The joint venture of American Bridge and Fluor Corp. has reached a settlement valued at $34 million with the California Transportation Dept. (Caltrans) to end a five-year dispute involving faulty seismic anchor rods used for the $6.5-billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge rebuild.
The two sides had traded allegations following the discovery of salt water intrusion in steel casings surrounding more than 420 galvanized steel rods—each 26 ft long with a 3- to 4-in. dia—that were installed in 2007 at the base of the bridge’s 525-ft-tall self-anchored suspension span east tower. Several rods broke during tensioning in 2013, raising concerns about their ability to perform as designed during a major earthquake. Although most of the rods passed seismic proof “pull tests” conducted in 2015, Caltrans subsequently invested $8.5 million to regrout the units with a specifically selected backfill material.
Later that year, the state Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, which oversees the Bay Bridge, levied separate $8.5-million fines against American Bridge/Fluor, Caltrans and the span design team of T.Y. Lin International and Moffatt & Nichol. American Bridge/Fluor countered that Caltrans construction decisions led to the anchor rod problems and filed a $49.2-million claim against the agency in February 2016. The settlement, approved by the committee June 21, calls for the contractor to receive $25.5 million, with its fine canceled. In a statement, Fluor said the parties “worked together to bring this contract issue to an end” and close out the project.
Separately, Caltrans is in a dispute with the U.S. Navy over cost responsibility for an estimated $11-million cleanup of a contaminated landfill site on Yerba Buena Island, a former naval station later turned over to Caltrans.