Even Bay Bridge Bike Path Was Overbudget, Flawed

No break from bridge problems.

Not even the bikes get a break.

The cost overruns, design flaws and faulty materials that have plagued the new Bay Bridge's $6.4 billion eastern span also extend to the two-mile long bike path, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Problems with the railings on either side of the bike path -- which today stops short of its future terminus on Yerba Buena Island; it is not slated to be completed until 2016 -- were found in 2007 and 2008, the newspaper reported.

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An extra $3.8 million was spent on fixing the problem -- but one expert said that the headaches with the bike path are more proof that the bridge has not been built properly.

"I think it's becoming clear that the required level of scrutiny and checking has been deficient," said Bob Bea, a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley who has criticized bridge planning and execution, in comments to the newspaper.

Caltrans inspector Greg Roth documented all the problems with the bridge, the newspaper reported, including emergency access gates which didn't open properly, and flawed parts anchoring the fences.

Metal grates used in the hand railings "simply didn't fit," Roth wrote in March 2008 documents.

These were determined "design flaws," which meant the contractors did not need to fix them, the newspaper reported. This, Roth said, "displayed a total disregard" in fixing the problems.

Caltrans assures the public that the problems have been fixed and that the bike path is safe.

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