Some Bay Area drivers heading over the new Bay Bridge are feeling some nervousness because the barriers along the side of the span appear to be shorter than on the old eastern span.
Some people told KTVU the barriers look too short to stop a vehicle from going over into San Francisco Bay, but Caltrans experts insist drivers may be seeing an optical illusions induced by the old bridge.
The guard rails on the new eastern span may look a little too short to some folks, but Caltrans said these barriers are tried and true.
"It has been crash tested again and again," said Caltrans Toll Bridge Program Manager Tom Anziano. "It is probably the most widely used barrier railing in the United States."
The guard rails' design and job are two-fold.
"Well, it's basically to redirect them back into the traveled way to keep them from A, going through it and B, from basically striking a blunt end, which causes a lot of damage to a car," explained Anziano.
Bridge users we met on Treasure Island Wednesday were completely at ease.
"I think they really thought it out and you'd have to really get out of hand to go over the edge," said Palo Alto resident Jeff Kelly.
Janet Sherman of Brentwood agreed.
"I had no more concern than going over the San Mateo Bridge," said Sherman. "It seemed you could see the water. And, of course, one always needs to be careful."
The old span's barriers were higher. More importantly, both decks of the old bridge were partially enclosed because of the cantilevers.
"There's nothing surrounding you," said Myra Main of Livermore. "There's no... I don't know, feeling of security I guess, people got from that. I felt very secure."
Sherman noted that reckless could make the height of the barrier immaterial.
"But of course, if someone is driving in a very unsafe fashion, no barrier is safe," said Sherman.
"Extreme events do occur," admitted Anziano.
On the steel suspension span of the new Bay Bridge, there are metallic clones of the concrete ones used everywhere else on the bridge. Caltrans said those cones have the same strength and testing of the concrete ones.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.