The Bee's ongoing investigation into California Department of Transportation testing and construction has prompted changes in how state government safeguards bridges and roadways.
Caltrans hired a single independent corrosion expert, professor Alberto Sagues of the University of South Florida, to review the adequacy of the agency's study of skyway tendons. A Bee comparison of that study against the construction record shows that Caltrans did not give Sagues a complete and accurate accounting. Other corrosion experts said the discrepancies cast doubt on Sagues' conclusions.
Three samples from inspector's diaries.
Joel Sayre, a former spokesman for the Bay Bridge project, brought concerns about corroded skyway tendons to The Bee in November 2011.
The Sacramento Bee spoke with numerous U.S. and European experts about tendon corrosion and related construction issues. The following summarizes some of the engineering and professional credentials of those quoted or referenced.
Fundraising for the opening bash planned for the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge scheduled for the Labor Day weekend has been suspended. That's the clearest indication yet that the new span's cracked bolts and other problems pose serious risks to a safe opening of this bridge.
In an investigation released Thursday, the Bureau of State Audits sharply criticized the California Department of Transportation for numerous lapses in managing a unit that tests foundations of bridges and other freeway structures to verify their soundness and safety.
The Brown administration said Friday it has ordered heightened review of future state public relations contracts, after the revelation of a nearly $10 million deal officials said they knew nothing about.
As he came to the defense of Caltrans recently, Gov. Jerry Brown derided The Bee for having the audacity to question testing of the foundation for the new $6.5 billion Bay Bridge and other vital links in California's transportation system.
The Bee first reported last November that a Caltrans employee falsified data on radiation tests of foundations of freeway structures, and conducted tests on foundation piles of the new Bay Bridge main tower foundation without ensuring the accuracy of his equipment. Since then Caltrans has responded to concerns about the gamma-gamma radiation tests and complementary sonic-wave tests in sometimes contradictory ways:
View of a map of bridges throughout the state that are being investigated for irregularities in the test data for their foundations.
Gov. Jerry Brown defended the state's construction and oversight of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Thursday, saying he's been told that a Bee investigation raising questions about the bridge's structural integrity "borders on malpractice."
The Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday approved an amended version of Senate Bill 878 that would order the California Transportation Commission to examine whether an inspector general should be established to oversee state transportation agencies.
The Sacramento Bee announced today that it rejected the request from the California Department of Transportation to retract a story raising questions about the structural integrity of a foundation of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
The California Senate Transportation Committee announced Tuesday that it will hold a public hearing on the use of expert advisers by the state Department of Transportation.
An expert engineering panel has concluded that the foundation of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge is safe and sound, according to its report released Friday.
Caltrans technician Duane Wiles, who falsified test data on the structural integrity of freeway structures, was sanctioned by the state Department of Transportation in 2000 for numerous serious workplace violations, including "inexcusable neglect of duty," yet was retained as a technician until last month.
The Caltrans worker fired last month following allegations that he falsified structural integrity test reports was booted from state service before, but a state board overturned that firing after determining it resulted from "a one-time lapse in judgment."
At a legislative oversight hearing Wednesday, California Department of Transportation officials said that they were working to rectify management and data-security problems that have called into question the reliability of the new Bay Bridge and other freeway structures.
The chairman of the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on Tuesday called on Attorney General Kamala Harris to open a criminal investigation into the practices of the California Department of Transportation's Foundation Testing Branch.
Caltrans released thousands of pages of new information Monday about data fabrications and other problems in its Foundation Testing Branch, a unit that examines the underground supports for bridges and other freeway structures in California.
A few months back Charles Piller and his editor, Scott Lebar, wandered into my office to tell me Piller had discovered concerns about the safety testing on the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
A state oversight committee announced Tuesday that it had requested a formal review of the foundation of the new Bay Bridge tower by the state's Seismic Safety Peer Review Panel.
Inspecting bridges and freeways in quake-prone California is arguably the most crucial work Caltrans performs. These inspections not only safeguard lives now and in the immediate future, but for an engineering project like the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, they provide a safety factor that is expected to last for decades.
Caltrans fired two employees who were implicated in problems involving the tests of the Bay Bridge and other freeway structures throughout California, as reported in a Bee investigation Sunday.
Caltrans tests the underground steel and concrete supports piles that support bridges and other freeway structures to ensure against construction defects. Use our interactive map to view some of the structures that have suspect test records.
At least two agencies have been investigating Caltrans' Foundation Testing Branch - whose technician, Duane Wiles, falsified bridge tests - for financial fraud.
The Sacramento Bee has rejected a request from Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty to retract its story raising questions about the structural integrity of a foundation of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Here is a fact check, reviewing point-by-point, the request received from Caltrans.
The Sacramento Bee has rejected a request from Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty to retract its story raising questions about the structural integrity of a foundation of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Here is a fact check of what The Bee believes to be the most crucial points made by Caltrans in its retraction request.