A critical component of the Bay Bridge Seismic Retrofit Projects involves Risk Management—ensuring that construction and engineering jobs are on-time and on-budget. This process reflects a methodical approach to planning for, identifying, analyzing, responding to, and monitoring project risks. The goal is to help project leaders efficiently complete their projects while mitigating risks that might impede that success.
The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) has hailed the Bay Bridge approach to risk management as a sophisticated model for other transportation programs throughout the country. The NCHRP notes that "the overriding goal of the program is to help to keep the Bay Bridge Seismic Safety Projects on schedule and within budget."
This unique process takes a comprehensive and fully integrated approach to each phase of risk management, guided by a dedicated and focused team that identifies and assesses potential risks and opportunities for each project on the East Span, thereby helping reduce program costs and keep projects on track.
Project teams adhere to a six-step process that constantly monitors existing risks while helping anticipate potential risks. The six steps are:
- Management planning – Determines and ensures that the methods used are suitable to ultimately mitigate risks.
- Identification – Identifies risks using a mix of standard risks and project specific potential risks.
- Qualitative analysis – Ranks risks based on how likely they are to occur, as well as their impact on project goals, including whether the risk will make a project over-budget or behind schedule, and by how much.
- Quantitative analysis – Estimates the probability that a project will be on-time and on-budget, based on the qualitative analysis.
- Response planning – Teams consider various strategies to mitigate risk, include altering the project's scope, schedule or budget; or mitigation by taking early steps to reduce the threat, impact or possibility of a risk.
- Monitoring and control – A risk owner is assigned to monitor and manage each risk.
Risk management has proven to be an invaluable asset in dealing with the inherent risks in a project as massive and complex in scope and scale as the Bay Bridge. The Yerba Buena Island Transition Structure (YBITS) has benefitted from risk management. The project team recognized that construction on a majority of the structure's foundations could begin early, thereby eliminating risk to the schedule. The foundation work was moved from the YBITS contract to an existing contract, enabling crews to start work on the foundations early, and eliminating the potential for time-consuming delays.
Risk management also helped reduce or eliminate risk in other projects, including the Yerba Buena Island Viaduct replacement during Labor Day 2007; creation of the team of design, construction, and material and engineering testing experts overseeing all aspects of steel fabrication for the Self-Anchored Suspension Span; and the early replacement of submerged electrical cables between Oakland and Yerba Buena and Treasure Islands.