The California Dept. of Transportation—first reeling, then hunkering down following revelations that one of its technical engineers may have falsified data regarding the structural soundness of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge's self-anchored suspension-span foundation—has agreed to allow a peer-review panel to conduct an independent investigation of all the records related to the inspections of the piles.

Following a long, comprehensive investigation, The Sacramento Bee released details on Nov. 13 about the inspection work of the technician, Duane Wiles. Caltrans released him, along with his foundation testing-group supervisor, Brian Liebich. (Liebich's dismissal, the agency insists, is related to a separate matter involving state materials found at his house.)

Meeting with reporters on Nov. 14, acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty and the agency's toll-bridge program manager, Tony Anziano, defended the agency's actions, emphasizing that the Bay Bridge's safety is not an issue.

"We reviewed the SAS testing data and did not find falsified data," said Dougherty.

"I want to re-emphasize that we did not find any falsified evidence relating to the safety of the foundation piles," said Anziano.

What caused the uproar, according to the Bee, was the fact that Wiles had fabricated or falsified data from at least three other state projects: in 2006, a car-pool lane connector between state Route 57 and the Pomona Freeway, near Diamond Bar; in 2007, a retaining wall at the Braddock Drive overpass on the San Diego Freeway (I-405) in west Los Angeles; and in 2008, a ramp on the Riverside Freeway at La Sierra Avenue in Riverside.