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Do hidden cracks imperil Bay Bridge?
sacbee.com ^ | Saturday, Jun. 21, 2014 | Charles Piller

Posted on 06/22/2014 12:55:50 PM PDT by Second Amendment First

The welding code and construction contract for the suspension-span roadway of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge each contain a universal rule: “No cracks.”

That rule applies to any new steel bridge and is particularly important for a “fracture-critical” bridge such as the new span, which opened last fall. Fracture-critical bridges can break, because some of their parts lack redundancy or backup. If a weld crack grows larger, causing such a part to fail, all or part of the roadway could collapse.

In 2008, the no-cracks rule put the California Department of Transportation in a worrisome bind. The Chinese firm hired to build the roadway routinely produced cracked welds that proved difficult to fix. Facing rising costs and increasing delays on a $6.5 billion bridge that was already years behind schedule and billions over budget, Caltrans sought advice about its options from a highly regarded expert in how metal fractures. He said some cracks can remain without compromising safety.

Caltrans then changed its contract and decided to put aside the welding code. Its fracture-critical bridge could now have cracks.

Weld cracks are the latest in the litany of errors and construction problems regarding the new span that have steadily emerged in recent years. Suspect foundation concrete, rusted tendons in the skyway that connects the suspension span to Oakland, broken anchor rods, and corrosion on the main cable are among the issues uncovered by The Sacramento Bee and others.

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


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS:
Yes! Yes they do.

Now let's see what the "bullet train" project will be like.

1 posted on 06/22/2014 12:55:50 PM PDT by Second Amendment First
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To: Second Amendment First
Do hidden cracks imperil Bay Bridge?

Depends on whether they imperil certain politicians, I suppose.

2 posted on 06/22/2014 1:00:16 PM PDT by Steely Tom (How do you feel about robbing Peter's robot?)
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To: Second Amendment First

Crack-pot politicians found away around the crack rule. But I’ve got this feeling it will bite them on the a$$.


3 posted on 06/22/2014 1:02:07 PM PDT by sr4402
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To: Second Amendment First
The decision to leave cracks in place was not an easy one, according to Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and head of an oversight panel established by the state Legislature for the project. But it was the right choice, he said, given the urgency to replace the old, unsafe span before a major earthquake.

Meaning: "We have to spend all this money quickly to build a new, unsafe span before a major earthquake."

4 posted on 06/22/2014 1:03:25 PM PDT by Second Amendment First
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To: Second Amendment First

Imagine what your car would look like over time if there were tiny cracks in the spotwelds that hold the small parts sub-assemblies to the main body panels.......LOL!


5 posted on 06/22/2014 1:06:44 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (By now, everyone should know that you shoot a zombie in the head. Don't try to reason with them...)
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To: Second Amendment First

So costs do trump engineering?


6 posted on 06/22/2014 1:07:17 PM PDT by umgud (I couldn't understand why the ball kept getting bigger......... then it hit me.)
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To: Second Amendment First
They hired a Chinese company and got substandard work?

Say it isn't so!

No convince me it's not a Chinese company closely, intimately, incestuously associated with Diane Feinstein's hubby...

7 posted on 06/22/2014 1:11:47 PM PDT by null and void (In this war, the front line is at your front door...)
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To: Second Amendment First

“Fracture-critical bridges can break, because some of their parts lack redundancy or backup.”

Isn’t that called “bad architecture”?


8 posted on 06/22/2014 1:13:11 PM PDT by PastorBooks
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To: umgud
So costs do trump engineering?

Often they do, in my experience.

But that's no where near as dangerous as when politics trumps engineering...

9 posted on 06/22/2014 1:13:45 PM PDT by null and void (In this war, the front line is at your front door...)
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To: Second Amendment First

So I guess structural welding is another one of those “unskilled” jobs we shouldn’t pay Americans to do. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.


10 posted on 06/22/2014 1:15:51 PM PDT by Trod Upon (Every penny given to film and TV media companies goes right into enemy coffers. Starve them out!)
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To: null and void

Diane Feinstein, the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees?

Shirley you jest.


11 posted on 06/22/2014 1:16:01 PM PDT by Second Amendment First
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To: null and void
But that's no where near as dangerous as when politics trumps engineering...

And wait till you see what happens when politics trumps medical care.

12 posted on 06/22/2014 1:17:15 PM PDT by Steely Tom (How do you feel about robbing Peter's robot?)
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To: Second Amendment First

I’m not jesting, and stop calling me Surely...


13 posted on 06/22/2014 1:17:47 PM PDT by null and void (In this war, the front line is at your front door...)
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To: PastorBooks

That’s called democrat governance.


