Bay Bridge closed for morning commute

November 1, 2009 6:38:29 PM PST
Six days after the Bay Bridge was shut down there is still no word on when it might reopen.

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Caltrans needs to conduct more stress tests and more inspections on the repair work it has done. So far, that work is not passing those tests and that means more work needs to be done.

Caltrans announced Sunday evening that the bridge will remain closed at least through the Monday morning commute. Workers are still trying to repair a cracked eyebeam and Caltrans is not making any predictions about when the bridge will reopen.

Crews have been working around the clock since Tuesday when 5,000 pounds of metal came loose and crashed on to the upper deck during rush hour. After taking Saturday night off workers were back 120 feet in the air first thing Sunday morning.

Caltrans says the problem is there continues to be steel rubbing against steel in the area workers are trying to repair. Rods are not staying in place. Engineers say they need to stay tight and aligned to prevent the metal from falling again.

The repairs failed a stress test Saturday evening which is why Caltrans says the work will continue and the bridge will remain closed through Monday's commute.

"We're not making a prediction on when the bridge will reopen. We know that's frustrating to motorists and we apologize, but we don't want to make a false prediction," Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said Sunday. "We want to put safety first and we want to basically make sure that everyone feels comfortable with the repairs that we have done."

Workers will conduct another stress test Sunday evening by putting tension on the rods. Engineers hope to be able to determine whether this repair will be able to withstand heavy winds in the future.

Caltrans is asking commuters to continue to be patient.

BART will start service Monday morning at the regular time and will continue to run longer trains. The East Bay ferries will run on an enhanced schedule with departures approximately every half hour beginning at 6:00 a.m.

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