Steel fabricators lash out at Bay Bridge suggestions

Dec 18, 2009 | 11:19 AM | Frank Haflich

The domestic steel fabrication industry has struck back at suggestions that it couldn't have handled a major retrofit project for part of the earthquake-damaged San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

State and local authorities are using the threat of penalties to expedite the shipment of Chinese fabricated steel to the United States as problems with welds and mounting delays have complicated progress on the $1.4-billion-plus retrofit for the east span of the bridge that was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

But the San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has defended its decision to choose Zhenhua Port Machinery Co. (ZMPC) of China to supply the deck sections for the bridge's east span, and expressed doubts that U.S. fabricators could have met the job's demanding requirements (AMM, Dec. 11) or that there was sufficient domestic capacity to support their schedule. This hasn't gone down well with some people in the domestic fabrication industry, who claim the project's setbacks support their view that it shouldn't have gone overseas in the first place.....

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