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Keyword: baybridge

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  • Outsiders to test Bay Bridge welds

    04/20/2005 4:22:49 PM PDT · by SmithL · 3 replies · 327+ views
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 4/20/5 | Mike Adamick
    Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration hired independent welding inspectors Monday to examine claims of shoddy and unsafe work on the eastern span of the new Bay Bridge. Mike Mayes, president of Mayes Testing Engineers of Everett, Wash., and metals consultant Roy Teal of Albany, N.Y., visited the site Tuesday for "confined space training" to access welding locations deep inside bridge foundations. The two, along with state and federal inspectors, were scheduled to examine some welds to determine what resources would be needed for a more thorough review, according to Caltrans. The state Department of Transportation has declined to offer...
  • CA: Bridge builder's new flack a true PR virtuoso (Chris Lehane)

    04/16/2005 10:41:13 AM PDT · by NormsRevenge · 6 replies · 3,288+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 4/16/05 | Josh Richman
    The Bay Bridge retrofit contractor's new spokesman is a political public-relations heavy hitter with a national reputation for digging up dirt on embattled clients' critics. Chris Lehane, 37, helped the Clinton White House spin the Whitewater investigation, spoke for Vice President Al Gore on the 2000 presidential campaign trail and advised former Gov. Gray Davis during the 2001 energy crisis and 2002 gubernatorial campaign. Now he's working for KFM Joint Venture, the contractor building the Bay Bridge's new eastern span. The Oakland Tribune has reported welders' accusations that many of the project's welds are defective and that unsafe working conditions...
  • [CA Attorney General] Lockyer's office joins bridge-weld fray

    04/16/2005 10:16:54 AM PDT · by SmithL · 1 replies · 273+ views
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 4/16/5 | Mike Adamick
    The state Attorney General's Office announced Friday it is investigating allegations of faulty welds on the new Bay Bridge's skyway section, adding another layer of controversy to a project already under the glare of an FBI inquiry. "What we're investigating is whether the contractor or others made misrepresentations or engaged in other deception to obtain taxpayer money," said Tom Dresslar, spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Although the FBI has begun a criminal investigation into allegations that welders were told by contractor KFM to conceal defects to speed up construction, Lockyer's office has opened a civil probe to win back...
  • BAY BRIDGE: Inspection turns up no faulty welds-Probe follows claims of slipshod work

    04/14/2005 1:00:47 PM PDT · by SmithL · 9 replies · 421+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 4/14/5 | Jim Herron Zamora
    Federal and state inspectors found no problems in the first tests of Bay Bridge welds checked in response to allegations last week that welders working on the new span routinely covered up faulty work under pressure from their bosses to get the job done quickly, officials said Wednesday. Using sophisticated magnetic particle testing, inspectors from the Federal Highway Administration and contractors hired by the California Department of Transportation checked five welds in one pier at the base of a column that will support a portion of the elevated skyway, Caltrans said. "It was one box that is still accessible," said...
  • Caltrans chief stands by welds [of Oakland-Bay Bridge]

    04/09/2005 10:40:03 AM PDT · by SmithL · 3 replies · 287+ views
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 4/9/5 | Mike Adamick
    While outside experts said faulty welds could cost billions of dollars to repair, Caltrans chief Will Kempton on Friday stood solidly behind the department's quality control system for welding work on the new Bay Bridge. "We are confident the bridge is safe," Kempton said at the new span's construction nerve center in Oakland a day after he halted all concrete work to examine the suspect welding following allegations of inferior work on the new eastern span. Kempton didn't offer a time frame or cost estimates for new inspections, saying only Caltrans and federal highway engineers would quickly investigate, X-ray and...
  • CA: Injury record questioned - Nearly perfect safety reports cast doubt on accuracy (Bay Bridge)

    04/08/2005 4:20:26 PM PDT · by calcowgirl · 1 replies · 329+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 04/07/2005 | Jill Tucker and Sean Holstege
    On paper, the new Bay Bridge construction project boasts one of the best safety records in the country for such a massive and typically dangerous undertaking. In fact, according to those records, building the new eastern span is five times safer than the average heavy construction project - even safer than working in your average flower shop. The agency enforcing state safety standards on the bridge work site sees no problem with those numbers. Health and safety experts, however, say they may be too good to be true and warrant examination. Allegations from past and current workers on the project...
  • Bay span work curtailed -- more feds called in

    04/08/2005 10:27:29 AM PDT · by SmithL · 2 replies · 344+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 4/8/5 | Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross
    With the FBI investigating allegations of faulty welds on the new Bay Bridge span, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office ordered crews Thursday to stop pouring concrete on the last four foundations under construction until state and federal inspectors re-examine some of the work in question. At the same time, Sunne McPeak, the governor's secretary of business, housing and transportation, called in the Federal Highway Administration to start its own safety review -- a process that could take months. "It's not lost on us that we have to move quickly on a review of the welds,'' said Mark DeSio, spokesman for both...
  • CA: Scrutiny halts bridge work (Bay Bridge brouhaha heats up..)