14 posted on 06/22/2014 1:17:54 PM PDT by Second Amendment First
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To: Steely Tom

Already have. As a military dependent, I was raise under socialized medicine right here in the good ol’ USofA...


15 posted on 06/22/2014 1:19:55 PM PDT by null and void (In this war, the front line is at your front door...)
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To: PastorBooks

There are always key elements that must not fail. Those elements have to be engineered and manufactured to have the margins necessary cover all the known possibilities. It is true for a building, a car and an airplane.

The engineers that designed the bridge are the ones who should approve or disapprove the welding. Since the welds are cracked from the start - I would think that’s a big red flag...


16 posted on 06/22/2014 1:22:39 PM PDT by DB
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To: umgud

Engineering is always a compromise between cost and function. Reliability falls under function...


17 posted on 06/22/2014 1:25:03 PM PDT by DB
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To: umgud

Its a balance, without money the engineers wouldn’t have anything to build.


18 posted on 06/22/2014 1:29:31 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Trod Upon
In one case, a document states a “ZPMC unqualified welder” was found working, and “when questioned, ran from the shop.”

Wonder why?

19 posted on 06/22/2014 1:31:48 PM PDT by Second Amendment First
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To: Steely Tom

“”And wait till you see what happens when politics trumps medical care.””

They will do the same thing with health-care, import lesser quality doctors cause the will work for cheap, just like these chinese welders.

I just dealt with hospital staff at a local hospital, and fully 30% of the doctors (not just staff) use english as a second language. To say they were barely competent in their native language is being generous.

Our next generation is so screwed.


20 posted on 06/22/2014 1:32:37 PM PDT by wrench
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To: umgud
So costs do trump engineering?

Costs always dictate engineering. All the engineering I ever did had cost limitations.

21 posted on 06/22/2014 1:37:39 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Second Amendment First

They probably asked the “highly regarded expert” -(sounds like “top men” from Raiders of the Lost Ark) whether or not the cracked welds would at least hold until they are retired and gone, and he replied, “sure”, so they let it go as is.

When there is an eventual disaster, it will be blamed on evil tea party zealots who will be said to have strangled the government for funding.


22 posted on 06/22/2014 1:49:55 PM PDT by TheGipperWasRight
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To: PastorBooks

Lack of redundancy caused the Minneapolis I35W bridge collapse. We were told then that modern bridges were designed with plenty of redundancy.

I’d be interested to understand why the Chinese had such trouble making decent welds.


23 posted on 06/22/2014 1:51:28 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Second Amendment First

Remember the “rule of relevance”. It’s only relevant if it could affect or affects you and your family. Cracks in the welds of a bridge in Queer City are not relevant to me and my family here in Texas. Now if you live in Queer City or the surrounding area it might concern you or even render you zombie-like with fear .... but hey, that’s life in the fast lane for you.


24 posted on 06/22/2014 1:56:45 PM PDT by RetiredTexasVet (Surgeon General Warning: Operation of Government Motors vehicles may be hazardous to your health)
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To: Second Amendment First

Made in China


25 posted on 06/22/2014 2:03:16 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi - Revolution is a'brewin!!!)
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To: Second Amendment First

Are small cracks now allowed for pipelines in California?

A few hairline cracks that should be OK?

How about some wagon tracks on the x-rays? They never hurt anybody!


26 posted on 06/22/2014 2:03:41 PM PDT by DUMBGRUNT
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To: Second Amendment First

None of them use the bridge so what do they care!


27 posted on 06/22/2014 2:07:51 PM PDT by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will. They ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: Second Amendment First

That bridge is a cheap, imitation of an American product. ..


28 posted on 06/22/2014 2:10:59 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: Second Amendment First; null and void

Stop calling him Shirley. ...


29 posted on 06/22/2014 2:13:21 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: null and void
They hired a Chinese company and got substandard work?

It is so. But you can't just blame the Chinese. CalTrans did a lot of stupid things. For instance, the architect specified placing caulk in channels underneath where side barrier rails would be placed and bolted down. CalTrans decided to bolt down the side barrier rails, and then lay caulk at the sides where the barrier meets the surface. So which method is a better moisture-resistant way to go? Sure enough, the caulk lifted and rainwater got under the barriers into the steel infrastructure inside the concrete. Now the steel is corroding inside the concrete, with no way to repair it bar tearing down the bridge and starting over. Imagine all those substandard welds exposed to trapped water inside the infrastructure. This is due to American substandard work by CalTrans.

30 posted on 06/22/2014 2:17:37 PM PDT by roadcat
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To: Second Amendment First

To paraphrase Animal Mother, “Better California than Texas”.


31 posted on 06/22/2014 2:26:41 PM PDT by House Atreides
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To: Second Amendment First

And fortunately, I will never be on that bridge.

