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New fasteners improve quality of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, but still room for improvement

New fasteners improve quality of San Francisco's Bay Bridge, but still room for improvement

New fasteners improve quality of San Francisco's Bay Bridge, but still room for improvement

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge recently needed to undergo massive repairs due to faulty hardware, but now the bridge is back up and running thanks in part to higher quality fasteners.

Building projects are only as strong as the pieces that compose them. Construction projects, such as an inter city bridge, need to be able to support heavy and continuous weight, making the need for industrial fasteners and galvanized bolts high.

Failure to use the proper hardware in a construction project can damage the quality of the job and lead to greater expenses down the line. While it may be less expensive to pay for cheaper nuts and bolts in the short term, it could ultimately be detrimental in the long run, and San Francisco's Bay Bridge is a perfect example of this.

Construction problems
The San Francisco Gate reported that the bridge needed some massive repairs that included replacing broken rods and bolts that put the bridge out of commission for some time last year. One of the major problems of the bridge was that these parts were corroding far too quickly.

The Sacramento Bee noted that as a result, politicians including the City Supervisor David Campos and state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D – Concord) called for an independent inspection on the bridge.

"First and foremost we have to focus on the safety of the bridge. To make sure there is no question about that," said Campos, according to the Bee. "Then we need to make sure that we are assessing whether or not taxpayers got their money's worth, in terms of the lifespan of the bridge."

Making progress but still issues
Fortunately, a lot of progress has been made since the problems initially arose in February following a report by the San Francisco Chronicle. While some of these problems, like rusting, have been fixed, there are still more improvements needed to ensure that the bridge will be able to perform in the long term.

The biggest issues have been the bridge's fastener, bolts and steel rods. While $25 million was paid to fix these bolts during the repairs that finished last September, the SF Gate reported that recent tests on these fasteners showed the most potential of wear and tear in the future.

In order to avoid these kinds of mistakes, contractors should learn from the lessons of the Bay Bridge and invest in high quality fasteners the first time around. This means working with suppliers that are able to fill even the most obscure orders to ensure a job well done.