California Dept. of Transportation Investigating 33% Failure Rate of Key Earthquake Proofing Rods on New Oakland Bay Bridge — Constructed by NY’s New Tappan Zee Contractor

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 WPCNR TAPPAN ZEE NEWS. By John F. Bailey. June 19, 2013:

Media in the Bay area are swarming over the failures of one/third of 96 seismic safety bolts installed in the main structural tower out of  a total of 2,300 “suspect bolts” (California Department of Transportation words) now being tested for integrity. The new Oakland Bay Bridge ia scheduled to open in September. The official Caltrans statement may be seen at

The problems with the rods were discovered in March of this year, when, as The New York Times noted in a front page article by Norimitsu Onishi last Saturday, 32 of 96 of the 17 to 34 foor long bolts installed in the main tower snapped.ZsFxX_Em_4

In chronicling the troubles encountered by these key earthquake safety features, The Times failed to connect  that the contractors of the Oakland Bay Bridge are the same contractors New York State has selected to build the new Tappan Zee Bridge, Fluor Corporation and American Bridge Company which form Tappan Zee Constructors.

According to the California Department of Transportation,  The Toll Bridge Oversight Committee which had been planning on a grand September Labor Day opening of the bridge, three things must happen before they can open the bridge:

* Completion of the investigation of why the seismic bolts failed.

* Firm date for the affixing of concrete saddles to reinforce the 96 bolts in place that cannot be removed. The approximate date is July 10

* A determination of what to do about the 2,300 bolts now being tested.

The oversight committee on May 29 also detailed a laundry list of problems the bridge has before opening, including “bad welds in the tower base, corroded skyway tendons and alignment of the suspension deck and Yerba Buena Island deck off by “a couple of inches,” which have been corrected.

In reviewing Bay area news coverage of the bridge, it is reported that according to documents released by the California Department of Transportation, Caltrans own inspectors identified problems with the bolts in 2007 and 2008. The Associated Press reported it is unclear whether the problems were remedied before they were installed. Caltrans inspectors noted bolts failed structural integrity tests and the quality of erosion protection. The AP report of these earlier events may be seen at

The manufacturer of the bolts has not commented. American Bridge Fluor, has not commented and the California Department of Transportation has not commented.

For an overview of the bridge situation go to


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