Report: Caltrans Overrode Worries about Bay Bridge

Winning subcontractor had no bridge work experience.

The decision by California transportation officials to hire a Chinese company that had never built a bridge to make key components of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge's eastern section ended up being a costly choice in terms of both dollars and confidence in the span's structural integrity, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The Sacramento Bee said an investigation based on its review of more than 100,000 pages of construction records and emails found that the Department of Transportation picked Zhenhua Port Machinery to make the bridge's new signature tower and roadway because officials thought the subcontractor could do the work faster and for $250 million less than the next lowest bidder.

Instead, Caltans ended up paying the Shanghai company millions as a speed incentive even as it spent hundreds of millions more to fix problems with the firm's work, and overruns that exceeded the expected savings and contributed to the bridge's $6.4 billion price tag, the Bee reports.

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Source; The Sacramento Bee