A Caltrans engineering team has uncovered a broader range of problems with the safety testing of roadways and bridges in California, including tests of work performed on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, the Sacramento Bee reported.
After engineers started reviewing records of the tests in December, they found doctored data and other suspicious information, the newspaper said Sunday.
Engineers were looking into a technician blamed for falsifying tests on other projects but found problems that extended beyond that former employee. The information also called into question testing of the new Bay Bridge and three other key Bay Area spans.
The assessment follows assertions by California Department of Transportation officials that their tests were valid and that the bridge is safe.
It identified at least 23 cases of suspect radiation test data used to approve the reinforced concrete foundations of the Bay Bridge, Benicia-Martinez Bridge, Dumbarton Bridge and Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, according to state and federal reports, and e-mails.
The engineers said the records for those spans should be analyzed further. Those 23 cases are among 1,000 files of Caltrans roadway and bridge tests deemed questionable.
Caltrans began its review of data after the Bee's investigation last fall found that a technician who conducted tests to determine the structural integrity of the foundation of the main tower of the new Bay Bridge had falsified tests on other projects.
In an e-mail response to written questions from the Bee, Caltrans spokesman Matt Rocco said no bridges or other structures "have been found to be unsound thus far in our review." Rocco said "the Bay Bridge is safe."
Still, according to the Bee, the Federal Highway Administration criticized Caltrans for waiting several years to launch a review of the testing program.
The Bee obtained federal and state reports and e-mails from the administration through a Freedom of Information Act request.