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Bay Bridge technicians 'listen' for cracking in the steel anchor rods (CalTRans at its finest)
Mercury News ^ | 5/6/13 | Lisa Vorderbrueggen - Contra Costa Times

Posted on 05/06/2013 8:01:34 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

OAKLAND — Strategically positioned high above the water, in a narrow crawl space between the new Bay Bridge deck and the top of its big pier east of the tower, instruments are listening for the sounds of cracking inside steel anchor rods.

Caltrans placed 10 acoustic emission sensors on select rods in early April after some of the massive bolts -- 3 inches in diameter and 17 to 24 feet long -- snapped and triggered widespread worry about the replacement eastern span's seismic safety.

The instrument records the energy produced when a crack initiates, spreads or moves within the rod, said Caltrans materials engineer Bahjat Bagher, who showed off the testing late Friday. But so far, the rods being tested are quiet, a great relief to the agency.

If the bolts -- fabricated in 2010, two years after the 32 bolts that broke -- were also faulty and had to be replaced, the cost to make the $6.4 billion bridge safe for motorists would rise, and Caltrans would face an even greater hurdle to opening the bridge on time.

A second test for hardness is also showing favorable results, although a third saltwater corrosion test is still to come.

"We are pretty confident that we don't have an immediate failure issue with these bolts, but we want to have a strong level of confidence over the long-term," said Toll Bridge Program Manager Tony Anziano.

It's small a piece of good news amid mounting concerns about the $6.4 billion span's ability to withstand the next big earthquake. The long, hefty anchor rods tie the bridge deck and pier columns to the shear keys and bearings that help control sway and uplift during a quake.

(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: California; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: baybridge; caltrans; cracking; listen; technicians

1 posted on 05/06/2013 8:01:34 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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It won’t sway like the Tacoma bridge.. but , man,, them bolts all start popping in a big one.. that ting is gonna be an E ticket ride and then some.


2 posted on 05/06/2013 8:03:32 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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A broken anchor rod rises up next to still-tensioned rods on a shear key on the new Bay Bridge Friday afternoon May 3, 2013. Caltrans showed off the rods and some of the techniques they are using to monitor and test other installed anchor rods as they design a fix for the compromised hardware. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

3 posted on 05/06/2013 8:06:03 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: All

The new bridge is way over budget and is defective.

Thanks again, Union workers.


4 posted on 05/06/2013 8:11:36 PM PDT by Rodney Dangerfield ("Meg Lanker-Simons is a shining example of a liberal education.")
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5 posted on 05/06/2013 8:28:19 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW (My faith and politics cannot be separated)
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To: NormsRevenge

Surprising to me they look just like nuts and bolts I might tighten or loosen with my 1/2 inch drive socket set.

I can not tell which one is broken.


6 posted on 05/06/2013 8:33:55 PM PDT by yarddog (Truth, Justice, and what was once the American Way.)
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To: yarddog

I’d just guess that the one closest to the camera is the bad one — look at how the nut isn’t quite screwed down all the way compared to the nuts on the other “still-tensioned” rods.


7 posted on 05/06/2013 8:37:49 PM PDT by jiggyboy (Ten percent of poll respondents are either lying or insane)
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To: NormsRevenge

I tap my anchor bolts with a small sledge hammer, they make a unique sound when the threads are pulled or the bolts are fractured, My anchor bolts are about 1 1/2’ diameter. They anchor tall silos.
I remember when Oldsmobile tried converting a gas engine to a diesel, we mechanics would literally pull the rocker covers off, tap each head bolt and often they would just pop up with a thunk, all it took was a hammer tap. Too much compression in a diesel for gasoline engine sized head bolts.


8 posted on 05/06/2013 8:43:38 PM PDT by Spartan302 (Spartans never quit, they come back later with more warriors.)
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To: jiggyboy

Yes I see it now. I think you are right.


9 posted on 05/06/2013 8:43:41 PM PDT by yarddog (Truth, Justice, and what was once the American Way.)
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To: yarddog
I can not tell which one is broken.

Look closely at the bolt in the center of the picture frame, look down to where it sits on the washer. Notice that it doesn'y look like any of the other nut/washer pairs visible. A portion of the nut facing the washer is visible and appears to be conical and extends a bit above the washer. That is only possible if there is no tension in the rod, which means the nut was not torqued down, or the rod has broken in two.

Regards,
GtG

10 posted on 05/06/2013 9:15:43 PM PDT by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
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To: Rodney Dangerfield

Maybe union workers, maybe cheap contractors buying low quality material. Maybe both. It’s all a racket.

City I live in has the worst WORST streets in the nation. A “resurface” lasts about 7 months, then starts to sag and crack. Clearly it’s not just the workers..the paving gunk looks like molasses. Thing is, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, the contractors and tradesmen are always busy and the taxpayers get soaked. So soaked, the city decided to cut the police force and NOT answer any property crime calls.


