expert opinions

Following the Labor Day Weekend project on the Bay Bridge, KQED Radio News’ Cy Musiker ran a story about bridge safety questions including critical comments from an authority on the bridge, UC Berkeley’s Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl.  I found it difficult to listen to this story, partly because the audio for Prof. Astaneh-Asl was really bad, but mostly because it seemed like he was just speculating about the bridge being unsafe.  Since they’d found a pretty serious flaw in part of the bridge suspension, he said that there probably more problems that they just hadn’t seen yet.  OK, maybe.  But maybe not?  Without anything more to go on, I’m not sure why Cy went ahead with his “Is the Bay Bridge Safe?” story.  It just seemed alarmist.  I’m re-reading American Ground, and Prof. Astaneh-Asl shows up here as well.  His portrayal in the book is not too flattering; he comes across as something of an opportunist, with a penchant for making attention-getting claims that turn out to be called into question.  I’d missed the follow-up story the next day, where Cy interviews Tony Anziano, the Caltrans project manager for seismic upgrades on bridges, and who would presumably know what he’s talking about.  He says the bridge is safe, which I accept as the answer to the question posed the previous day.

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