Caltrans says steel to repair collapsed Maze
hard to find
By Jeff Shuttleworth
April 30, 2007
The availability of steel could determine how quickly repairs
are made to the portion of the MacArthur Maze that collapsed after
a fuel tanker crashed and ignited Sunday morning, Caltrans Director
Will Kempton said today.
"We will be searching the countryside for steel that will
be used for the upper structure" that collapsed, Kempton
told reporters at a briefing near the site of the crash and spectacular
fire that reached temperatures as high as 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit.
He said, "You can't just buy steel off the shelf at the
Caltrans Director Will Kempton
Kempton said Caltrans hopes to find a U.S. source for the steel
needed for the project but will consider buying steel overseas
The tanker, which was carrying about 8,600 gallons of gasoline,
was headed westbound in Interstate Highway 80 toward southbound
Interstate Highway 880 when it crashed and set off a blaze so
intense that a stretch of the I-80 to Interstate Highway 580 connector,
above the ramp, gave way and tumbled onto the roadway below.
Kempton said work to demolish and clean up the damaged section
of the I-580 connector is proceeding quicker than originally thought
and is now expected to be completed either late tonight or early
He said Caltrans hopes to complete an assessment of the damage
to the I-880 connector by the end of the day on Tuesday.
Kempton said he hopes the damage to the I-880 connector is "minimal,"
in which case it could be repaired and reopened "in a relatively
But "all bets are off" if the damage is severe and
there are structural problems, he said.
Work on the I-580 connector likely will take longer and there
aren't any estimates at this time on how long it will take, Kempton
Contractor Cleveland Wrecking Co., which is based on Covina and
has been working on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge retrofit
project, is doing the demolition work.
Kempton said contractor ACC West Coast, which is headquartered
in Lakewood, Colo., and has a regional office in Benicia, already
was doing seismic retrofit work underneath the MacArthur Maze,
has been hired to do the I-880 connector repair work.
Kempton said Federal Highway Administration officials were at
the explosion site today. He said he's hopeful the officials will
agree that the repair work is eligible for federal emergency relief
He said members of California's congressional delegation tentatively
are expected to tour the site on Friday.
Kempton said Caltrans is assessing the strength of the I-880
connector in a variety of ways, including visual inspections,
x-rays and gauging its tension to see what kinds of loads it can
"We won't put people on an unsafe structure," he said.
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