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Repairs on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Complete

Thursday, August 22, 2019

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Recently announced by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), all joint replacement work on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge has been completed.

The project was the result of an incident that occurred in February.

What Happened

On the morning of Feb. 7, chunks of concrete fell from the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge—a metal cantilever rivet-connected warren through truss—causing a several-hour closure and emergency repairs put in place until a more permanent fix could be implemented.

At the time, the falling concrete was the latest issue for the 5.5-mile cantilever span, which originally opened in 1956. Although a deck rehabilitation project was completed in 2006, holes continued to open, sustaining a reputation of littered gashes and potholes.

On Feb. 8, Caltrans installed a 6-foot metal plate as a temporary fix. Though Caltrans was unsure about what caused the concrete to become loose at the time, the agency did note that contractors had been working on the upper deck to construct a pedestrian-and-bike lane.

In the beginning of April, a call for funding was made by California assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, to replace the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, where a second concrete incident had taken place.

According to the California Highway Patrol, over a span of two months, the bridge was closed for repair twice after pieces of concrete fell from the upper to lower span.

Inspectors determined that while conducting maintenance work—which involved swapping out 61 aging steel joints—concrete apparently expanded and loosened from the demolition jostling, resulting in the falling pieces onto the barrier system below.

By the end of April, a $300,000 study was announced to assess the bridge for longevity, and was planned to be used as part of a larger move to evaluate the Bay Area’s state-owned bridges. At the same time, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission reported that 10 of the 31 deck joints had been replaced on the bridge.

Months later, Caltrans posted on its website that the final concrete pour for the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge joint repair project had been completed on the morning of July 16, in addition to all plates having been removed from the upper deck.

Rehab Completion and Next Project

Just last week (Aug. 14), Caltrans announced that the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge joint replacements had reached completion, having replaced all 31 joints on the upper deck with joints that feature a rubberized seal designed to shrink and expand as temperatures fluctuate. This in turn will help prevent cracking of the surrounding concrete road deck.

The Department reports that all additional work such as applications of rubber sealant, patching and form removal was also completed, adding that no further work is anticipated for the joints on the upper deck of the bridge.

As reported by KPIX-TV Channel 5, the next few weeks at the bridge will be focusing on straightening a portion of the steel truss, which was recently impacted by a large truck. According to Caltrans, the truss repair is expected to host nightly lane closures in both directions.

Replacement of 30 joints on the lower deck of the bridge are expected to take place next year in conjunction with a bridge painting contract.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Bridges; Caltrans; Department of Transportation (DOT); Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair

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