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Bad News Bay Bridge: Leaking, Possibly Corroding

The eastern span of the Bay Bridge has had cost overruns, delays, scandal, and lukewarm architecture reviews, but the latest bad news is cause for concern—the bridge is leaking into structural elements and officials aren’t sure why or what it means.
February 12, 2014, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The Bay Area got sorely needed rain recently, but they also got something they didn’t need—more headaches caused by the eastern span of the Bay Bridge. During the recent rain storm, the bridge sprung “hundreds of leaks,” allowing water to infiltrate the structural innards of the bridge, reports Jaxon Van Derbeken.

So far, Caltrans officials have “denied that the water was already causing damage to the $6.4 billion project's backbone structure," writes Van Derbeken. As for how it happened, Caltrans is claiming that culprits could include “holes drilled into the hollow guardrail system to install the electrical conduits for lights on the suspension span's cables,” or “square service panels…bolted on the hollow guardrails.”

Caltrans is claiming that the bridge is not yet corroding, but “patches of brown sludge and a white, powdery residue” are also visible on the bridge. Lisa Thomas, a Berkeley metallurgist, reviewed the photos of the brown-and-white areas and identified it to the San Francisco Chronicle as "active corrosion."

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Published on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 in SF Gate
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