OAKLAND -- Several hundred bolts and rods on the eastern span of the new Bay Bridge apparently will not need expensive replacements or repairs because they resist corrosion better than 32 anchor bolts that snapped last year, designers of the bridge conclude.
New test results on more than two dozen bridge rods and bolts selected from more than 2,000 installed on the new span show that they will hold up in San Francisco Bay's salt water environment at the stress levels the bridge is under, reported representatives of T.Y. Lin International, the designer of the new bridge.
The recommendation was welcomed as good news by the head of the agency that collects tolls to build and maintain the new $6.4 billion east span between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island.
"We may not need to pursue the expensive work we feared we would last year," said Steve Heminger, the executive director of the Bay Area Toll Authority. "We're not through this work yet. There is still more testing and more answers we need."
Heminger said the latest tests -- simulations of how bridge rods and bolts hold up and resist corrosion in a marine environment -- were the most critical to show the security of the new span.
Marwan Nader, a T.Y. Lin engineer, delivered the news of the tests Thursday afternoon to a meeting of a bridge panel, including the chiefs of the three agencies overseeing the project.
"As the engineer of record, I conclude that the rods in service are safe," Nader told the panel.
Instead of replacing the metal pieces, vigilant maintenance will be needed to make sure they remain in good shape, Nader said.
In March 2013, 32 of the 96 rods that secured critical seismic shock absorbers to the bridge deck snapped when they were tightened, five years after they had been installed on the span and left exposed to the elements.
Large seismic saddles were added to the structure to make up for the instability of the broken rods, but officials worried about the strength of more than 2,000 other bolts and rods installed elsewhere on the bridge.
Experts last year came up with a preliminary recommendation that fixes or repairs might be needed on 700 rods and bolts.
Heminger said more testing results are expected in the next few weeks to corroborate the results made public Thursday.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff