State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Chairman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, will hold a public hearing at the State Capitol next Tuesday to take testimony from Caltrans officials on the agency’s quality assurance practices for bridge construction inspection.
The hearing follows up on the Sacramento Bee’s investigative report on falsified inspections of the new span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, now under construction. The Bee reported that a Caltrans inspector falsified reports and, “did not follow a Caltrans requirement to check that his testing gauge was working correctly to ensure its accuracy before testing portions of the bridge’s tower foundation.”
“These are serious allegations, and the Committee will be asking Caltrans about its inspection policies and safeguards,” said DeSaulnier. “We need to know that inspections are reliable and that our bridges are safe.”
The Bee’s new report is especially worrisome in light of an ANG Newspapers investigative series and resultant FBI probe in 2005 based on more than a dozen bridge workers’ claims that a hurried schedule had led to defective and inadequate welds.
The committee’s hearing will convene at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22 in Room 112 at the State Capitol.