Bay Bridge Bolt Botch XII

Well, well. WordPress tells me that my earlier post on mirror-writing was my 100th post. That calls for a celebration. What would be appropriate? How about a special bonus mini-post? Sound good? I warn you: it’s a Bay Bridge Bolt Botch post…

It looks like Jaxon has given up on the BBBB story, or perhaps he’s on vacation. As with Tuesday’s story, today’s article in the Chron was written by our new friend Michael.

A Caltrans seismic safety peer review panel is recommending a temporary fix to act as a seismic stabilizer until the “saddle” is in place. The change would be to add steel shims to bearings near the broken bolts: the shims would prevent the roadbed from moving too much in an earthquake. There’s a nice picture with the article on SF Gate.

According to the panel, the patch would allow the bridge to open Labor Day weekend as planned, and begin carrying traffic while the saddle is being installed and the more than 700 suspect bolts are being replaced.

Yay?

Guys, it’s nice that you’re thinking outside the box and all, but the Labor Day date was purely arbitrary in the first place. Why are you trying to meet that date, rather than concentrating on improving the safety of the bridge?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t think a temporary patch is going to make me feel any better about using the bridge, given its known issues.

Caltrans’ communication problems continue, too. A member of the panel announced the proposed fix at a briefing for the Bay Area Toll Authority, and said that it had been submitted to Caltrans on Tuesday. Apparently nobody had told the director who was conducting the briefing. Do we have to add this kind of grandstanding to the rest of the mess?

Finally: Michael, please forget this collective responsibility approach blaming Caltrans, the design firms, and the contractors as a whole. Specific individuals are responsible, and they need to be identified and named. If that winds up bringing in highly-placed people, so be it. This is a time for hard-hitting investigative reporting, the kind that wins major awards. It’s not a time for mindless repetition of Caltrans’ party line.

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