Saturday, October 31, 2009

Caltrans Still Adjusting Repairs to Bay Bridge - about to Stress Test

Caltrans engineers have been 'custom-fitting and fine-tuning' adjustments to repairs of the Bay Bridge today, said a spokesperson.

Stress testing is about to begin anytime now, she said, in a press conference just given and streamed live on kron4.com.

But the spokesperson refused to give any target time for the opening of the bridge or to make any commitment to it being open for Monday morning.

Safety is the priority, she said.

'This is a really unique situation and things are being customized,' she said.

Designs to the repair involving an eyebar and the fitting of four steel rods has been evolving, with adjustments made as the work is done, she said. Asked why the eyebar, that has a repaired crack in it following planned maintenance on Labour Day Weekend, is not being replaced but shored up back in place, she said that would be too difficult.

The crack had not been affected by the accident of the eyebar and two of the steel rods crashing down during the Tuesday evening commute as a result of vibration, she said.

Stress testing is expected to take about three hours, and will be followed by anti-vibration dampeners being installed, and then extensive inspections by outside agencies.

These are the Federal Highway Administration, the Seismic Peer Review Board and independent inspectors.

'Once that bridge is deemed safe, that's when we can open the bridge,' she said. In the interim, BART are running a limited overnight service to 14 of their stations.

For further info: sign up for official BART news updates, follow a BART RSS feed or follow @SFBART to keep up with the latest.

pics show the fog lifting off the bridge at midday, and a Coastguard helicopter making a more unusual flypast under rather than over it.

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