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Monday, July 8, 2013

Bay Bridge East Span Will Not Open Labor Day, Meeting Planned Wednesday

Posted By on Mon, Jul 8, 2013 at 2:46 PM

click to enlarge Late! - FLICKR/DULUOZ CATS

Just like traffic in rush hour, construction on the new Bay Bridge is moving slower than expected.

The Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee announced today that the new East Span of the Bay Bridge will not launch on Labor Day, as planned. The oversight committee confirmed that the 32 bolts that broke along the bridge in March have effectively postponed the launch date.

The committee will discuss the details as well as a new launch date at a public meeting Wednesday.

Between March 8, 2013 and March 14, 2013, 32 out of the 96 rods were found fractured. According to the investigation report released today by the oversight committee, investigators concluded that the rods failed due to hydrogen embrittlement, which is the process of when metals become weak and subsequently fracture following exposure to hydrogen.

These fractures resulted in concerns on the safety of the new span, and with Labor Day just two months away, a committee on July 10 is set to weigh in on whether the bridge will be ready as scheduled, or require a postponement.

Possibly influencing the launch date, the contractor for the project, according to committee, now forecasts that the steel saddle retrofit of the failed bolts on the east pier will be completed by December 10, 2013.

According to the Bay Bridge public information office, the three-member panel consisting of the heads of Caltrans, the California Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Toll Authority will make a formal recommendation for a launch date this Wednesday at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission offices at 101 Eighth Street in Oakland.

As the Labor Day opening was scheduled primarily because of the holiday's minimal or lack thereof traffic, and because of a necessity of a four-day full closure of the existing bridge, the MTA meeting on July 10 plans to discuss the best possible dates so as to not cause heavy traffic.


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Natalia Aldana

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