Dozens of Bridges Use Fault-Prone Eyebars: Report

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    396779 08: The western span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge and San Francisco skyline seen November 2, 2001. Bridge security in California has been stepped up since California Governor Gray Davis announced authorities have received very credible threats that one of California's many suspension bridges may be targeted for terrorist attack between November 2 - November 7, 2001. (Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A legislative staff report obtained by KCRA in Sacramento shows that 56 bridges in California contain the same structural element that led to a recent accident and closure of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

    The bridges are of varying design and age, but they all contain an element known as an "eyebar."

    Last fall, state inspectors discovered a 2-inch-wide crack in an eyebar of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge. That led to a temporary repair, which later failed and caused a piece of metal to land on the bridge's roadway.

    PDF: Agenda, Report For Joint Hearing

    California Department of Transportation Director Randell Iwasaki, who gave an update on the Bay Bridge's status at a joint Assembly-Senate hearing this afternoon, said "that design is antiquated and hasn't been used since the '60s."

    Iwasaki said the beams have proven to be prone to cracks and dangerous.

    "We do have potential problems on eyebars and need to have inspections more than every two years on all the bridges in the state," Senate Transportation Chairman Alan Lowenthal said.

    A staff report discussed at the hearing shows that 55 other bridges in the state from Humboldt County to Los Angeles also use eyebars.

    While the Bay Bridge has received a federal sufficiency rating of 31 out of 100, some the other bridges have been rated as low as two.

    However, the bay bridge continues to be Caltrans priority because it carries so many cars and because the other bridges incorporate eyebars in a different way.

    "It's a different use of that eyebar. And so there's not as much concern," Iwasaki said.