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Independent Panel to Review Bay Bridge Foundation Inspections

Contact:
Bart Ney, Caltrans, 510.286.7165
Randy Rentschler, MTC, 510.817.5780

OAKLAND, CA, Nov. 15, 2011... Following Caltrans’ dismissal of a materials testing technician who had inspected foundation piles for the signature single tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge’s new East Span, the state Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee (TBPOC) has requested the Seismic Safety Peer Review Panel — comprised of engineering professors and other technical experts — to conduct an independent review of all records from quality assurance inspections of the piles.

“The new East Span is a seismic safety project that provides a critical link needed by Bay Area travelers to secure a strong economy for our region and the state,” explained Bay Area Toll Authority Executive Director Steve Heminger, who chairs the TBPOC. “To ensure that mission is not compromised in any way, it is essential that outside, independent technical experts undertake a thorough review of all the inspection documents, assess the integrity of the completed work, and make their findings public.”

Members of the Seismic Safety Peer Review Panel are Dr. Frieder Seible, who is dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California at San Diego; Dr. I.M. Idriss , an independent consulting geotechnical engineer and emeritus professor of civil engineering at the University of California at Davis; Dr. John Fisher, professor emeritus of civil engineering at Lehigh University and director emeritus of the ATLSS Engineering Research Center; and structural engineer Joseph Nicoletti, who served as chair of the Engineering and Design Advisory Panel for the Bay Bridge East Span replacement project. Nicoletti also chairs the peer review panel.

The TBPOC has consulted with the external Seismic Safety Peer Review Panel on numerous design and construction decisions over the years. The members of the TBPOC are Bay Area Toll Authority Executive Director Steve Heminger, Caltrans’ Acting Director Malcolm Dougherty and California Transportation Commission Executive Director Bimla Rhinehart.

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