Caltrans responds to State Senate Bay Bridge report

Sacramento, Calif. — Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty responded to a Senate report on Bay Bridge construction by pointing out many misleading or inaccurate sections of the report, but also agreeing with the report that no one — even the strongest critics discussed in the report — disputes the safety of the Bay Bridge.

Read the Senate reports at http://stran.senate.ca.gov/informationalhearings.

“This report rehashes issues that have been investigated, reviewed and in many cases resolved,” said Dougherty who added that he was pleased that the report notes that everyone involved, unanimously agrees that the new east span of the Bay Bridge is safe. During a radio interview earlier this week, State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, the chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, also acknowledged that “the new structure is safer than the old one.”

The panel’s report findings in the four key tasks assigned to the review committee indicate that Caltrans:

  • Used appropriate design criteria for the Bay Bridge
  • Used appropriate procedures in the design and construction of the Tower Foundation
  • Performed appropriate analyses to address the impact of potential construction defects, and
  • Implemented an appropriate repair on Tower 2 to restore the strength provided by the original design.

At the California State Transportation Agency’s behest, the California Highway Patrol is also conducting an investigation to examine allegations of negligence and wrongdoing raised during a January 24 Senate Transportation and Housing Committee hearing.

“As we have during every review or probe related to this project,” said Dougherty, “we have cooperated fully with this investigation and will take any appropriate action if warranted.”

Dougherty also added that the new report does not incorporate or acknowledge the corrections and clarifications made by the department subsequent to the January 24 hearing regarding the Senate’s draft report and testimony provided.

“Some of the same misconceptions and inaccuracies raised before are perpetuated in this report,” said Dougherty. “Any concerns about welds, anchor rods, tendons, leaks, and foundation testing have been investigated, in many cases by outside experts, and resolved,” he said, while pointing out that fact sheets and other reports on these issues are available for all to see on the Bay Bridge website: http://baybridgeinfo.org/factsheets and http://baybridgeinfo.org/documents.

Dougherty said he is also looking forward to discussing a “Lessons Learned” report provided to the committee on July 25, which contains a post-construction review of the management practices of an unprecedented mega project. “We are eager to share the report so that lessons learned can be utilized going forward to improve management practices on mega projects in California.”

Additionally, Caltrans has also engaged in organizational reviews both internally and by outside experts on its management practices. The department is taking steps to increase its transparency and accountability, one of the many recommendations made in a wide-reaching assessment of Caltrans by the State Smart Transportation Initiative in January.

The Bay Bridge is an iconic structure that will provide Bay Area commuters with a safe, stunning and reliable corridor for years to come. The entire team involved — the owner, oversight committee, design consultants and contractors know the bridge is safe.

“For over 100 years, both American Bridge and Fluor have been leaders in the construction industry sharing core principles that uphold a strong culture to both safety and quality,” said Michael D. Flowers, President and CEO of American Bridge and Fluor. “Our companies have worked with public and private clients around the world to deliver complex and unique projects, such as the Self Anchored Suspension Span. An example close to home of such quality is the existing Bay Bridge, which American Bridge constructed back in the 1930s and has stood the test of time. Just as with other unique projects we have both successfully delivered, American Bridge and Fluor are proud of our accomplishments in constructing the iconic Self Anchored Suspension Span and bringing seismic safety to those who now travel the new East Span.”

"Founded in 1954, T.Y. Lin International (TYLI) has been involved in the design of world-class bridges since our inception," said Alvaro J. Piedrahita, TYLI President and Chief Executive Officer. "T.Y. Lin International, in a joint venture with Moffatt & Nichol Engineers, is proud to have played an important role in the iconic Bay Bridge project. The design joint venture worked closely with Caltrans, the California Transportation Commission, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to deliver the design for a critical lifeline structure that is safe, seismically-sound and meets the aesthetic and functional demands of Bay Area communities."


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