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baybridge.jpgThe new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will open after Labor Day weekend as originally scheduled, after a broken-bolt problem prompted officials last month to announce the opening would be delayed, state transportation officials announced this morning.

The announcement by the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, which oversees construction, comes after the officials in July said the opening would be postponed. The committee, which includes the directors of Caltrans, the California Transportation Commission and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, embraced a temporary retrofit for a broken-bolt problem. The temporary fix involves "shimming" seismic bearings with steel plates.

The Federal Highway Administration said last week its review team "was impressed with the level of expertise used to fashion this interim" solution. The FHA said shimming the bearings would improve the bridge's ability to withstand seismic forces.

It said "we see no reason to delay opening the bridge to traffic" before a permanent fix is made.

State transportation officials said shims already have been fabricated, at a cost of about $250,000.

An ongoing Bee investigation has raised questions about the bridge's structural integrity. Completion of the $6.4 billion span has been mired in controversy about cost overruns and construction and testing lapses.

The bridge is expected to be closed for as many as five days, beginning Wednesday evening, Aug. 28 and re-opening early in the morning of Sept. 3.

Editor's note: This post was updated at 11:54 a.m. to include the committee's vote on the bridge's opening date and at 12:24 p.m. to provide more detail about days on which construction is expected to be done.

This photo taken Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 shows the new eastern section to the left of the current eastern span of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco. AP Photo/Eric Risberg



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