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Impartiality of Bay Bridge safety panel questioned

SACRAMENTO — A report in the Sacramento Bee is raising some questions about the panel that evaluated the work on the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The newspaper reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/H3urtR ) that three of the four members of the Toll Bridge Seismic Safety Peer Review Panel have professional or financial ties to Caltrans, or to contractors who worked on the bridge, while three helped select the Bay Bridge design.

The panel released its findings on Friday declaring work by the California Department of Transportation as correct and that the bridge was safe.

The Bee says the panel's review came after reports last fall that a Caltrans employee had fabricated integrity tests on other structures, and failed to ensure accuracy while examining the foundation of the new span's main tower.


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