SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The opening of the new $6.4 billion eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has been pushed back to at least December to give work crews more time to fix faulty steel rods, transportation officials said on Monday.
The bridge, which consists of a western span connecting downtown San Francisco to Yerba Buena Island and an eastern span connecting the island to Oakland, had been scheduled to open over Labor Day weekend in September.
However, authorities found structural problems with the newly built eastern span, under construction after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused the fatal collapse of the upper deck onto a lower deck.
Officials said 32 of more than 2,300 steel rods used to help the newly built 2.2-mile eastern span withstand earthquakes were found in March to have broken.
A retrofit, estimated to cost between $5 million and $10 million, was expected to be completed by December 10, said the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, which oversees construction.
"TBPOC will select a bridge opening date based upon actual completion of the east pier retrofit work, weather windows, traffic impacts and other information as it becomes available," the committee said in a statement.
(Reporting by Jim Christie; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Andrew Hay)
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