Failure plan aims for quick fix on Bay Bridge 

Seeking to avoid the complications that marred last year’s repair work, officials could approve a $1 million contract amendment to ensure that design plans are immediately available for eyebar-replacement assemblages on the Bay Bridge.

During a routine inspection of the Bay Bridge in September, a 1½-inch crack was found in one of the span’s eyebars, the beams that provide the bridge’s main support structure.

A quickly assembled design — the bridge was closed at the time for Labor Day weekend — to repair the eyebar turned out to be a failure when the harnesslike creation snapped under stress, sending debris crashing onto the roadway during the evening rush hour and shutting down the bridge for nearly a week.

While the 74-year-old bridge continues to take a beating from the elements — heavy wind gusts were determined to be the chief culprit for the eyebar crack — the Bay Area Toll Authority wants to have design plans immediately available for a replacement harness in case a similar crack appears again.

On Wednesday, the organization’s Oversight Committee will be asked to approve a $1 million contract amendment with TYLin International, an independent civil engineering firm. The contract amendment will allow TYLin to continue monitoring the bridge’s structural support system and, most importantly, have plans in place for a durable replacement design in case another eyebar is damaged.

“We need to have a design that is fully ready to go in case another eyebar goes,” BATA spokesman John Goodwin said. “With this contract amendment, we can have plans for an off-the-shelf replacement that will be immediately available.”

The $1 million contract amendment will be added to an existing $2.7 million pact with TYLin for consultation work. Funding for the contract has already been identified within the toll agency’s bridge rehabilitation program. If the committee approves the contract amendment, it would go before the full toll agency later this month.


Cost of an emergency

$35 million Total cost of Bay Bridge eyebar repairs

$2.7 million Current cost of contract with TYLin International to provide consultation

$1 million Proposed contract amendment to assure repair plan designs are immediately ready

280,000 Motorists who use Bay Bridge daily

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Will Reisman

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