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Re: CalTrans Bridge Welds[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
- To: <seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org>
- Subject: Re: CalTrans Bridge Welds
- From: "Brent Koch" <brentk(--nospam--at)tdl.com>
- Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 19:45:05 -0800
I'd like to toss out some of the "facts" I am aware of regarding this Caltrans welding issue. This saga/fiasco actually began in late 1995 when flawed welds were detected at the seismic retrofit of the I-8/I-805 interchange in San Diego's Mission Valley (near Jack Murphy - Qualcomm Stadium). >From "The Struggle To Retrofit" - San Diego Union Tribune 15/May/96 Project retrofitting chronology: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- December 1994 -- Work begins on the $44.3 million retrofitting of the Interstate 805-Interstate 8 bridges in Mission Valley. May 1995 -- Welding starts on thousands of steel bands used to strengthen the concrete columns. Oct. 26, 1995 -- Caltrans engineer Stephen Matthew-John raises suspicions to his superiors that many welds appear to be defective. November 1995 -- Caltrans warns a contractor, Steve P. Rados Inc., about welding flaws. The work continues. January 1996 -- A Caltrans inspector from Sacramento arrives at the Mission Valley job site and declares the defective welding is the result of shoddy workmanship performed by a number of uncertified welders. Caltrans sends a letter to the contractor rejecting the welding work. February 1996 -- The prime contractor, Rados, tells Caltrans that the agency failed to perform its inspection responsibilities. March 1996 -- Caltrans and the contractor reinspect the welds while the FBI begins an investigation into possible fraud. April 1996 -- Early testing shows that up to 50 percent of the welds are defective. May 1996 -- Caltrans officials order a review of welds on hundreds of projects throughout the state. ----------------------------------------------- To my knowledge there have not been a significant number of defective welds found as a result of the review of these projects. If I am mistaken - would appreciate news references where I can read up on this. Why did it take so many months for the Caltrans to stop work on the project especially after detecting flawed welds? I think the State was negligent in its responsibility to control the performance of its contractor in the execution of his work. Why did the contractor continue to work after being notified of welding problems? I know time=money but, while it's one thing to continue on with possibly questionable welding procedures it's another to further proceed with covering up that work with concrete before the welding has be accepted. I think the Contractor proceeded at his own risk upon notification by the State. Why did it take five months for the State welding inspector to get to the jobsite? The inspection procedure for these projects is for the General Contractor to contract his own welding inspection and submit test reports, X-rays, radiographs and such to the State as quality assurance to certify that the work performed conformed to the specifications. There was (and may still be) only one State welding inspector for all of the welding work projects in California. Is that ludicrous or what? But I'm not surprised. State inspection services have been on the slippery slope for the past three years or so. As materials inspectors, laboratory technicians, and field inspectors retire or quit, they are not being replaced. As a result the few remaining individuals acquire increased workload .... and have been directed not to work overtime! BTW, these policies are being directed by our wonderful governor. For more information on this particular project, the news archives of the San Diego Union Tribune http://www.uniontribune.com/ has several articles in addition to the one I referenced above. The URL was a monstrous search string for the words "Caltrans+Bridge+Welds" so I can't/wont reference the exact pages where they can be found. Thanks for the soapbox, Brent Koch, P.E.
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