Days after chunks of concrete fell on at least one car, many drivers have one simple question: Is the Richmond-San Rafael bridge safe enough to cross?
Caltrans stresses the bridge is structurally safe. Engineers late Friday worked on making adjustments to the temporary repairs made on the bridge. Officials finished emergency repairs overnight Saturday.
Work on a permanent fix initially was planned to begin Monday, Feb. 11. But rain in the forecast forced Caltrans to push back the repair start date to Feb. 18. The agency says it plans to spend $300,000 on a permanent fix.
“It’s an old bridge. We have aging infrastructure,” said Caltrans District 4 Director Tony Tavares. “The bridge is safe in the condition that it is. We have a steel plate over the impacted area right now.”
The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is more than 60 years old. What may have started out as fine lines turned into deep cracks, when according to the CHP, a chunk of concrete fell on a driver in a Mercedes Benz who was whizzing by on an eastbound lane Thursday morning.
Caltrans says that impacted area is in the middle lane of the upper deck where an expansion joint failed. That caused chunks of concrete to break off and fall below.
“We think it’s wear and tear, it could have also been caused by a heavy truck load,” Tavares said.
Caltrans District 4 director says that expansion joint was last inspected in August of last year and showed no problems.
“I think everyone going over that bridge kind of holds their breath just because of the sheer length of it,” said Jay Zee, who uses the bridge. “I might wait until they finish up, maybe cancel my future trips to Vallejo.”
Caltrans says if you do see any chunks of concrete falling, call 911.
The agency says they have maintenance crews monitoring the bridge over the weekend until the permanent fix is complete.