San Mateo Bridge Cracked -- Traffic Nightmare Ensues

Categories: Transportation
The San Mateo Bridge is a span most locals don't invest much thought in. Maybe they will now, however. A 10-inch crack on a steel beam beneath the roadway was uncovered by crews during an inspection last night, necessitating the closure of a westbound lane this morning during an emergency fix.

Comfortingly, the crack was discovered on a steel piece put in place to add stability during the event of an earthquake.

The San Mateo Bridge was built in 1967, retrofitted in 2000, and widened in 2003. The steel piece in question was apparently put in place in 2001.

Readers will of course recall a crack discovered in an eyebar on the Bay Bridge last year -- which was repaired poorly and failed within a matter of weeks. Naturally, there are no eyebars on the San Mateo Bridge, but an explanation for the crack in a nine-year-old steel part has not yet been offered.

Caltrans officials said the crack didn't present a catastrophic rick of collapse, but did necessitate an immediate repair job -- which may stretch until tomorrow. Not surprisingly, the closure of a westbound lane has resulted in traffic conditions in which one could leap from rooftop to rooftop of idling cars.

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