Thanks to this informative article by Chalres Piller at the Sacramento Bee, we learn that while CalTrans has been rewarding contractors building the Bay Bridge for their shoddy work, others have sued the same contractors and received refunds for defective work:
…This is a tale of two projects.
One – the $6.5 billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge – is the largest public works project in state history. (More specifically, its $2 billion suspension-span segment.) The other – the $1.8 billion Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm in the North Sea off Suffolk, England – is one of the world’s biggest wind-energy projects.
Both were built between 2008 and 2011 in the same Shanghai, China, factory complex. Each suffered from mistakes by inadequately trained Chinese welders. Thousands of welds in the towers for the 140 giant wind turbines cracked. Hundreds of welds in the Bay Bridge roadway cracked, too. Both were contracted and managed by Fluor Corp., an Irving, Texas-based construction firm – by itself for the wind farm, and in a joint venture with Corapolis, Pa.-based American Bridge Co. for the Bay Bridge.
Each required costly repairs. Who paid for the repairs and problems differed markedly.
After a dispute about who would pay for the problems, the wind farm partners won an arbitration judgment worth more than $400 million.
California officials did not get refunds. Feeling pressure to complete the long-delayed bridge, meant to endure a major quake, they paid more. They paid contractors $535 million extra, more than half of that to overcome delays and other problems related to welding. Then they lowered standards and approved a bridge riddled with cracks.
…. State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, outgoing chairman of the Transportation and Housing Committee, called state officials’ added payments, especially in light of their knowledge of the wind farm problems, “unbelievable.”
DeSaulnier, who was elected to Congress in November, said California officials “allowed themselves to be extorted – and didn’t do anything about it.”..
Read more about this outrage and the full story at the Sacramento Bee link here: