Bay Area Briefs

Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:20:00 AM

High Winds Slow Bay Bridge Repairs, No  

Estimate for Reopening  


California Department of Transportation spokesman Bart Ney said Wednesday that he doesn’t know when the Bay Bridge will reopen, as crews work to repair a section of the bridge where two rods and a crossbar fell onto the upper deck Tuesday, damaging several cars.  

The failure occurred at about 5:30 p.m. on the westbound deck, just east of the new S-curve, CHP Sgt. Trent Cross said.  

The bridge was closed in both directions at about 8 p.m. after a crossbar and rods used in temporary repair work done to fix a cracked eyebar spotted on the bridge over the Labor Day weekend came loose, California Department of Transportation spokesman Bart Ney said.  

An occupant of a Ryder truck suffered a minor injury due to shattered glass from the fallen debris. No other injuries were reported.  

Ney said Wednesday that high winds “are drastically slowing down our progress” in fixing the section where the pieces fell. He said workers are putting new pieces of steel in place.  

He said “worker safety is our prime concern” and that the repair work is moving more slowly than it would have under calmer conditions.  

Once the work is completed, he said, the steel will be tested to see if the bridge can reopen or if it should remain closed for an extended period.  

Caltrans engineers haven’t yet determined what caused the rods and the crossbar to fail. 

—Bay City News  

UC Wins $15.7M Grant for Physical Scientists to Join War on Cancer 


UC Berkeley will be at the forefront of a new national effort to have physical scientists and engineers join the war on cancer thanks to a $15.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.  

Jan Liphardt, an associate professor of physics at UC Berkeley who is a biophysicist and is the principal investigator at UC Berkeley’s Physical Sciences-Oncology Center, said that most cancer research has been biology-related but chemists, engineers, physicists and mathematicians will now collaborate with biologists and oncologists.  

“There has been a lack of engaging all of the physical sciences,” Liphardt said. The NCI announced on Monday that UC Berkeley’s Physical Sciences-Oncology Center, which is a collaboration with UC San Francisco, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and San Francisco’s Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, is one of 12 centers to receive grants “to bring new perspectives to the mechanisms of cancer.”  

The first year of grants for the 12 centers will total $22.7 million nationwide.  

Liphardt said, “Nationally, this is the first effort to have physical scientists work together in close proximity with oncologists. This has never been done before.”  

UC Berkeley spokesman Bob Sanders said a new field that will be employed in the research is mechanobiology, which tries to understand how mechanical forces affect proteins, cells and tissues and cause them to be cancerous. 

—Bay City News