Caltrans Moves To Hold Bay Bridge Contractors Accountable

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SACRAMENTO - Caltrans officials will seek approval from the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee (TBPOC) to conclude its contract with American Bridge / Fluor, the joint venture that built many parts of the Bay Bridge, and hold the contractor accountable for project delays and faulty work. Before Caltrans can conclude its contract with American Bridge / Fluor and begin final negotiations over damages and penalties, the TBPOC, the project’s governing body created by the Legislature, must approve the initiation of this process.

Last fall, Caltrans inspectors found that the contractor had not properly sealed more than 400 high-strength steel rods imbedded in the tower’s foundation, failing to protect them against the elements. The threads of one rod stripped through its bolt and failed, prompting a thorough investigation of all the rods. Two of these rods were removed for testing, and the remaining rods underwent in-place earthquake-force tests. Testing concluded that the bolts could withstand a severe catastrophic earthquake.

Caltrans engineers will also seek TBPOC’s approval of the recommendations put forth by an external panel of seismic experts to fix or mitigate the contractor’s construction errors that potentially increased the risk of corrosion for these rods. The panel includes experts from the Federal Highway Administration, preeminent institutions of higher learning and engineering research, and members of the academy of sciences and engineering.

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