Caltrans Ignored Bay Bridge Problems

June 10, 2014

A newspaper is reporting that the hiring of a Chinese company to fabricate key components of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge‘s eastern section ended up being a costly choice in terms of both dollars and confidence in the span’s structural integrity.

The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday that the California Department of Transportation picked Zhenhua Port Machinery to make the bridge’s new signature tower and roadway because officials thought the Chinese company could do the work faster and for $250 million less than the next lowest bidder.

The firm’s inexperience with U.S. construction rules became evident early on. But the Bee says that Caltrans paid the company millions as a speed incentive even as it spent hundreds of millions more to fix problems with the firm’s work.

Chief engineer Brian Maroney says Zhenhua produced excellent results.

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