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Giant Bolts Snap On New Bay Bridge Eastern Span

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- With less than six months until the scheduled opening of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, more than two dozen giant bolts holding the $6.4 billion bridge together have reportedly snapped.

According to a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, at least 30 of the 288 bolts have snapped. The bolts, also known as rods, anchor steel pieces to concrete. The bolts are 9 to 17 feet in length and about 2.5 inches in diameter.

The problem was discovered last week, when workers started tightening the nuts on the ends of 96 bolts, and found a third of them snapped several days later.

Randy Rentschler of the MTC said the problem shouldn't cause alarm. "The bridge itself is well, well, way overdesigned," he said. "And this is a seismic element that is important, but Caltrans is confident that they have a design option to design around this."

Transportation Officials Say Defective Bolts Won't Delay New Bay Bridge Opening

Engineers said the snapped bolts may be due to hydrogen found in the metal, which made the steel bolts brittle. The bolts were made in the United States.

Complete Coverage: The New Bay Bridge

Officials have not determined whether to replace all 288 bolts or only the ones that have snapped. They also have not said how long it would take to fix the problem, or the cost of repairs.

The issue is not expected to delay the opening of the new eastern span, which is scheduled for the morning of September 3rd, officials said.

Representatives from the MTC and Caltrans are expected to reveal more details about the problem on Wednesday.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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