Crews repair cracked eyebar on Bay Bridge

December 22, 2009 12:38:19 PM PST
Caltrans crews have completed repair work on the Bay Bridge's infamous cracked eyebar, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Workers are now removing the temporary supports first put in place Labor Day weekend, when the cracked eyebar was discovered during a planned bridge closure, Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said. On Oct. 27, vibrations created in part by strong winds caused the repair to fail during the evening commute, prompting an unplanned weeklong closure for additional repairs.

Ney declined to say when the supports would be totally removed, but said it would happen within a matter of days.

Crews are "going to put a really good try on it tonight," he said.

Workers will break for the Christmas holiday, but if more repair cleanup needs to be done, they will be back Saturday night, Ney said.

In order to fix the cracked eyebar, crews cut off the top 12 feet of the 80-foot-long piece of steel, including the cracked eyebar head, and replaced it with new steel, Ney said.

Workers have been conducting daily inspections on the repaired segment.

Caltrans has not yet determined the frequency of post-repair inspections, but Ney said the fix "will not require as much inspection."

"It's definitely not going to be daily; it may not even be weekly," Ney said.

Federal guidelines require eyebars to be inspected every two years, he said. On the Bay Bridge, that frequency has been increased to every three months for the other 1,679 eyebars.

The repaired portion "will get special treatment until we retire the bridge," Ney said. The bridge's seismic retrofit plan calls for the eastern span to be entirely replaced by 2013.

Caltrans had originally promised to have the eyebar repairs completed by the end of the year. Ney said that crews worked through some rough weather conditions, allowing them to finish ahead of schedule.

He encouraged motorists to visit www.baybridge.info to monitor traffic, lane closures and other conditions during the travel-heavy holiday season.


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