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Anatomy of a goof: How Caltrans got sold on those faulty Bay Bridge rods

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Latest installment in the backstory to the Bay Bridge engineering fiasco: Caltrans became sold on installing high-risk rods on the new eastern span after a supplier pointed out that the agency had already approved them for the Richmond-San Rafael bridge seismic retrofit. But, as the Chronicle’s Jaxon Van Derbeken points out, the Richmond rods approved in 2001 were tightened to far lower tension levels than the more than 2,300 rods installed on the Bay Bridge. An excerpt:

"Low stress on one bridge means nothing for the Bay Bridge, where the stress is so beyond the other application - it's like apples and oranges, there's no comparison," said Russell Kane, a corrosion and embrittlement expert in Texas. "You can't say anything about how they will perform" based on the low-stress use, he said.

Image: NBC Bay Area

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