Senator: $20m bonus for Bay Bridge builder? Bull!

A state lawmaker wants to make sure there’s no chance that the builders of the Bay Bridge’s new eastern span will receive a $20 million bonus.

State Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, issued a statement Monday saying he’d been pleased last month to hear the bridge’s opening might be delayed in order to ensure safety issues – broken anchor rods embedded in seismic stabilizers – could be addressed.

Anthony Cannella“I was surprised that just two days following the announcement that the bridge opening would be delayed, there was a last-minute proposal to use shims as a temporary fix,” Cannella said. “The news that the eleventh-hour decision to open the Bay Bridge will result in a $20 million bonus warrants an investigation.”

“I find it egregious that the lead builder is going to be in line to receive $20 million in bonuses when the increased costs stemming from construction errors could well exceed that amount,” he said. “I am working with my colleagues in the Legislature to ensure that this decision to use a last-minute temporary fix is completely investigated. We have already been working to address issues relating to other safety issues, massive cost overruns and previous delays in construction. As an engineer, I continue to be baffled by the decisions made in the building of this bridge.”

As my colleagues Lisa Vorderbrueggen and Matthais Gafni reported last week, American Bridge/Fluor Enterprises – the main contractor for the self-anchored suspension span segment – could earn up to $20 million in incentive payments for completing a set of seismic readiness construction tasks whether or not the bridge opens to traffic Sept. 3. Bay Area Toll Authority executive director and oversight committee Chairman Steve Heminger has cast doubt on whether the contractor would get the money, given the cracked-rod fiasco.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Bronzer Reed

    A bonus for a screwed up job???? OH H… NO!

  • Elwood

    Hey, that was part of a negotiated settlement among the parties.

    Apparently, CALTRANS, TBA and MTC figured well, the contractor could have ****ed it up a lot worse than they did.

  • JohnW

    $20 million is roughly a 1.5% bonus on a $1.4 billion contract. Instead of getting a bonus, they should be getting dinged for their “fair share” of the extra cost caused by bolt-gate. That said, I’m waiting for word to get out on whatever bonuses CalTrans senior engineers and managers involved with the Brown-Brown bridge have received while the bridge has been under construction. I’ll bet it’s more than 1.5% of their base salaries.

  • Semper Fido

    I agree that giving them a bonus is a joke, but if the state agreed to it, then it’s a binding contract. End of story. As to where the money will come from, perhaps Governor brown can loosen up a little of that $4B surplus from our taxes, and pay it. I mean, we spend quite enough on ESL residents. $20M won’t matter.