The quick fix to the much discussed bolt problem on the new span of the Bay Bridge was completed over the weekend, and now we're all set for a September 3 opening of the bridge. Also, did we mention that the contractor is getting a $20 million bonus for being able to finish on time? Yes, bad steel, cracked bolts and all: $20 million bonus.
The company overseeing the construction, the joint venture American Bridge/Fluor, already got a $16 million bonus last year for reaching milestones on time, as Matier & Ross report. Had the bridge opening been delayed, as discussed, until December, the company would have faced fines of $100,000 per day after November 30, according to their contract.
Last weekend's work involved the installation of 3,500-pounds in steel shims that allow the bridge's seismic gear to move during an earthquake, and they will be replaced in November/December by the permanent steel saddles that will hold the cracked bolts in place and allegedly solve the original issue for good.
Look for the whole bridge to shut down at 8 p.m. next Wednesday, August 28, and reopen five days later, at 5 a.m. on September 3, with traffic fully directed onto the new span. After that, it will be a few months of watching them junk the old span whilst driving on the new one.