CALIFORNIAS BRIDGE retrofitting programme is in danger of slipping behind schedule as contractors are find themselves overloaded with work.
The California Transportation authority Caltrans, which owns and operates San Franciscos Bay Area toll bridges, also faces a funding crisis as construction bids from busy contractors are much higher than expected.
Of 13 contracts on six toll bridges in California, five are under construction, with the rest due to start by the end of this year. Excluding work on the Oakland Bay Bridge crossing some $1.8bn (1.1bn) alone they total over 1.6bn.
Bids for retrofitting work on the Benicia-Martinez crossing, due to start construction later this year, were assessed last month. The lowest bid, Caltrans has admitted, was 14.5M above the estimated cost.
Caltrans is also facing a 12.3M cost overrun on the San Mateo-Hayward toll retrofit.
And the 200M Richmond-San Rafael retrofit, due to start construction this spring, has still not been put out to tender despite bid documents being ready last August. The earliest possible advertisement date is now set for next month.
Funding authorities for the schemes are scheduled to meet later this month to solve the problem. Cancellation of the project is not an option as all bridges in California have to be made seismically safe.