Last week’s wild weather delayed plans till next week to complete permanent repairs to a hole in the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge’s top deck that led to falling concrete on the roadway.
Marin County Supervisor Damon Connolly, who sits on the Transportation Authority of Marin and Metropolitan Transportation Commission boards, said repairs are expected to start on Monday.
The long-term fix will require work for 10 nights with a lane closure in both directions from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., Connolly said. One lane would remain open in both directions.
Multiple messages seeking more detail from Caltrans District 4 late last week were not returned.
The bridge was closed for several hours on Feb. 7 after chunks of concrete, some the size of a football, began falling from the top deck on to the eastbound lanes below, striking one car.
Authorities initially closed the eastbound lanes at about 11 a.m. after a large piece of concrete fell on a Mercedes, causing major damage, according to the California Highway Patrol. Police reported “football to golf ball size” pieces dropping from the top deck.
The incident left scores of drivers stuck on the bridge and some trying to escape in desperation.
Caltrans District 4 Director Tony Tavares said a failed expansion joint on the upper deck was identified as the cause of the falling concrete.
The bridge and expansion joint, both now about 63 years old, passed a safety inspection in August.
Tavares said that there was no indication that the joint would fail. The expansion joint is set to be replaced.
The nearly 7-foot-wide hole in the bridge has been covered by metal plates in the meantime.
This is not the first time chunks of concrete have fallen from the bridge. The bridge was beset by episodes of falling concrete about 12 years ago following a $778 million seismic upgrade, but such incidents have since been rare.
Said McGuire at the time: “This incident shows that if we have a bad earthquake and there is a catastrophic failure, the North Bay commute will be impacted for months if not years.”
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