Ten Years Late/$5 Billion Over Budget—Bay Bridge Riddled With Problems

The famous Bay Bridge had to be re-furbished. Finally finished, it was completed TEN YEARS LATE and $5 Billion over budget. The worst part is that it is a dangerous span, the welds were bad, road are not good—it was done cheaply—yet not a single indictment for fraud and endangering society. Even out Attorney General, the Obama wannabee, Kamela Harris, decided politics is more important than public safety—and has refused to bring charges for fraud, at the very least.

At some point the bridge will fail and everyone will wonder how it happened? Sadly, even the mainstream media has reported on it and the politicians have not been able to hear or see the problems.

“This bridge came in $5 billion over budget, a full 10 years late, and riddled with safety issues such as broken rods and faulty welds. In 2013, dozens of the long metal rods on the project snapped. When apprised of these problems, California governor Jerry Brown, a former presidential candidate, famously said, “I mean, look, shit happens.” DeSaulnier, then chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, decided to hold hearings on the matter in January 2014.”

Our very confused Guv Brown sees nothing wrong, to quote him, “shit happens”. Wonder if he ever goes over the Bay Bridge.

bay bridge caltrans

California Congressman Mark DeSaulnier And The Bridge To No Accountability
By K. Lloyd Billingsley, Independent Institute, 3/4/15

 

Democrat Mark DeSaulnier, 62, a former California state senator, is the new U.S. Representative for California’s 11th district. Those seeking a sense of what the congressman is about might consider his experience with the new $6.5 billion eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

This bridge came in $5 billion over budget, a full 10 years late, and riddled with safety issues such as broken rods and faulty welds. In 2013, dozens of the long metal rods on the project snapped. When apprised of these problems, California governor Jerry Brown, a former presidential candidate, famously said, “I mean, look, shit happens.” DeSaulnier, then chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, decided to hold hearings on the matter in January 2014.

Witnesses testified that Caltrans, the massive state transportation agency, compromised public safety by ignoring problems with welds, bolts and rods. Caltrans also outsourced work to China, where workers produced cracked welds. Caltrans bridge engineer Douglas Coe noted that every one of the 750 panels had to be repaired.

The most serious charge, according to chairman DeSaulnier, a graduate of Holy Cross, was “a deliberate and willful attempt to obfuscate what is happening to the public.” Indeed, Caltrans geologist Michael Moore testified that safety problems were kept secret, ignored and covered up.

Caltrans program manager Tony Anziano, a lawyer, denied telling anyone to avoid disclosure. Chairman DeSaulnier listened carefully to Anziano and his boss, Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “I don’t believe you,” DeSaulnier said. “And I don’t believe that the public has the greatest confidence in what you’ve said.”

Whistleblower Michael Moore called for a “criminal investigation,” but none took place. Instead, Caltrans bosses called for an administrative inquiry by the California Highway Patrol. The CHP found “no illegality or retaliation against engineers who complained about construction defects.”

DeSaulnier sent a report on the bridge to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, an Obama loyalist who wants to be a U.S. Senator, but still no word of any criminal investigation. In November, DeSaulnier gained election to Congress, defeating Republican Tue Phan-Quang by a margin of 31 percentage points. The bridge safety issues, however, did not go away.

The problems first emerged through a series of investigative reports by Charles Piller of the Sacramento Bee. Abolhassan Astaneh-Asi, a professor of structural engineering at UC Berkeley, told Piller he believes the structure is unsafe and declines to use the bridge. And the professor surely knows more about bridges than Caltrans program manager Tony Anziano, who conveniently retired in February.

DeSaulnier told Piller he wished Anziano well, “but it’s frustrating that there’s never been anyone in the management of the bridge who has been held accountable.” The new congressman has that right, but taxpayers and toll payers should not be surprised.

 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.