTrans specifications - and that may be the problem

Retired Bechtel metallurgist Yun Chung offered up a 32-page report last week stating that Caltrans engineers "were ignorant to the threat of hydrogen embrittlement — a process in which high strength metals, such as steel, become brittle and fracture due to hydrogen exposure." The type of steel used in manufacturing the bolts, he said, was more hard on the outside than is required in Caltrans own specifications, and that the state's engineers were only focused on hydrogen exposure during the manufacturing, and not on exposure to the elements, which he believes caused them to become brittle and snap. Chung's findings have been vetted by other experts, who agree.


http://sfist.com/2013/04/28/things_looking_even_worse_with_thos.php

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue May 7, 2013, 02:14 PM

11. Oh lord. I was almost on that bridge during the '89 quake. This makes my hands sweat.

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