Video: Bay Bridge repairs continue

  1. Closed captioning of: Bay Bridge repairs continue

    >>> nothing burieine print. music plays when it comes to things you care about, leave nothing to chance travelers.

    >>> welcome back. in san francisco today, not too far from your old stomping ground, a nightmare for commuters. the bay bridge closed for the second straight day.

    >> i know. we don't have those bridges now as much as l.a. but the bridge connecting san francisco to oakland, this after 5,000 pounds of metal tumbled down on drivers below on tuesday. the work is being done along the clock to fix a cracked structural beam. they believe high wind caused the failure. that piece that's failed were parts that were repaired over labor day weekend . that wasn't too long ago. to get a better idea of the traffic nightmare, henry from "the san francisco chronicle " is on the phone. henry, i know you're not one of the 287,000 that cross every day, but overall in terms of the impact, what has that done, what kind of mess has that presented?

    >> well, alex, we're talking about for the folks that do have to commute into san francisco , they have to take a round-about way by taking one of three other bridges around the region. that might add an extra hour to two to three hours for their commute. folks like myself who can telecommute or work out of a branch office , obviously, that's very convenient for us. but we are talking about servers who are losing tips because they're getting to work late. we're talking about people who are wasting time idling in their cars elsewhere.

    >> so what are they doing? are they heading to the golden gate bridge , san mateo bridge , and what else?

    >> that's right. richmond bridge and dumbarton bridge . you can also take b.a.r.t. , which is, of course, the public transit system here. i myself do have to take b.a.r.t. this afternoon. i cannot drive into san francisco for a meeting i have to do. i'm taking part just like everybody else .

    >> how many people are packing into b.a.r.t. ?

    >> we expect today and yesterday to have record numbers of people on b.a.r.t. , more than the 405,000 people who took it back in september '08 during the previous record. so tons of people are jamming these trains and, of course, b.a.r.t. 's taking pains to make sure all of their trains are running on time.

    >> for anybody who doesn't know, b.a.r.t. is the bay area rapid transit system , the transit system that connects all of those areas. what about the fact this all happened as a result of work that was done over labor day that was supposed to close this? this is a 5,000 pound metal beam that comes down. it's like your worst nightmare if you're a commuter.

    >> that's right. there are a lot of -- a lot of commuters are upset they probably didn't do it right the first time. we're talking about a very quick fix. we recall the contractors who came in during the labor day weekend , they were actually earlier than scheduled. they finished their work earlier than scheduled. the question now is was it shabbier than what we all thought it to be. they are blaming winds. we have had high winds . but some other engineers are questioning the official caltrans explanation. they are saying it's normal wear and tear. we have cars vibrating on this bridge repeatedly. over 60 years, have you to have a better fix

updated 10/30/2009 6:09:19 PM ET 2009-10-30T22:09:19

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will likely stay closed through the weekend, state transportation officials said Friday, and they are unsure if it will open in time for Monday's morning commute.

Construction crews on Friday continued a third full day of emergency repairs but had to stop work while waiting for more materials to be ordered.

State Transportation Department spokesman Bart Ney said the goal for reopening is Monday, but he could not ensure that will happen.

Crews are furiously working to fix a section of the bridge where two rods and a crossbar broke and fell onto westbound lanes Tuesday. The pieces were part of major repairs done over Labor Day weekend.

Repair crews have been trying to install four new steel rods. The rods will then undergo strenuous testing, which likely will involve inspectors waiting for windy conditions to determine how the repairs will hold up.

Evening rush
Meanwhile, Bay Area commuters struggled a third day Friday without arguably the region's most important traffic artery.

Ridership on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system has risen dramatically since Tuesday's accident. More than 437,000 people rode the system Wednesday, a single-day record in BART's 37-year history.

Officials say strong winds likely played a role in the bridge failure, heightening concerns by some experts about the integrity of the repair and the bridge's safety in an earthquake. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused a 50-foot section of the bridge's upper deck to collapse onto the deck below.

Scientists in 2008 said there is a 63 percent probability of a quake similar to the 1989 temblor in the Bay Area over the next 30 years.

The main contractor on the repairs that failed, C.C. Meyers Inc., stood by its work, but deferred to Caltrans to determine why the pieces failed, spokeswoman Beth Ruyak said.

Bonner said commuters shouldn't be worried about the bridge's overall structure.

"There's no significant risk of catastrophic failure of the bridge itself," he said.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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