Caltrans Bridge Workshop Excerpts

[The treatment of the Wyoming rail is of particular note. Caltrans shows a picture of this aesthetic, visually transparent railing, but it immediately notes it falls in the "not recommended" range for post set back criteria in the AASHTO bridge rail Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) standards.

This workshop is the first time that Caltrans has mentioned any safety criterion other than the FHWA crash test (Report 350) standards. The insertion of the AASHTO LRFD standards is to become a major focus of contention between me and Caltrans, with the Coastal Commission being in the middle of the contest.

Caltrans also assumes throughout its presentation that all railings will be used as a combination pedestrian and traffic guard. Pedestrian railings in California are required to prevent passage of a 4" sphere (as a legislative consequence of a small child falling through an opening on the Golden Gate Bridge). They completely ignore the two-rail system that I have been urging since my first letter to Caltrans in August 1998.

The resulting modifications of the otherwise approved railings are shown below. The change to the original light and transparent Wyoming rail is particularly striking. The "modified Wyoming rail" rail bears no relation to it namesake.]

[This is the original "see-through railing" that Caltrans proposed in 1998, modified to make it acceptable as a pedestrian railing.]

[After the restriction to a single railing and the "safety" modifications, the Commission is given only a set of very poor choices.]