11 posted on 05/06/2013 9:23:00 PM PDT by Veto! (Opinions freely expressed as advice)
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To: NormsRevenge

Ya see, in earthquake country, they want their bridges to collapse cleanly, so there’s no twisted mess afterward, like last time.....


12 posted on 05/06/2013 9:34:04 PM PDT by G Larry (Darkness Hates the Light)
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To: Gandalf_The_Gray

Yup. Enlarge thephot and note the distance from the nt to the Lok Tite. That rod has snapped and they backed off the nut.


13 posted on 05/06/2013 9:40:19 PM PDT by Cobra64 (Common sense isn't common anymore.)
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To: Spartan302

Wow. One and a half FEET? Those must be some damn big silos.

;)


14 posted on 05/06/2013 10:16:36 PM PDT by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: NormsRevenge

They built the bridge because the old one “wasn’t safe” in an earthquake. $6.4 Billion and we are right back where we started, almost. We still have to pay off the $6.4 billion!


15 posted on 05/06/2013 10:17:53 PM PDT by vette6387
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To: Veto!

SF is a big union town and this project is 100% union builders.

You can be sure they cut the usual corners and skimmed their usual cut off of the top, resulting in substandard materials and labor.

They even have a program to rehabilitate criminals by giving them jobs working on the bridge. Yeah, they aren’t doing the advanced stuff, but that should be a hint that they will hire not the best, but who will be the most “diverse”

Affirmative Action and sub-standard materials on a bridge project. No thanks.


16 posted on 05/06/2013 11:22:16 PM PDT by Rodney Dangerfield ("Meg Lanker-Simons is a shining example of a liberal education.")
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To: NormsRevenge

A new bridge and bolts are already breaking? I would take a different bridge.

Where were the bolts made? The same factory producing the made-in-China crap hardware sold at the big-box stores? You can easily snap the head off those screws by hand without any power tool.


17 posted on 05/06/2013 11:29:24 PM PDT by Ray76 (Do you reject Obama? And all his works? And all his empty promises?)
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To: Little Pig; Spartan302

“Wow. One and a half FEET? Those must be some damn big silos.”

And I want to see the wrenches!


18 posted on 05/06/2013 11:41:20 PM PDT by Yehuda
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To: yarddog

the broken one is the one in the foreground, where the nut is not seated closely to the socket, all the others are seated in the sockets.


19 posted on 05/07/2013 12:29:13 AM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: NormsRevenge
The KSFO morning show was going over this a while back. Ironically the bolts weren't made in China even though a good portion of the metal work did come from China. These bolts were “Made in the USA”. The problems seem to stem from the casting process. They were reheated twice for some reason effectively destroying the temper of the metal making it brittle in some cases.

While that affair was being talked about a CHP officer called in. He claimed to have arrested 2 fellows in a stolen car, who were high as a kite on heroin. That in and of itself wasn't particularly odd. It was what they did for a living that he was concerned about. One fellow was a metal worker and the other was welder both workers on the Bay Bridge.

He took them in, booked them and went about his business. He said he checked in about them some weeks later. You guessed it they were back at work on the Bay Bridge and most likley still using heroin. They apparently got a slap on the wrist and the union helped them retain their jobs.

God help anyone caught on that eastern span during a good shaker. The stage is set for a potentially catastrophic failure with substantial loss of life depending on the time of day. To add insult to injury it was also brought out that corners were cut in the casting of the concrete for the pilings as in using substandard concrete etc.

There already have been small news stories surfacing now and then about Cal-Trans safety inspectors falsifying inspection reports but those seem to disappear quickly. That bridge has the record of being the longest public works project in the history of California.

I guess if you end up driving that span regularly it might be wise to carry a life preserver and something to aid your self in cutting your way out of your car if you survive the drop into the bay.

20 posted on 05/07/2013 2:18:27 AM PDT by Polynikes (What would Walt Kowalski do. In the meantime "GET OFF MY LAWN")
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To: Little Pig

oops, meant inch and a half.


21 posted on 05/07/2013 4:28:20 AM PDT by Spartan302 (Spartans never quit, they come back later with more warriors.)
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To: Yehuda

You can see it but you’re not strong enough to lift it. :)


22 posted on 05/07/2013 4:40:37 AM PDT by ken in texas (I respect my elders but keep finding fewer of them.)
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To: ken in texas

( : >)


23 posted on 05/07/2013 11:19:24 AM PDT by Yehuda
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To: Rodney Dangerfield
Affirmative Action and sub-standard materials on a bridge project.

Thanks for the info. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

24 posted on 05/07/2013 11:46:59 AM PDT by Veto! (Opinions freely expressed as advice)
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To: yarddog

Note the gap on the center one. It should be snug against the plate.


25 posted on 05/07/2013 11:48:44 AM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Cobra64

the blue is where it was before it went bad...then they did not back it off they tried to tighten it back down further and it is still not tight because it is broken.


26 posted on 05/07/2013 12:02:02 PM PDT by superfries
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