Just How Broken is the Bay Bridge?
By Margaux Poupard
The new Bay Bridge has had 99 problems but at least the S-curve ain’t one. If you’ve been keeping up with the latest happenings with the eastern span, which opened on September 2, 2013, you know the issues surrounding the not-even-one-year-old bridge span are a-plenty. So how fucked is the Bay Bridge? Let me count the ways:
Bad bolts, welding, and rust? Oh my!
Back in January, State Senate called out engineers behind the $6.5 billion project on the quality of their work. Turns out pieces of the bridges' welding, as well as bolts holding together earthquake safety equipment, were of questionable durability. Despite defects, the engineers defended their actions, deeming them hella chill, even if they’d need retrofitting sooner rather than later. Guess no one learned from the first time 32 faulty bolts snapped even before the bridge opened.
When it rained a month later, it did more than make your allergies unpleasant. Yup, the Bay Bridge leaked! But CalTrans explained that they were using the rain to tell them where the leaks on the bridge were coming from, and promised "The bridge is safe and drivers are safe."
Last month, the Sacramento Bee found rust and serious corrosion in the same support towers that were supposedly totes fine. Bridge spokesman Andrew Gordon said “there is no concern about corrosion.” Funny, sounds like what a liar would say.
Just today, it was reported that there is an alignment problem with bolts that attach the main tower on the east side deck. And that could mean nothing for now but long term, these off-center bolts could get damaged from friction during an earthquake.
I’m no engineer, but I do watch too much reality TV and this is sounding like an excellent episode of To Catch a Contractor.
(Pedestrian) Bridge to Nowhere
Remember how cool it was gonna be to ride your bike or walk to Yerba Buena Island once the new span was complete? Well the temporary connector ramp, which cost $9.4 million was razed after just seven months of use. It was torn down and reopened in March this year, but it still won't let you onto Yerba Buena. You'll have to wait until 2015 for that.
I haven’t waited so impatiently for something since Target announced their designer line of clothes.
You’ve Gotta Pay the Troll Toll
Because there isn’t enough rubbernecking going on already, between people snapping pictures to Instagram later of the new bridge, that Burning Man light show heading into the city or, watching a big-rig get stuck on the Treasure Island off-ramp; now, there’s a troll when you’re entering the East Bay. After a brief appearance during the Bay Bridge ceremony, he’s emerged again, tucked away on Pier E2. Don't bother looking for the troll while driving because he's not visible to drivers anyway, but it’s worth noting because he happens to be in the same spot where the broken bolts are located.
With that, I’ll let the troll have the final mic drop.
Photo via Thinkstock