BERKELEY - Gov. Jerry Brown said this morning he does not know if the state will open the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge as scheduled on Labor Day weekend, as officials respond to reports of cracked bolts on the structure.
"I'm not going to predict," Brown said of the bridge's opening. "First we want to make it safe."
Brown has previously dismissed concerns about the bridge's structural integrity. When asked about broken and suspect bolts on the $6.4 billion structure earlier this month, the Democratic governor said, "I mean, look, s--- happens."
Today Brown expressed a higher level of concern.
"I take it very seriously, and that thing's not going to open unless it's ready," he told reporters before addressing a graduation ceremony for University of California, Berkeley political science students. "And the engineers are telling me that they're doing the kind of work that will be needed for that."
Brown said a review of bridge construction documents will require analyzing records going back as far as the Gray Davis administration.
"It's a pretty big issue," Brown said. "I drive across that bridge, too."
It was only about three months ago that Brown, participating in a live television event from the bridge location, pressed a button starting a clock counting down to the new span's opening. He said that night that the state was planning to have a bicycle race and a run, among other activities, when the bridge opened to the public.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks with reporters in Berkeley on Monday, May 20, 2013. David Siders / Sacramento Bee