Officials to update repair work on Bay Bridge

No definitive update expected on opening day of new east span of SF-Oakland Bay Bridge

Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge had another bolt problem involving the bicycle path, but it has since been fixed, a state transportation official said on Wednesday.

Numerous bolts used to anchor the railing along the path failed because of improper welding, officials said. But Bay Bridge spokesman Andrew Gordon said the all the bolts that failed have been replaced.

The news comes as officials overseeing construction of the new span are scheduled to update the public later Wednesday about repairs to 32 seismic safety rods that broke after being tightened in March.

The failure of those rods, which attach the bridge deck to earthquake shock absorbers called "shear keys," has put the bridge's planned Labor Day opening date in jeopardy.

State transportation officials are not expected to say definitively Wednesday whether the span will open as scheduled on Labor Day weekend.

Instead, they are scheduled to describe progress in installing a new steel saddle that will go over the base of the shear keys to hold them in place in lieu of the broken rods.

The new bridge is replacing a span damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

The problem with the bike path was not nearly as significant. Crews who built the path's railing welded the bolts firmly in their slots rather than leaving a small amount of room to accommodate a natural expansion of the path that happens in hot weather.

As a result, many of the bolts sheared off along the 1.2-mile bike path.