DaveTEST Live Video BAY Feature A1

Bay Bridge Eastern Span Project's To Do List

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Construction crews are working overtime to get everything ready for a Labor Day event that will effect tens if not hundreds of thousands of people.

    The Bay Bridge renovation requires that the section of I-80 connecting San Francisco to Oakland will be closed for four full days beginning Friday of the holiday weekend.

    The construction project is aimed at increasing the seismic safety of the eastern span, part of which collapsed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

    A chunk of the current bridge needs be cut out, and a new section added so that traffic can be detoured onto the new span and the old span can be demolished.

    Earlier this week it was described as a high-wire act involving thousands of tons and mere inches of clearance.  Caltrans told the San Francisco Chronicle that if it is a windy weekend, they may have to push the project back a week.

    If that happens the closure becomes a whole new "thing."   September 11 -14 is a regular late summer/early fall weekend and people will be working on the Friday and the Monday.   Even on a holiday weekend,  no access to the Bay Bridge will be a big inconvenience.  Push that forward a week and that "big" could quickly turn to HUGE.

    Whenever the closure happens, drivers will immediately two big changes on the bridge.  One is driving on the new stretch of road.  The other is a new speed limit which will go to 40 mph.  So get ready to keep your eyes open and slow down starting in September.

    Caltrans says it is working hard to be ready to respond to all scenarios.

    And there is a new hiccup to report on the massive project.

    Metropolitan Transportation Commission Executive Director Steve  Heminger said Wednesday that a Shanghai manufacturer "has fallen behind schedule"  in making steel for the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay  Bridge.
         
    Steve Heminger told MTC commissioners that the delay "is pretty disturbing news" for the project to build the new eastern span, which has been set with delays and cost increases over the  years.

    The new eastern span is currently scheduled to open in 2013.

    Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney told KTVU that there is still plenty of time to catch up the steel delivery delay.

    The ZPMC steel-fabrication plant in Shanghai is putting together segments for the single-tower suspension span's deck and tower.

    Shipments of the first steel segments were originally expected to arrive in the Bay Area this month, but Heminger said, "Now we're hearing  September at the earliest."

    He said, "We need premium steel out of China to start showing up so we can finish the bridge."

    Heminger said he and several other transportation officials will soon travel to Shanghai to discuss the situation with ZPMC officials in  person.

    Bay City News contributed to this report. ZPMC is short for Zhenhua Port Machinery Co.

    Bay City News contributed to this report. The delays at the ZPMC plant are the result of a welding problem that was first discovered last year.

    Discussing the welding problem at an MTC meeting on Jan. 28, Heminger said, "We're managing it and mitigating it" and said it "is largely behind us now."