Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in San Francisco

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Photo: MTC.

After recent issues with pieces of concrete falling from the upper road deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) will conduct a year-long inspection of the bridge, CBS 5 reports. The inspection will start with the road deck

“Look, the way we treat these very large and complex structures is that they should last forever,” said MTC Deputy Executive Director of Operations Andrew Fremier, according to the news outlet. “So our intent and our maintenance opportunities are designed to make sure that they last well beyond what anybody might have assumed as a design life.”

The size and importance of the cantilever design of the bridge raises the stakes. Engineers will check to see if the salt water and fog in the Bay Area have caused damage to the steel on the cantilever bridge. If so, where it is and how bad it is will help them determine how many years the bridge might have left and what needs to be done to make it safe.

“I think with bridges like the Richmond and the old Carquinez Bridge, we are starting to see that we know at some point in the future they should be removed and replaced,” Fremier added, the news agency reports. “The question then becomes, ‘is that the right time to invest in it.’”