OAKLAND -- Public confidence in Caltrans has "taken a beating" as a result of broken Bay Bridge rods that are expected to cost as much as $10 million to fix, said a high-ranking transportation official. Because of the selected fix, the agency does not yet know if it can meet the planned Labor Day opening.

Speaking at a meeting of the Bay Area Toll Authority on Wednesday morning, Steve Heminger, executive director of Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said there are a lot of factors involved in making a decision on timing of the bridge opening, including a review of the problems by the Federal Highway Administration. It's review will help determine how to proceed with inspections and fixes.

California Transportation Commission Executive Director Andre Boutros told those at the meeting that the planned repair for seismic safety rods that snapped on the new span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge could cost between $5 million and $10 million.

The rods connect steel earthquake safety devices called shear keys to the deck of the bridge and a large concrete cap. Shear keys help control swaying during an earthquake.

Boutros said officials plan to install a "saddle" over the shear key where 32 broken rods -- part of a batch of steel manufactured in 2008 -- are embedded. Those rods have been deemed worthless in providing seismic stability for the bridge. Boutros said the repair will provide the same high level of seismic safety as was called for in the original design of the bridge.

He said officials are still hopeful they can open the bridge on schedule on Labor Day, but that decision will have to wait until another special meeting scheduled for May 29. At that time, transportation officials will be able to update the commissioners about further testing on other bay bridge bolts manufactured in 2010, and whether those pieces will have to be replaced, and the timetable for accomplishing that.

The new bridge, which is replacing a span damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, is designed to withstand a major temblor. It is already years late in opening and billions of dollars over budget.