The story of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge and its pesky, brittle bolts has finally reached the New York Times, and the most expensive infrastructure project in California's history is giving them some schadenfreude over there. They may have hurricanes, but we have earthquakes, and the blunders that led to us having to open a bridge that may or may not be able to withstand the earthquake it was designed to withstand appear to be giving them no shortage of pleasure back east.

As discussed earlier this week, two out of three civil engineering experts on a peer review panel gave a vote of confidence to the new span, cracked bolts or no, saying that it ought to be allowed to open because in any event the problem is "minuscule compared to the overall seismic safety of the new bridge." They argue that the new bridge is safer than the old span no matter what, and we should all just worry about the cracked bolts later, hopefully before the next earthquake.

The NYT version of things does not elaborate too much with new reporting, however they do have a nice info-graphic that explains the "saddle" solution that will eventually be used to hold the broken bolts and shear keys in place.

For the headline they went with some cheeky double entendre: "In California, Bolts May Hold Up a Bridge in More Ways Than One."

They quote Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, as saying the situation is "catastrophic" and "It is very unusual in bridge construction that you have an element of the structure fail at such a rate." And like the Contra Costa Times did before them, they get UC Berkeley metals guy Thomas Devine on the phone to voice his concern about the "saddle" solution, saying that there hasn't been time to adequately test the bolts and figure out the true cause of the problem yet.

Now will everyone just shut up about our shitty bridge that took fifteen years too many to get done and may still kill us all?


All previous Bay Bridge coverage on SFist.