Report: Caltrans finds problems with Bay Bridge safety tests

  • A new sign of the City and County of San Francisco is illuminated by light poles on the new east span of the Bay Bridge during a lighting system preview by Caltrans on Thursday, July 26, 2012, in San Francisco Calif. The custom-made lights will create a safer driving experience for motorists by spreading a bright, uniform glow across the roadway and simultaneously minimizing glare and light pollution. (AP Photo/The Tribune, Ray Chavez) MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

SACRAMENTO — A Caltrans engineering team has uncovered a broader range of problems with the safety testing of roadways and bridges in California, including tests of work performed on the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, The Sacramento Bee (http://sacb.ee/Quo75D) reported.

After engineers in December started reviewing records of the tests, they found doctored data and other suspicious information, the newspaper said Sunday.

Engineers were looking into a technician blamed for falsifying tests on other projects but found problems that extended beyond that former employee. The information and also called into question testing of the new Bay Bridge and three other key Bay Area spans.

The assessment follows assertions by California Department of Transportation officials that their tests were valid and that the Bay Bridge is safe.

It identified at least 23 cases of suspect radiation test data used to approve the reinforced concrete foundations of the Bay Bridge, Benicia-Martinez Bridge, Dumbarton Bridge and Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, according to state and federal reports and emails.

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