Experts Raise Concern About Bay Bridge Rods

Monday, December 09, 2013 - 03:07 PM

The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge (Isabel Angell)

Two Bay Area engineers have released a scathing report about the official analysis of the broken rods on the Bay Bridge, Charles Piller of the Sacramento Bee reports.

The Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee conducted the analysis after 32 key seismic rods broke on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge back in March.

The report said that the manufacturing process made the rods brittle and more vulnerable to cracking. But authors Yun Chung and Lisa Thomas, who are engineers and metal experts, concluded that the rods broke because they were left to sit in water for five years as construction was repeatedly delayed. Water exposure can corrode the type of metal that the rods are made of.

Chung and Thomas also raised concerns about 200 rods that are integral to the suspension portion of the bridge. They say those rods are prone to cracking. “If the rods go,” Chung said in an interview, “the whole bridge would come down.” But Caltrans hasn’t conducted any hardness testing that would reveal weakness.

Other engineers, including professors at UC Berkeley and San Jose State, have peer-reviewed the unsolicited report by Chung and Thomas and found their findings sound. Chung and Thomas have passed on their report to Caltrans and elected officials. 

Read the full article on the Sacramento Bee’s website:



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