Editorial: Any accountability for Bay Bridge blunders?

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 8A
Last Modified: Saturday, Apr. 12, 2014 - 7:26 pm

An oversight committee for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has made the right call by delaying the opening of the bridge's new span, originally scheduled for Labor Day.

The extra time will give engineers a chance to retrofit 32 giant bolts that support the bridge's seismic safety equipment. The bolts cracked when tightened in March, a problem uncovered by The Bee and the San Francisco Chronicle.

The delay is hardly a perfect solution. It means motorists will continue to rely on an old span of the Bay Bridge that is vulnerable to earthquakes. But before the new span opens, the public needs full confidence that engineers have addressed safety concerns. That will be a challenge, given Caltrans' tendency to cover up problems instead of correcting them.

The delay by the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee means a decision on the new span won't come until December. In the meantime, will anyone in Caltrans be held accountable for this debacle?

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