Kaliforncatia.... you get the goobermint [corruption] you deserve.


32 posted on 06/22/2014 2:33:31 PM PDT by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: Second Amendment First
To heck with the taxes, don't forget about the money collected from tolls. If the bridge is in that bad of shape where did the money go? People who commute across the bridge to get to work pay through the nose at $6.00 per crossing.

"In fiscal year 2011-12, approximately 123.67 million vehicles crossed the seven state-owned toll bridges in the Bay Area, generating approximately $642 million in total toll revenues — including $139 million in base toll revenues, $116 million in Regional Measure 2 revenues and $387 million in seismic retrofit surcharge revenues."

$669,954,595 collected in fiscal 2012-2013

Taken directly from the Bay Area Toll Authority website

33 posted on 06/22/2014 2:34:13 PM PDT by PatrioticRose
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To: Second Amendment First

California might learn a lesson here about quotas. The lesson being that while it may be ok to hire unqualified people based on their skin color or native language, you sure as heck better have ADULTS supervising their work. And, in most cases (not all, of course), those adults are WHITE and politicians there better learn to hold their noses and do this before they start seeing their bridges collapse.


34 posted on 06/22/2014 2:39:40 PM PDT by BobL
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To: Second Amendment First

This and the California High Speed Rail are art projects. They serve an aesthetic function. The useful infrastructure function could be accomplished by a much cheaper project, or by doing nothing at all.


35 posted on 06/22/2014 2:49:48 PM PDT by Haiku Guy (Health Care Haiku: If You Have a Right / To the Labor I Provide / I Must Be Your Slave)
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To: Second Amendment First

I drove across that bridge last time I was in the Bay Area, but I think I’ll stick to the other bridges (San Mateo/Dumbarton) or just take HW 237 from now on.


36 posted on 06/22/2014 4:04:58 PM PDT by Disambiguator (#cornedbeef)
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To: Disambiguator
The Bee examined more than 100,000 pages of construction records, research studies, meeting minutes and memos...

Yeah, I bet they did. Using 20# copy paper, that's a stack 33 ft. high. Journalists don't have a reputation for working all that hard (unless they're trying to hang a Republican).

I have to remind my elderly mother not to listen to medical advice given by journalists. Those here unschooled in strength of materials should also heed.

Even stupid people should be capable of understanding the sensational (or truly ignorant) intent of citing an inspection report about an unqualified tack welder. Hint: they don't tell you what the disposition was. Prediction: the corrective action was to remove and replace the weld. Standard. Done every day. No need to change your commute route. In fact, that shows the system worked.

Lesson: if you ever hear of a major project that had zero negative inspection results, that's the one to avoid.

Sounds like this academic engineer lost the argument and ran to the media. Fact is, nobody knows exactly how a bridge will react in an earthquake. His is just another theory - but it sounds all scary to the unwashed masses (and, of course, the media). If perfect knowledge is the standard, we must close all existing bridges and never build another.

37 posted on 06/22/2014 7:14:51 PM PDT by FirstFlaBn
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To: FirstFlaBn

I lived in the Bay Area back in October of ‘89, and I saw what happened to the bridge back then.


38 posted on 06/22/2014 7:27:20 PM PDT by Disambiguator (#cornedbeef)
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To: Second Amendment First

The Chinese firm hired to build the roadway routinely produced cracked welds that proved difficult to fix.


That should have only happened once, not routinely. Someone was being bribed.


39 posted on 06/22/2014 7:48:45 PM PDT by minnesota_bound
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To: Hot Tabasco
Imagine what your car would look like over time if there were tiny cracks in the spotwelds that hold the small parts sub-assemblies to the main body panels....

A GM product???

40 posted on 06/23/2014 11:32:40 AM PDT by BlueMondaySkipper (Involuntarily subsidizing the parasite class since 1981)
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To: DManA
I’d be interested to understand why the Chinese had such trouble making decent welds.

Probably hard to weld the crappy Chinese steel using the crappy Chinese welding equipment.

41 posted on 06/23/2014 11:36:19 AM PDT by BlueMondaySkipper (Involuntarily subsidizing the parasite class since 1981)
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To: umgud

“So costs do trump engineering?”

Always, 100% of the time. Petty corporate politics the other 100% of the time. :)


42 posted on 06/23/2014 12:17:12 PM PDT by CodeToad (Arm Up! They Are!)
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To: umgud
So costs do trump engineering?

In this case, opening the bridge by Labor Day last year was most important, otherwise the construction company would lose its bonus for being on schedule.

Cracks or no cracks, good rods or bad rods, the local government made sure that American Bridge/Fluor Enterprises still got its $49 million in bonuses.

-PJ

43 posted on 06/23/2014 12:38:25 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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