Work to repair a collapsed section of the Bay Bridge is continuing tonight with still no estimate about when it will reopen, California Department of Transportation spokesman Bart Ney said today.
At a news conference this evening, Ney said crews were still working on the repairs and that stress tests will be performed on the bridge later tonight.
Until they know the results of those tests, Ney said authorities cannot predict when the bridge will reopen.
"I know that's frustrating for motorists, but we don't want to make a false prediction, and we want to put safety first," he said.
Ney said crews performed stress tests Saturday, and that "engineers didn't get what they were looking for."
The tests showed that there was still metal-on-metal fatigue between pieces of the new repair structure, which is replacing repairs of a cracked eyebar discovered over Labor Day weekend.
The metal-on-metal fatigue, apparently caused by high winds on the bridge, caused the steel crossbar and two steel rods that were part of the original repairs to fall onto the bridge Tuesday evening.
The crossbeam and rods crashed on the cantilever section of the bridge near Yerba Buena Island and damaged three vehicles, but no one was seriously hurt.
Crews took the night off beginning late Saturday after working 24 hours a day since the bridge closed, Ney said.
"They've been hard at it for four days," Ney said. "We thought it was a good time to take a rest."
He said they resumed work at 7 a.m. today, and do not have a break planned tonight.
Bfore the birdge can be opened, outside experts from the Federal Highway Administration and other groups will examine the repaired section to make sure it's ready to handle traffic again, he said.
"There is still a lot of work," Ney said.
He said Caltrans will give another update Monday but he would not even guess when the birdge might reopen.
Motorists can get real-time travel information at the Web site 511.org or by calling 511.
In the meantime, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said trains will not run after midnight tonight to give BART crews time to inspect and repair trains a needed in time for the Monday morning commute. BART had been running trains hourly overnight Friday and last night.
"Less than a percent of our ridership rides overnight," Linton said. "We can't provide for them at the expense of our bread and butter commuters."
Linton said BART will be reimbursed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
"We know from years past it will be pretty big," he said of the additional expenses. "It's a money loser to run overnight."
Linton said BART was hit even harder financially because the agency didn't have any advance warning about the bridge closure. Employees
were taken off vacation or had to cancel their plans, he said.
"It's very difficult to provide overnight service on the dime," he said. "That's one reason we haven't been able to do it during the week."
More information is available at www.bart.gov.