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updated: 3/28/2013 8:04 AM

Broken rods on San Francisco Bay Bridge checked

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Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- State transportation officials in California are investigating why nearly three dozen threaded steel rods on the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge snapped when workers tightened the fittings.

The rods -- up to 16 feet long and as thick as a man's thigh -- connect the bridge deck to the concrete cap that sits on top of the massive pier just east of the bridge tower, according to The Contra Costa Times .

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Officials with Caltrans, the state agency responsible for bridges and other transportation, were expected to brief the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on the problem. The commission is overseeing the new $6.4 billion span construction with the state.

Commission spokesman Randy Rentschler told the newspaper the broken rods are not considered a structural problem and are not expected to delay the scheduled Labor Day weekend opening.

The rods were manufactured in Ohio and are being installed for seismic safety.

The bridge is being made to withstand large temblors so that emergency vehicles can use it after a major quake.

About one-third of the 96 tightened rods broke.

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