CalTrans issues emergency proclomation
for MacArthur Maze partial collapse
By Caitilin McAdoo, Ari Barak
April 29, 2007
Caltrans officials are working with the Federal Highway Administration
to try to get federal funding to help pay for repairs to the portion
of the MacArthur Maze in Oakland that collapsed
early this morning after a tanker truck crashed and exploded,
Director of Caltrans Will Kempton said during a news conference
Although it's too soon to know how much it will cost to repair
the roadway, Kempton said,"It's not going to be cheap."
Caltrans has also issued an emergency proclamation, Kempton said.
The proclamation activates emergency provisions, such as special
purchasing and contracting powers, and is a prerequisite for requesting
a proclamation of a state of emergency from the governor's office,
according to the state Office of Emergency Services.
About 250 yards of the connector ramp from eastbound Interstate
Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 collapsed early
this morning after a tanker truck carrying 8,600 gallons of gasoline
apparently took a curve too quickly on the highway ramp below
The tanker had been heading westbound on Interstate Highway 80
to southbound Interstate Highway 880 directly below the I-80 to
I-580 ramp when, at 3:42 a.m., the driver, 51-year-old Woodland
resident James Mosqueda, lost control of the truck. The truck
crashed into a guardrail and overturned, California Highway Patrol
Officer Trenton Cross said.
caught fire, but Mosqueda was able to escape before it exploded
into flames. Cross said there was one large explosion followed
by several smaller explosions. The fire then burned for some time
because of the large amount of fuel.
Heat from the fire, which reached temperatures estimated at up
to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, rose and caused the metal bolts and
girders on the highway connector ramp above to melt. The overpass
then gave way and collapsed.
Meanwhile, Mosqueda, who suffered second-degree burns to his
hands, arms and face, walked off the highway ramp to a nearby
gas station, where he stopped a cab and got a ride to a nearby
hospital, Cross said.
California Highway Patrol Commissioner Mike Brown said that Mosqueda
was expected to recover from his injuries. Nobody else was hurt
in the incident and no other cars were involved in the crash.
Caltrans hired a demolition contractor this morning and crews
were ready to start removing debris as soon as it was deemed safe.
It was not immediately known if they had already begun the demolition
Once the debris is removed, assessment
crews will be able to determine the extent of damage to the
lower roadway, Kempton said. Both ramps are closed indefinitely,
according to Caltrans spokeswoman Lauren Wonder.
"I'm not going to speculate on a time frame," Kempton
An estimated 30,000 to 35,000 cars travel on each of the two
ramps each day, Kempton said.
Brown said this afternoon that the CHP will be asking for the
public's patience on Monday and commuters are being urged to take
public transportation to work.
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