May 3, 2001
Fire Departments Hold Training Exercises on Bay Bridge
Emergency vehicles parked on the Bay Bridge during the next two weeks are most likely taking part in training exercises in case of construction work zone accidents, says Caltrans, hoping to calm motorists' nerves, reduce rubbernecking and stem the tide of curious phone calls.
The San Francisco Fire Department and the Oakland Fire Department have begun training exercises in the Caltrans work zones on the west span of the Bay Bridge to familiarize themselves with the bridge layout, in the event they are called upon to respond to any accidents that may occur during seismic retrofit work on the bridge. The exercises began today (May 3) and will continue for two weeks; however the schedule may vary.
With the retrofit of the west span in full swing, over 200 workers labor on the west span daily. Many of the workers must climb steel beams high in the air, work near fast-moving traffic, operate heavy machinery or some combination of thereof. Despite extensive safety precautions, some accidents have occurred in the past and the local fire departments and Caltrans wish to be prepared.