Calltrans Calls For Sac Bee to Retract Bay Bridge Story

By: Sophia Silletto - Sun, 10 Jun 2012 21:48:43 -0800

(BCN) -- Caltrans is defending the structural integrity of the new east
span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after a recent story by the
Sacramento Bee made claims suggesting otherwise.

      The story published by the Bee on May 27 reported that the paper
had found records of an apparent defect in the foundation of the span's
signature tower.

      Caltrans was cited in the article as defending the foundation's
ability to perform as designed, but the article cited anonymous sources
suggesting the opposite.

      Saturday, Caltrans released a statement calling for the Bee to
retract the story, which it said made false claims about the bridge, and
emphasizing that the bridge meets or exceeds safety standards.

      "Every concrete pile in the new bridge's tower foundation has
passed three rigorous, mandatory safety tests," Caltrans director Malcom
Dougherty wrote in the statement. "Every aspect of the bridge has been
tested, checked and rechecked multiple times."

      According to a letter Dougherty sent to the Bee's editor, Joyce
Terhaar, information supporting the bridge foundation's integrity was
provided to the Bee's reporter but was omitted from the story.

      "The safety of millions is dependent on the engineering work we do
on structures like the Bay Bridge," Dougherty wrote. "Caltrans is not beyond
criticism ... but we ask that you understand your unique responsibilities to
paint a fair picture of our work."

      The Sacramento Bee reported on Saturday that executive editor and
senior vice president Joyce Terhaar issued a statement in response claiming
Caltrans had not been specific with their objections to the newspaper's

      "We asked Caltrans officials to talk to us to explain their
objections, on the record, and they rejected our request," Terhaar stated.

(Copyright 2012, Bay City News, All Rights Reserved)

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