Bay Bridge is Safe, New Report Concludes

New Bay Bridge Report Contradicts Testimony at California Senate Hearing Executive of Previous Engineering Firm Accused of Misleading Senate

Sacramento, Calif. —A new report by the engineering firm that completed independent inspections on the Bay Bridge demonstrates a top executive from a prior engineering firm on the Bay Bridge provided misleading and inaccurate information about the Bay Bridge construction safety concerns in a California Senate Committee report and testimony.

Alta Vista Solutions, which competed for and eventually won the contract to perform independent quality assurance inspection for Caltrans on the new East Span of the Bay Bridge project, released a 14 page analysis that calls into question the accuracy of “The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge: Basic Reforms for the Future Preliminary Report,” authored by former KTVU Fox News television producer Roland De Wolk.

The Alta Vista report “agree(s) with the Preliminary Report’s primary conclusion that “transparency in the affairs of the public is paramount and leads to accountability,” but “corrects inaccuracies and misstatements” in the report to the Senate Committee on Transportation, which was largely based on interviews and testimony by two individuals that had been removed from the project and not worked on the new bridge construction for over five years. The first individual was Doug Coe, a former Caltrans engineering manager that had been removed from the project for being unable to work effectively with the project team. The second was James Merrill, a current executive at AMEC (previously MACTEC), the previous Bay Bridge engineering firm that lost the contract to Alta Vista Solutions.

Alta Vista Solutions sent its report to Senator DeSaulnier and the Senate Committee on Monday, February 3. The company’s report challenges the transparency and accountability of De Wolk’s report and said that “transparency was not a value that Mr. (James) Merrill promoted while he was actually on the job (with MACTEC).” In response to testimony by Mr. Merrill that he urged additional testing of the anchor rods that eventually failed, Alta Vista provides detailed engineering reports where Mr. Merrill’s company AMEC (MACTEC) recommended the anchor rods be accepted “as-is” without any additional testing. The report also notes that Caltrans has put forth an unprecedented testing program to determine whether the remaining anchor rods will perform as intended.

The new report describes the components of Caltrop/Alta Vista’s strategy to win the independent inspection contract in 2008 in an open and fair selection process that included independent panel members from three transportation agencies: the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), and Caltrans. Additionally, despite information to the contrary in the Preliminary Report and testimony before the Senate, the documentation provided demonstrates that the quality assurance inspection team (Caltrop/Alta Vista) selected in 2008 to replace MACTEC (AMEC) was found “to have the skill and the certification” necessary to assure quality of the new Bay Bridge.

The Alta Vista report concludes that “The Bay Bridge was built to the highest standards of safety and quality used to date, anywhere in the world. The notion that safety and quality were sacrificed in the interests of scheduling is simply incorrect; if anything, the exact opposite is true.”

A copy of Alta Vista’s full response to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee can be found at

Contact: Sam Singer
For Alta Vista Solutions
Phone: 415.336.4949
Email: [email protected]