Construction crews working on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in California discovered a crack that could keep the heavily traveled bridge closed beyond the planned Labor Day weekend shutdown.
During inspection of the east span of the bridge, workers found a crack in one of the eyebars on the side of the structure, said Bart Ney, spokesman for the California Department of Transportation. “It’s a significant crack — significant enough to have closed the bridge on its own,” he said in a news conference aired on the agency’s Web site Saturday night. Ney said the crack has to be repaired immediately and acknowledged that the work may stretch past Tuesday when the bridge was scheduled to reopen. “I want to assure everyone that this repair will be made and we will return the Bay Bridge safer than when we took it out,” he said. On average, 280,000 vehicles cross the landmark bridge every day, according to Caltrans. It was closed Thursday as part of a planned seismic retrofitting project that requires cutting out and replacing a double-deck section of the east span. A 50-foot section of the bridge collapsed in 1989 during the Loma Prieta earthquake, prompting efforts to make it quake tolerant.