    04/08/2005 9:50:19 AM PDT · by NormsRevenge · 24 replies · 556+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 4/8/05 | Sean Holstege and Steve Geissinger
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger became the highest-level official to call for investigations of Bay Bridge construction as Caltrans ordered a halt to a welding operation that is part of an FBI fraud probe that widened Thursday. Caltrans Director Will Kempton ordered Bay Bridge construction team KFM Joint Venture to cancel a concrete pour over four of the remaining footings where workers allege shoddy welds are being done. Kempton also called for a reinspection of all the welds that would have been buried by the pour, even as the state agency and KFM insist that the nearly 5,000 welds were done properly...
  • CA: FBI probes bridge welds (Bay Bridge, allegations made by 15 welders alleging bad welds)

    04/06/2005 9:17:01 AM PDT · by NormsRevenge · 29 replies · 1,351+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 4/6/05 | Sean Holstege and Jill Tucker
    The new Bay Bridge is riddled with defective welds, 15 welders told the Oakland Tribune in a nine-month investigation - allegations that could lead to criminal fraud charges. The welders' claims have prompted an FBI investigation. In the worst case, the federal probe could lead to tearing apart the bridge to see if it is structurally sound or needs to be rebuilt. The FBI began investigating allegations in February that welders were "encouraged or instructed to save time by producing substandard welds," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark Mershon of the bureau's San Francisco division. The bureau is investigating...
  • CA: Bridge memos lead to top - Documents: Governor's office knew money short before bid

    03/24/2005 8:27:32 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 320+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 3/24/05 | Sean Holstege
    The governor's office knew California could not afford to finish the Bay Bridge reconstruction at least one month before Caltrans opened bids on the remaining tower. Newly released Caltrans documents, obtained by the Oakland Tribune after a protracted public records request, show for the first time that top state officials were briefed in April 2004 that the bridge would cost more than expected. The memos throw the official line into question. Until now, the Schwarzenegger team had insisted — through heated state Senate investigative hearings earlier this year — that Caltrans sat on a secret April report that showed California...
  • CA: Bridge plan gets voters involved (digging deep into future with a large seismic bond)

    02/24/2005 8:54:43 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 13 replies · 332+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 2/24/05 | Steve Geissinger
    SACRAMENTO — State Senate leader Don Perata officially unveiled legislation Wednesday to fund huge Bay Bridge cost overruns and other seismic-retrofit needs throughout the state with a multibillion-dollar bond that would go to voters. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has indicated he would consider Perata's Essential Facilities Seismic Retrofit Bond. Both developments, foreshadowed by the Oakland Tribune last month, could lead to the bond's being placed on the expected November special election ballot. But at the same time, the Republican governor has told the Democratic Senate president pro tem from Oakland that he is still interested in replacing the single-tower suspension span...
  • CA: Auditor demands Caltrans answers - Agency threatened with subpoenas ...

    02/16/2005 8:52:57 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 4 replies · 343+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 2/16/05 | Sean Holstege
    The state auditor is deepening her probe into why state transportation officials withheld vital Bay Bridge documents and is threatening subpoenas for the first time. In a letter sent Monday to state Transportation Secretary Sunne Wright McPeak, State Auditor Elaine Howle demanded an investigation into why an April 2004 Caltrans report was never turned over to her office. It showed Caltrans knew the bridge repair program had shattered the budget by $1 billion. "I first learned of this document's existence at the (Jan. 26 Senate Transportation) committee hearing. I am very disturbed by Caltrans' failure to provide the draft quarterly...
  • Financing the Bay Bridge

    02/04/2005 10:17:30 PM PST · by AVNevis · 7 replies · 415+ views
    One of the many controversies involving the Bay Bridge retro-fit fiasco is how to pay for it. Bay area representatives say the Bay Bridge is part of the state highway system and state taxpayers should pay. The Bay Bridge is, indeed, part of the state highway system. So why have local Bay-area governments been allowed all these years to assess tolls on the bridge to line their own pockets? The Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge were financed with revenue bonds financed by the tolls paid by users of those bridges. As originally envisioned, (and sold to the public)...
  • CA: Legislators blast away at Caltrans (Bay Bridge)

