OAKLAND -- The permanent fix for the giant steel bolts that snapped on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge earlier this year is running a month behind schedule.
The $23 million custom steel saddles, designed to carry seismic loads originally intended for the defective anchor rods, will be fully operational by Jan. 8 rather than Dec. 10, according to Bay Bridge spokesman Andrew Gordon.
"Fabrication was very complex and it took a little longer than anticipated," Gordon said.
Temporary shims wedged inside seismic stabilizers over the summer allowed Caltrans and the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee to open the bridge on Labor Day, before the final repairs were made, Gordon said.
The temporary shims will remain in place until the saddles are installed, and the new span remains completely safe in the event of an earthquake, Gordon said. The work on the fix below the decks will not impede traffic, he added.
The last of the 12 separate fabricated steel pieces used to assemble the two saddles around seismic stabilizers called shear keys -- one eastbound and one westbound on the large pier east of the main span tower -- was delivered to the bridge site Wednesday.
American Bridge/Fluor Joint Venture, the self-anchored suspension bridge contractor, will install the piece on the eastbound shear key in the next several days, Gordon said. Once all the saddle pieces are in place, the contractor will wrap and tighten exterior steel tendons and encase them in concrete and rebar.
Engineers devised the repairs earlier this year when 32 of 96 large steel anchor rods -- 3 inches in diameter and up to 24 feet long -- snapped in March. A team hired by the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee later jointly blamed outside design and engineering firm TY Lin International, American Bridge/Fluor and Caltrans for the costly mistake.
In the meantime, tollpayers are stuck with the $23 million repair bill. It will be paid out of contingency money set aside in the new span's $6.4 billion budget.
The oversight committee has filed an insurance claim seeking to recover up to $15 million in damages but the outcome is uncertain and could take years to resolve.