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Outsourcing: San Francisco's Bay Bridge Rebuilding: Now Made In China [View All]

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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 03:50 PM
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Outsourcing: San Francisco's Bay Bridge Rebuilding: Now Made In China
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Bridge Comes to San Francisco With a Made-in-China Label

At a sprawling manufacturing complex here, hundreds of Chinese laborers are now completing work on the
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
Next month, the last four of more than two dozen giant steel modules each with a roadbed segment about
half the size of a football field will be loaded onto a huge ship and transported 6,500 miles to Oakland.
There, they will be assembled to fit into the eastern span of the new Bay Bridge.

The project is part of Chinas continual move up the global economic value chain from cheap toys to Apple
iPads to commercial jetliners as it aims to become the worlds civil engineer.

The assembly work in California, and the pouring of the concrete road surface, will be done by Americans.
But construction of the bridge decks and the materials that went into them are a Made in China affair.
California officials say the state saved hundreds of millions of dollars by turning to China.


In New York City alone, Chinese companies have won contracts to help renovate the subway system,
refurbish the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River and build a new Metro-North
train platform near Yankee Stadium. As with the Bay Bridge, American union labor would carry
out most of the work done on United States soil.

American steelworker unions have disparaged the Bay Bridge contract by accusing the state
of California of sending good jobs overseas and settling for what they deride as poor-quality Chinese steel.
Industry groups in the United States and other countries have raised questions about the safety and quality
of Chinese workmanship on such projects. Indeed, China has had quality control problems ranging from tainted
milk to poorly built schools.


The new Bay Bridge, expected to open to traffic in 2013, will replace a structure that has never
been quite the same since the 1989 Bay Area earthquake. At $7.2 billion, it will be one of the
most expensive structures ever built. But California officials estimate that they will save at
least $400 million by having so much of the work done in China. (California issued bonds to
finance the project, and will look to recoup the cost through tolls.)

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