Opening of Bay Bridge’s new eastern span delayed

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(BCN)

Transportation officials announced Monday that problems with anchor bolts on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge will delay the span’s opening, which had been scheduled for Sept. 3.

Members of the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee told state legislators in Sacramento this morning that the steel saddle retrofit of the failed bolts will be completed by Dec. 10. The bolts are located on a pier along the span just east of Yerba Buena Island.

Committee members said in a news release that a new date for opening the new span will be based on “actual completion of the east pier retrofit work, weather windows, traffic impacts and other information as it becomes available.”

They said, “the bridge opening may or many not coincide with a Monday holiday weekend and may involve shorter advance notice to the public than prior closures.”

The initial opening date was over the Labor Day weekend.

Before the new span opens, the whole bridge will need to be closed for four days to allow crews to complete work to transition traffic to the span at the Oakland touchdown and the Yerba Buena Island tunnel, according to the committee.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Caltrans officials learned in March that about a third of the 96 bolts installed on the pier had failed.

The bolts, also known as anchor rods, which are located near where the new span’s self-anchored suspension span meets its skyway, popped out several inches after being tightened.

Legislators were briefed on the matter at a closed hearing in Sacramento today.

There will be a public briefing on the issue at the MTC’s Bay Area Toll Authority meeting in Oakland on Wednesday.

MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger said at a hearing on May 20 that transportation officials feel an urgency to fix the bolt problem and open the new span as soon as possible because the motivation for building the new eastern span is to make the Bay Bridge seismically safe after it was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

(Copyright 2013 Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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