Jerry Brown says he's 'optimistic' about Bay Bridge safety

Jerry Brown says he's 'optimistic' about Bay Bridge safety
Safety questions have arisen about the new eastern span on the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. (Noah Berger / Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown said on Tuesday that it was too early to be overly concerned about the safety of the new Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge scheduled to open later this year, and affirmed his confidence in the state’s experts who are analyzing the bridge’s safety.

"Professional engineers are looking at this thing and when they're ready to give us their report, I think the public will be satisfied," Brown told reporters in West Sacramento outside a memorial for fallen Highway Patrol officers.

Concerns about the integrity of the bridge were raised earlier this year when state officials revealed that more than 2,300 bolts of a type that have been banned from use on bridges because they were deemed too brittle were used to construct the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, which connects Oakland and San Francisco.

Earlier this year, 32 of 96 bolts installed in 2008 cracked when they were tightened by construction workers. Subsequent tests on hundreds of other bolts have shown no sign of failure.

Brown was fatalistic about the developments.

"I don't know if it's a setback," he said. "I mean, look, [stuff] happens … I'm optimistic until proven otherwise."