A Bridge Over Troubled Water and Politics?

Commenter Fred Dobbs had much of this in the Open Thread, June 19th at 9:33AM. I highjacked it, added more up to date detail, and an opinion. I did find it interesting.

Somewhere there is a print(s) and BOM for this structure along with specifications (which were alluded to as BD vs BC steel) for materials along with a comparison of structural strength necessary. The Chinese did not build this on a whim.

And why Chinese steel and components?

Bay Bridge spokesperson Bart Ney disputed the accuracy of Paul’s claims and said 70 percent of the steel being used for the new span is fabricated in America. Ney said foreign companies are used out of necessity for some parts of the project.

“The primary contractor chose China to deliver those parts because the capacity is not here in the United States right now. There was no American fabricator that would build those specific parts of the bridge,”

Manufacturing Group Protests Chinese Steel Used in Bay Bridge Construction, KPIX CBS


Bridge Comes to San Francisco With a Made-in-China Label

June 25, 2011

SHANGHAI — Talk about outsourcing. At a sprawling manufacturing complex here, hundreds of Chinese laborers are now completing work on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

Next month, the last four of more than two dozen giant steel modules — each with a roadbed segment about half the size of a football field — will be loaded onto a huge ship and transported 6,500 miles to Oakland. There, they will be assembled to fit into the eastern span of the new Bay Bridge.

The project is part of China’s continual move up the global economic value chain — from cheap toys to Apple iPads to commercial jetliners — as it aims to become the world’s civil engineer. The assembly work in California, and the pouring of the concrete road surface, will be done by Americans. But construction of the bridge decks and the materials that went into them are a Made in China affair. California officials say the state saved hundreds of millions of dollars by turning to China.

Dang: The Chinese-Made Bay Bridge Continues to Fall Apart 

April 7, 2015

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the bridge’s anchor rods may be snapping.

Good news for people who like bad news: There are serious problems with the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

Again. From the San Francisco Chronicle comes the news that one of the anchor rods in the bridge’s eastern span may have snapped:

An ultrasonic test performed late last month indicates that the steel fastener may be as much as 6 inches shorter than the other rods, Caltrans officials say. It could have snapped at the bottom because of corrosion, or it could simply have been cut or made shorter than the other 400-plus rods at the tower’s base, they say.

The answer could determine whether Caltrans must bolster the tower’s anchoring system. 

Troubled Bridge Over Water

October 2, 2019

California Globe Still-faulty San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge span used Chinese steel

China’s totalitarian regime, a member of the World Trade Association since 2001, had more to celebrate when California opted to use Chinese steel on the new span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

That stylish structure came in 10 years late, $5 billion over budget, and riddled with safety issues that prompted Gov. Jerry Brown famously to quip, “I mean, look, shit happens.” Many of the problems, it turned out, stemmed from the use of Chinese steel.

In early 2014, State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier of the Transportation and Housing Committee held hearings on the troubled span. In 2013, dozens of the long metal rods on the project snapped and metallurgical engineer Lisa Thomas testified that this was due to hydrogen embrittlement. Caltrans invited this problem, Thomas testified, by opting to use Grade BD steel on the project, rather than the more robust Grade BC. Caltrans also outsourced work to China, where workers produced cracked welds.

Caltrans bridge engineer Douglas Coe noted that every one of the structure’s 750 panels had to be repaired. UC Berkeley structural engineering professor Abolhassan Astaneh-Asi, who knows a bit more about bridges than Jerry Brown, believes the structure is unsafe and declines to use it.

DeSaulnier, a Concord Democrat, cited “a deliberate and willful attempt to obfuscate what is happening to the public.” Caltrans geologist Michael Morgan testified that safety problems were kept secret, ignored and covered up. He called for a “criminal investigation,” but Attorney General Kamala Harris took no action.