Tech who faked tests also worked on new Bay Bridge

UPDATE 11/14, 3:36 p.m. PST: Caltrans says they have fired Duane Wiles and his supervisor, Brian Liebich.


Caltrans insists the new Bay Bridge is safe, but the Sacramento Bee has caught them in a boo-boo.

In an extraordinarily detailed story, the Bee shows how Duane Wiles, a structural technician who faked results on at least three highway projects, also worked to verify the integrity of the pilings beneath new Bay Bridge. Wiles’ work — and Caltrans overall testing of the tower pilings — was examined by experts, who question whether any of the 13 piles were properly tested.

The same experts agree any flaws missed (or fabricated out of existence) are basically impossible to detect now, and that the piles would be impossibly expensive to retrofit if they were flawed.

Again, Caltrans swears by their work. Caltrans Chief engineer Robert Pieplow wrote The Bee:

“As for the Bay Bridge … the (tower foundations) are safe and it would be highly misleading and irresponsible to suggest otherwise.”

We sure hope so.