Metropolitan Transportation Commission Executive Director Steve Heminger said today that the contractor for the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge will be fined $300,000 a day if steel for construction work isn’t shipped by the end of the month.
Heminger told the MTC’s Bay Area Toll Authority’s Oversight Committee that the joint venture American Bridge/Fluor could face a total penalty of up to $10 million if there are further delays in structural steel fabrication for the deck of the new eastern span and the self-anchored suspension span that connects the skyway to the Yerba Buena Island tunnel.
The material is being made by the subcontractor ZPMC at its steel fabrication plant in Shanghai, China.
Shipments of the first steel segments were originally expected to arrive in the Bay Area in July and Heminger and other transportation officials traveled to China over the summer to try to resolve the problems with getting the steel made and delivered.
Heminger said he’s frustrated with the delays, but added that he believes “there’s a path out of it” and he’s hopeful that the new eastern span can still be completed on time and on budget in 2013.
Under questioning by the committee’s members, Heminger admitted it’s possible that construction work could exceed the contingency fund for the project but he believes “we are likely to finish the work within the budget we have.”
Heminger conceded, “There’s no question we had a learning curve” in getting steel for the span and said “we’re anxious to get 2009 behind us for a lot of reasons.”
Tony Anziano, Caltrans’ toll bridge program manager, said starting work on the self-anchored suspension span will help the public see how much progress is being made on the new eastern span.
“To actually be able to drive by and see it in place makes a difference,” he said.
Anziano said, “That does impact your understanding of the job and your understanding of the progress of the job.”