"We are committed to working collaboratively with any agency to better understand how this issue might impact their specific project," she said.

Sika has hired a team of independent experts to analyze potential risks and make recommendations and has instituted new quality control testing before grout is shipped to contractors, Pisciotta said.

In the meantime, federal officials are requiring field testing to verify the chloride content of grout used in highway construction. The Federal Highway Administration laboratory in Virginia is conducting tests to determine the long-term effects of chloride-contaminated grout on steel cable, with results due early next year.

The outcome will be shared with state officials, "to provide further advice," the agency said.

If a problem arises, it is unclear who would pay for repairs.

The FHA said any financial settlement would be a matter covered by contract law in each state. Pisciotta said Sika would be part of "continued conversations."

But Kerley said in the case of the Wilson Bridge, Maryland and Virginia "would take care of the problem right away and then address what's next to ensure the Woodrow Wilson Bridge lasts 100 years."

candy.thomson@baltsun.com

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