Return to Home Page

U.C. Berkeley Engineering Scholar Says All Bay Bridge Bolts Likely Defective

By Amanda Joyal Published: May 29, 2013, 11:26 pm

OAKLAND (KRON) — A U.C. Berkeley Engineering professor says he doesn’t believe any of the bolts on the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge are safe.

Dr. Abolhassan Astaneh says he couldn’t believe it when he heard about the types of bolts used on the project.

“I was shocked,” the professor tells KRON 4’s Terisa Estacio. “It’s the only bolt that all specifications, all bridge codes, throughout the world by name specify don’t use A354-BD galvanized bolts in bridges. These bolts can become very brittle like a gas light and you don’t want to have these bolts in your bridge.”

Caltrans says it has detected problems with some but not all of the bolts. The agency says it will decide by July 10th if it can repair the problem in time to open the new span of the bridge after a planned Labor Day weekend closure.

“No one can say that because the 2010 bolts were tightened and they did not break that they are safe,” Dr. Astaneh adds. “During an earthquake, regardless of how much you tighten the bolts, whether or not they could be tightened 10% or 70%, the earthquake will push them to the limit and they should be able to take it and yield and deform without fractures. And these bolts cannot do that.”

The professor’s remarks come at the same time as Caltrans is revealing other potential problems with the new bridge. The agency says it has fixed problems with bolts holding the rail on a bicycle bridge adjacent to the new structure. It also says it’s addressed problems with the deck alignment.

The Governor’s office says it is ordering a system-wide review of Caltrans in the wake of problems with the Bay Bridge project.

Stay tuned to KRON 4 and for the latest on the Bay Bridge project.

(Copyright 2013, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)