Tuesday, March 3, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Report: Secrecy enveloped Bay Bridge construction

By
From page A5 | August 01, 2014 |

SACRAMENTO — Senior officials who oversaw construction of the $6.5 billion eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge repeatedly and deliberately brushed off criticism about construction problems and sought to keep information secret as part of an “institutionalized, if not malicious, lack of transparency in the project,” a state Senate investigative report released Thursday found.

The 64-page report, commissioned by the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing in the wake of numerous media reports about construction flaws, cost overruns and delays, found a pattern of mismanagement among Caltrans officials and systemic failures in the way problems were reported and tracked.

However, none of the dozens of people interviewed has said the bridge is unsafe, the report by journalist Roland De Wolk said.

“Even the most aggrieved critics involved in the construction say they have confidence in the integrity of the structure,” the report said, though many believe “the officially estimated 150-year lifespan is exaggerated.”

“It is the finding of this investigation that those involved in overseeing the project have attempted to keep many serious allegations quiet, rather than dealing with them in an open, businesslike manner,” the report said.

Most of the serious criticisms of the project were revealed by the news media rather than by government agencies.

Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty called the report flawed and said it failed to incorporate many of the corrections his agency pointed out after a draft was discussed at a hearing in January.

“This report rehashes issues that have been investigated, reviewed and in many cases resolved,” Dougherty said in a written statement. “Any concerns about welds, anchor rods, tendons, leaks, and foundation testing have been investigated, in many cases by outside experts, and resolved.”

It came the same day a separate review by an independent panel of engineers found the engineering and design work met safety standards.

Dougherty acknowledged that the process was too secretive, partly because the legislation that created the toll bridge oversight committee for the bridge exempted it from California’s open meetings law.

In retrospect that was a mistake, Dougherty said in an interview.

The report said there was an unspoken directive not to document problems in writing. Dougherty said that while he was not present for many of the verbal conversations referenced in the report, in his 24 years at the agency, “I have never run into this non-documentation.”

“I would hope that I’d be able to say that it’s not the culture of the agency,” he said, adding that officials have specific requirements about daily reports and how to document them. “There should not be any direction not to document any issues.”

The report also affirms reporting by the Sacramento Bee that Caltrans knowingly accepted potentially hazardous work by a Chinese firm that welded most of the new roadway and tower.

Numerous inspectors, both private contractors and Caltrans employees, said they raised red flags about cracked welds on deck panels. A mandatory state audit found the Shanghai company was inexperienced and its employees were not well trained.

One contractor assigned to inspect the panels said he was admonished by senior Caltrans officials for being “too rigorous.” His firm’s contract was not renewed when it expired in 2008. The report concluded it was one of numerous instances in which people and companies were punished for pointing out problems.

The report, which will be discussed at an Aug. 5 hearing of the Transportation and Housing Committee, also found:

— Objections that would further delay the project were rejected.

— The state has spent $13 million on a database system designed to track bridge welding and address an outdated record-keeping system, but the system is still not available after seven years.

— Some engineers were told to send critical emails without a subject line so they would be harder to retrieve in a public-records request.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • JimboAugust 01, 2014 - 3:50 pm

    150 year lifespan my eye. More like it will last until the next big quake when they will be doing repairs just like on the old bridge but probably more difficult because the steel being welded is not all out in the open for easy access.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
 
Fairfield police seek help to ID injured bicyclist

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5

 
New receiver for Parkway Gardens wins praise

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

College looks at Measure Q project changes

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
Robots, raucous businessmen set to arrive on big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Bridge work to shut down Highway 12 east of Rio Vista

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Caltrans reschedules work on J-Mack Ferry

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Highway 12 Association to meet this month

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
State schedules work on Highway 12

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

.

US / World

GOP vote to endorse gay group is momentous but incremental

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lawmaker billed taxpayers for private plane to football game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Netanyahu assails Iran deal, touts US-Israel ties

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
‘Naty’ Revuelta, who had daughter with Fidel Castro, dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pakistan police arrest parents refusing kids’ polio vaccine

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UN warns against complacency as Ebola fight enters new phase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Iraq launches operation to retake Tikrit from Islamic State

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Woman with slain Putin critic says she didn’t see his killer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Storms bring up nearly 3 feet of snow to Lake Tahoe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
4 people killed, 4 others injured in California car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

California court rules against sex offender law application

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
State water officials announce modest supplies amid drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Federal study: Foster kids struggle to get health screenings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Mom convicted of killing son, 5, by poisoning him with salt

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Well-liked photo teacher found dead in California classroom

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Budget standoff leaves California college hopefuls in limbo

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Georgia woman seeks to delay death for husband’s murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Police chief: Man killed on Skid Row reached for gun

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Military judge orders overseer of Gitmo cases replaced

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Snowy Boston starts removing parking-space savers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Israelis worry about inequality, not Iran

By Daniel Gordis | From Page: A11

 
Editorial cartoon: March 3-4, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Minority outreach that works

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A11

 
State GOP gathers, celebrates modest successes

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

.

Living

.

Entertainment

Sara Gilbert welcomes baby boy with wife Linda Perry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Judge: CeeLo Green in compliance with probation in drug case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Clive Owen to make Broadway debut in Pinter’s ‘Old Times’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Television’s ‘Judge Judy’ staying in session

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Pop channel bringing Daytime Emmys ceremony back to TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Julianne and Derek Hough to hit the road again this summer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Ming-Na Wen: ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ role makes me a cool mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
TVGrid March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

NASCAR falls flat in follow-up to Daytona 500

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Mayweather and Pacquiao to meet only once before fight week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Michael Schumacher’s son to drive in Formula 4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
UConn still No. 1 in women’s basketball poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Kurt Busch to follow guidelines toward NASCAR reinstatement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Harrington wins the Honda Classic in a playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Catholic school apologizes for racial taunting of hoops foes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Curt Schilling fires back after offensive Twitter posts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Wild week leads to changes across AP Top 25 poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
New Browns QB McCown barely knows Manziel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Jordan, other NBA owners join Forbes’ billionaire list

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NFL salary cap increases $10 million to top $143 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

A’s switch-pitcher hopes to find spot with Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sharks trade Desjardins to Blackhawks for Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

.

Business

Buffett declines to clarify plan to eventually replace him

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US consumer spending, adjusted for inflation, rose in Jan.

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Ikea launches furniture with inbuilt wireless chargers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Google, Facebook update contrasting plans to connect world

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Minimum wage in 1 Oakland jumps

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
PayPal to acquire mobile wallet provider Paydient

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Costco strikes credit card deal with Citi, Visa

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
Bill Gates repeats at top of Forbes’ list of billionaires

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

HP’s big deal: Tech giant buys Aruba Networks for $2.7B

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Next Google Maps adventure: Soaring through Amazon jungle

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Dot-com deja vu: Nasdaq tops 5,000, approaching record high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Wizard of Id March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Frank and Ernest March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Dilbert March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Crossword March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

B.C. March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4