Caltrans: Bay Bridge hole repair unavoidable

Caltrans says the emergency pothole repair on the Bay Bridge was unavoidable; they're just sorry it happened on a Giants game night.
April 10, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Caltrans is apologetic about an emergency repair on the Bay Bridge that backed up traffic big time Wednesday night. Thousands of drivers were stuck for hours.

Caltrans said they had no choice but to close lanes on both the upper and lower decks of the western span for safety reasons and they took some credit, saying it was their own crew that found that hole. What's unclear is why it wasn't discovered before it became it became an emergency repair.

"It just so happened, it occurred at the time of a game," said Caltrans spokesperson Leah Robinson-Leach.

One day after a pothole on the Bay Bridge left thousands of people stranded in their cars, Caltrans is apologizing for the timing, but says the emergency repair was unavoidable.

"It was far more important from a safety standpoint that we repair immediately. That's why it was considered an emergency repair, because that was more important than dealing with a little traffic, or a lot of traffic even," said Robinson-Leach.

This wasn't just any pothole. It's a big one that sprung on the top deck of the western span last night and was two-feet wide and half-a-foot long and wide open to the roadway below.

It left thousands of people stranded in San Francisco and on side streets for hours, many of them leaving the giants game. Some were stuck in their cars so long, they ran out of gas.

On Thursday, after a morning of meetings, Caltrans told us it was their own maintenance crew that discovered the problem when they went out to investigate a report of chipped pavement.

"And there was a need to repair that and when the maintenance crew went out, that's when they discovered there was in fact a hole," said Robinson-Leach.

Caltrans insists maintenance on the west span has not been compromised because of all that's gone on with the new eastern span. But still some who depend on the bridge, can't help but wonder.

"I think they're concentrating too much on the new one and not enough on the old one. They need to pay attention a little bit more and I think it opened a lot of people's eyes last night," said Ralph Saucedo, a Bay Bridge commuter.

Caltrans says it performs annual inspections on west span. At this point, there is no plan to change that schedule.


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