FEDS TO PROBE REPAIR WORK ON BAD BAY BRIDGE RODS: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Federal Highway Administration on Monday said it is investigating the state's response to broken steel seismic safety rods on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
FHWA spokesman Doug Hecox said the agency has launched its review after it received a request by state bridge officials, but it did not have an idea of how long the probe would take.
The agency will examine the California Department of Transportation's conclusion about the cause of the rod failure and the state's recommended fix.
"Public confidence is extremely important, and the public will be confident when we can say backed by independent review that the bridge is 100-percent safe," Andrew Gordon, the Bay Bridge project's spokesman, said.
The repair work has put the span's scheduled Labor Day opening in doubt, and Caltrans asked the FHWA to conduct a review to help determine whether the bridge will still open on time.
Bridge officials on Wednesday requested that the FHWA review its findings that the rods broke because hydrogen had penetrated the steel, which caused it to become too brittle.
The failed rods were made in 2008 and were designed to connect the bridge deck to so-called "shear keys," which help control movement during an earthquake.
Officials still do not know how the hydrogen got there, but a metallurgists' report determined the steel used in manufacturing the rods was "less than ideal."
The report said the hydrogen corrosion in the rods could have been discovered earlier if Caltrans had required tougher tests. The agency said it is developing new requirements that would require tougher testing in the future.
4 ARRESTED AS POLICE MOVE IN ON UC LAND: ALBANY (AP) — Four people are in custody following an early morning police raid on protesters occupying land owned by the University of California in the San Francisco Bay area city of Albany.
UC Berkley spokeswoman Claire Holmes says three men were arrested on suspicion of trespassing and interfering with police department operations on Monday after officers warned protesters to leave the so-called Gill Tract.
UC Police Lt. Eric Tejada says a woman also arrested on Monday also faces trespassing charges.
All four names have yet to be released.
Protesters occupied the land two days earlier and spent the weekend pulling weeds and planting crops. They want to convert the land into an urban farm.
UC officials say the land is used for agricultural research and there are plans to develop a grocery store and senior housing there.
Protesters occupied adjacent land for weeks last year before police removed them.