Stripped Threads, Cracking Steel….And This Stuff Is Holding Up A Bridge?! The SF Bay Bridge

Stripped Threads, Cracking Steel….And This Stuff Is Holding Up A Bridge?! The SF Bay Bridge

Having lived through the “Big Dig” here in Boston and all of the associated blunders and embarrassments associated with it, I don’t have sky high expectations for any sort of public works projects in the modern age. Everyone is trying to screw someone else to make more money, many of the people in charge have no business being there, and frankly to use a tired phrase, they just don’t build stuff like they used to. Thankfully the big dig is a tunnel…or maybe that is worse. Either way a tunnel seems inherently less terrifying than a huge bridge which could collapse. After reading the linked story below about the San Francisco Bay Bridge and the rods holding the thing together I’d take a tunnel every day.

The story is an extensive look into a potential design flaw and materials problem with the bridge in that the steel support rods which help keep the cable stay span from dropping into the water are developing micro cracks in them, the threads where the anchor nuts are have stripped on a few, and multiple engineers and experts are saying that this is a situation that will only get worse and worse with a bridge is pretty freaking bad in our judgement. Where did the problem stem from? Apparently the rods were not made to the standards that they needed to be by the supplier. What’s actually worse? It is now coming to light that no one inspected a single one of them before installing them on the bridge. Not one. No checking, nothing. We can guess that all the typical reasons are in play for this but it is still absolutely terrible. I’m not sure why but stories like this one drive me up a wall.

I’d go on but the real story is at the link. It is fantastic and dogged reporting. The subject is fascinating and if you are a Californian it will likely make your blood boil.



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7 thoughts on “Stripped Threads, Cracking Steel….And This Stuff Is Holding Up A Bridge?! The SF Bay Bridge

  1. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    The Harbinger of Embrittlement?

    What a great name for a Metal band!

    The article suggests many similarities between the Bay Bridge and Newcastle United’s season so far – both are worn out, hanging by a thread and at breaking point – specially after yet another derby defeat at the hands of Sunderland….

  2. john

    If you follow the story line on the linked article, they knew from the start, there were problems from the Chinese (?) Company that welded the bridge deck to Dyson (OH) that supplied the bolts and steel links. CALTRANS is the real culprit.

  3. loren

    Have you ever driven by a group of CalTrans workers who were actually doing anything except standing around and talking, and taking an hour to do ten minute’s work? Does this organization work the same at the top as it does the bottom?

  4. sbg

    Brian, this is the NEW, replacement bridge that is supposed to replace the bridge that had a section collapse during the Loma Prieta quake that pancaked an entire roadway along with the bay bridge.

    What’s worse? you mentioned “big dig” and “tunnel” – there is a bay tunnel that runs between Oakland and SF which shut down and caused the commuters to have to walk to the closest end of the tunnel. So you tell me, what would you rather be on – a bridge a couple hundred feet over the water (that will collapse), or a tunnel under several hundred feet of water and dirt (that will collapse)? Honestly, I’d rather try flying then seeing how close the world needs to get before I’ll say I’m claustrophobic.

    This is a good link, it’s a huge deal except for this:

    Eventually SF will drop into the ocean so no matter how good the bridge, it’s temporary.

  5. John Brewer

    The old saying is “What’s orange and sleeps 3 comfortably? A Cal Trans Truck.”. It is just normal stuff out here. Of course, CalTrans denies everything. Investigators a couple of years ago found around $500,000.00 worth of construction supplies, products attached to the bridge project hidden away on a lot owned by a Cal Trans Inspector outside of Susanville, CA. But no one was on the take.

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