Bay Bridge Experts Have Possible Conflicts of Interest

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 29: Catwalks hang over a section of the newly constructed eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge during a media tour of the self-anchored suspension span tower on August 29, 2011 in Oakland, California. Contruction crews have erected twelve foot wide catwalks that connect to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge self-anchored suspension span's tower and crews will begin to lay the nearly one mile of main cable beginning in early 2012. The bridge has been under constrution since 2002 with an estimated price tag of $6.3 billion and will have the world's tallest Self-Anchored Suspension (SAS) tower once completed. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    An investigation finds apparent conflicts of interest involving some of the experts asked to conduct a technical review of the tower foundation for the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
     

    The Sacramento Bee reports members of the new panel created by the Legislative Analyst's Office have current or recent financial and professional ties to the California Department of Transportation and Bay Bridge contractors.  
    The new panel was formed after a Bee investigation showed conflicts of interest involving members of a Caltrans review panel that judged the foundation sound last year.
     
    Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, chairman of the Transportation and Housing Committee, says he is ``distressed'' to learn about the ties between the new panelists, the agency and Bay Bridge contractors.
     
    The experts are to assess whether Caltrans followed proper procedures.

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