Caltrans News Release

District 4
Harry Yahata, District Director

December 12, 2000
Contact: Colin Jones (510) 286-5776
Frieder Seible (858) 534-4640; 534-4282

*Media Advisory*

NEW BAY BRIDGE COLUMNS TO BE TESTED UNDER SIMULATED SEISMIC FORCES OF A MAJOR EARTHQUAKE

 

WHAT: Caltrans, in cooperation with the University of California San Diego (UCSD) structural Engineering Department, will conduct a landmark research test on large scale model concrete columns that are planned for the construction of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge east span. The large size, complexity and uniqueness of the new bridge’s pier configuration mandates performance testing under simulated seismic stresses before the bridge design is finalized. This test will analyze the performance of the bridge columns during simulated major earthquakes of various magnitudes. (A fact sheet on the pier testing will be available)

WHEN: Friday, December 15 from 10 am to noon

WHO: UCSD and Caltrans bridge engineers and designers

WHERE: UC San Diego Campus, Charles Powell Structural Lab (map attached)

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Along with world-renowned seismic engineers at the lab, observe performance testing of these large, 10-15 meter columns under 6,900 kN compression loads, equivalent to 760 tons of force. This test will offer an excellent and unique visual of how bridge columns respond to the tremendous stresses from a major "design life" earthquake that is likely to occur every 1,500 years.

BACKGROUND: A single-tower, self-anchored suspension bridge is planned to replace the existing east span of the Bay Bridge. This modern design was proposed in 1997 and will allow the bridge to withstand a major earthquake on either the Hayward or San Andreas faults. Construction of the new east span is scheduled to begin next year with completion in 2005. It will cost approximately $1.6 billion.