Bay Bridge Welds are Corroding away due to Microbes
According to a report by NBC Bay Area, there is corrosion on the piles supporting the foundation of the Bay Area Bridge, which connects San Francisco and Oakland. Because of this, Caltrans will be investigating the impact of potentially damaging microorganisms on welds on the underwater foundation of the new span of the Bay Bridge. The piles surrounding the foundation of the bridge are made from steel that is 3 and 3/4 inches thick. NBC Bay Area claims that there is evidence of accelerated corrosion due to these microorganisms. Caltrans Chief Engineer Brian Maroney stated,
That’s really something new, and when it’s something new to us, we want to make sure we get on top of it as fast as we can. It’s important not to drop the ball here. As years go on, we have to make sure we get out and inspect it.
If there is corrosion then that the projected 150-year life span of the bridge may not be accurate. Deepwater Corrosion Services Inc., based in Texas, sent divers to observe the bridge’s submerged support and discovered that some of the piles exhibited pits likely due to bacteria. Deepwater strongly suggests that further investigating be conducted on other Bay Area bridges in San Mateo and Richmond-San Rafael to see if there’s a similar issue. According to engineers for the project, there’s no immediate cause for concern, however, the steel supporting the foundation of the bridge may be compromised around 50 years earlier than expected. Hopefully, the bridge is able to be repaired in a timely manner as well as other bridges in the Bay Area.