Caltrans met behind closed doors today with state legislators today to discuss the progress of the steel saddle thing they're having fabricated in order to solve the Great Cracked Bolt Debacle of 2013, and they announced that the contractor's schedule is now looking at a December opening of the new eastern span.

The meeting today was a presentation by the Toll Bridge Oversight Committee of findings about the cause of the cracking in 32 steel bolts that have become the obsession of all local news media for the last several months. The report will also include an update on how long it will take to fix the problem.

There was a delay in getting final designs to the fabricator, which is on Mare Island in Vallejo, and an anonymous source told the Chronicle that this means they may not have the things done in time. Of course, Governor Brown and everyone involved has been pushing for the September 3 opening ot go forward as planned, and we're sure the pressure will be on to get this saddle thing made, and saddled on there.

Caltrans will announce their latest estimate for the bridge's opening at a meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in Oakland on Wednesday.

UC Berkeley metallurgist Tom Devine continues to be the doomsayer of this whole thing, saying, "If [the bridge] has superior performance over time, that will be fortuitous, not a consequence of good engineering."

Update: Though the Toll Bridge Oversight Committee won't commit to a definite opening date, they've just gone public with the results of the 102-page report, which blames designers T.Y.Lin International/Moffat & Nichol Design Joint Venture and bridge builder American Bridge/Fluor Joint Venture for the cracked-bolt debacle, but says the bridge can open without replacing the 2,000 steel bolts that are already installed. They are delaying the opening of the eastern span until December 10 at the earliest, based on the contractor's latest estimate, but they will not commit to a definite date saying it will be up to the committee to decide on the date. [SFGate]