    02/02/2005 7:46:43 AM PST · by calcowgirl · 3 replies · 273+ views
    San Mateo County Times ^ | 02/02/2005 | Sean Holstege
    Legislators blast away at Caltrans Dem questions ditching tower; call raised for 'serious' look at bridge 'fiasco' SACRAMENTO — If the mythical Pandora were alive today, she'd be a state senator prying open the box Tuesday that locked away all the secrets of how the Bay Bridge reconstruction became what some are calling California's greatest fiasco of our times. The Senate Transportation Committee held seven hours of hearings into the mess, leaving the Democratic chairman saying he's heard enough and his Republican counterpart calling for a "serious investigation" of the Bay Area's decision in 1998 to build an elaborate tower...
  • CA: Caltrans officials make case for switching Bay Bridge design

    02/01/2005 5:48:28 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 6 replies · 720+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 2/1/05 | Terence Chea - AP
    SACRAMENTO (AP) - State transportation officials faced intense questioning Tuesday over their proposal to replace the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge with a structure that is less spectacular but presumably less expensive than the badly over-budget project currenty planned. Will Kempton, director of the California Department of Transportation, attempted to persuade skeptical lawmakers to scrap the approved design - a so-called single-tower suspension bridge - and instead complete the two-mile span with a towerless concrete skyway. "We need to get a seismically safe bridge built as soon as possible," Kempton told lawmakers at the Senate Transportation Committee...
  • CA: (Bay) Bridge tower to blame for soaring costs (Caltrans)

    02/01/2005 8:53:48 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 21 replies · 958+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 2/1/05 | Sean Holstege
    State transportation secretary Sunne Wright McPeak returns to the Capitol today to explain her thinking on the Bay Bridge reconstruction, but this time she'll be armed with a report of her own. The 68-page report, released Monday, shows that a team of outside consultants agrees with her: The tower design for the new eastern span is responsible for just over half of the $2.5 billion-cost increase last year. It's backed up by five academics from around the country and is the most detailed support yet for McPeak's decision to scrap the tower for a skyway. "We're very hopeful this information...
  • CA: Lawmakers grill Caltrans officials over troubled Bay Bridge

    01/26/2005 5:56:53 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 18 replies · 911+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 1/26/05 | Terence Chea - AP
    SACRAMENTO (AP) - Lawmakers grilled state transportation officials Wednesday over efforts to replace the seismically unsound eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, a multibillion-dollar project that has been plagued by delays, cost overruns and political infighting. Sunne Wright McPeak, secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, and Will Kempton, director of the California Department of Transportation, faced intense questioning about why costs for the Bay Bridge project have nearly doubled and why Caltrans officials waited so long to notify lawmakers. "People expect accountability," Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, said at the Senate Transportation Committee hearing. "We're not...
  • It's governor vs. Democrats in costly game of Bay Bridge tug-of-war

    01/26/2005 7:51:54 AM PST · by SmithL · 9 replies · 381+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 1/26/5 | Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's call for a redesign of the Bay Bridge's eastern span could mean putting the bridge's entire $3 billion funding package on hold for up to two more years. "It could be a long stall,'' if the governor digs in on his plan to drop the single-tower suspension bridge in favor of the freeway-on-stilts causeway, state Sen. Tom Torlakson said Tuesday. It could also mean leaving the controversial design issue hanging around the governor's neck just as he's facing re-election -- complicating the fight even further. Torlakson, D-Antioch, who chairs the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, and other...
  • CA: Report: Governor's Bay Bridge plan could end up costing more

    01/24/2005 8:42:11 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 12 replies · 861+ views
    Monterey Herald ^ | 1/24/05 | Steve Lawrence - AP
    SACRAMENTO - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt to save money by replacing the eastern span of the Bay Bridge with a towerless concrete skyway could end up costing more than the suspension bridge favored by local leaders, the legislative analyst said Monday. The analyst, the Legislature's adviser on budget matters, said the skyway could run into design and environmental problems that would add to its current estimated construction costs, which range from $800 million to $1.7 billion. The suspension bridge would be more complicated than the skyway and would cost $1.2 billion to $2.1 billion to build, according to current projections....
  • Hearings will probe Caltrans

    01/22/2005 11:46:21 AM PST · by SmithL · 7 replies · 264+ views
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 1/22/5 | Mike Adamick
    Lawmakers plan to lash Caltrans and the agency that oversees it in a series of hearings next week, berating top officials for concealing cost overruns on the $5.9 billion Bay Bridge replacement. But the fist-pounding has deeper implications for the state Department of Transportation because the hearings may well lead to a complete overhaul of how Caltrans manages major road projects throughout California. "We absolutely need reforms in terms of the management of big projects before we launch into a final solution and funding package," said state Sen. Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, chairman of the transportation committee for the Legislature's upper...