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Twisting in Bay Bridge wind—Governor gets serious about bolt blunder

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gov. Jerry Brown, whose flippant response a couple of weeks ago to the Bay Bridge bolt fiasco was “(expletive) happens,” took a more serious tone yesterday at UC Berkeley, when asked about it. The takeaway quote: “That thing is not going to open unless it’s ready.” However unlikely a fix for the bad engineering that went into the bridge’s new east span could be accomplished in time for its scheduled Labor Day opening, neither the governor nor Caltrans are attempting to predict when it will open at this point.

A piece by Jaxon Van Derbeken in the Chronicle gets at what appears to be a central point of conflict. It quotes Lehigh University expert John Fisher, a member of the review panel brought in to advise Caltrans on the mess, as saying all of the bolts found to be beyond a certain hardness level, and thus susceptible to cracking, should be replaced. That could amount to hundreds. So far, Caltrans says only that it will replace the defective bolts, i.e., those that have already cracked.

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