CalTrans assessing MacArthur Maze interstate
connector collapse damage following gas tanker explosion
A section of eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate
Highway 580 collapsed this morning following a gas tanker explosion.
By Caitilin McAdoo, Ari Barak, Elizabeth Daley
April 29, 2007
Roughly 280,000 commuters feed through Oakland's MacArthur Maze
to the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge every day, where a portion
of the freeway collapsed
this morning, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Lauren Wonder.
"The structure is heavily damaged," Wonder said. The
Monday morning commute is going to "a nightmare," she
The connector ramp from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 from
the Bay Bridge to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 collapsed after
a tanker carrying 8,600 gallons of gas overturned and exploded
at 3:42 a.m. this morning, according to California Highway Patrol
Officer Trenton Cross.
The tanker was apparently traveling too fast on the connector
ramp from westbound Interstate Highway 80 to southbound Interstate
Highway 880 when it lost control, struck a guardrail and overturned,
Heat from the explosion rose and caused 250 yards of the connector
ramp from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 from the San Francisco
Bay Bridge to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 to collapse, according
Assessment crews are on scene now and will be evaluating the
damage as soon as fire and CHP officials confirm that it is safe,
It was not known how far along the roadway before and after the
collapse the damage extends, according to Wonder.
Caltrans highway engineers are headed to Oakland from Sacramento
to further assess the damage, Wonder said.
The collapsed ramp from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound
Interstate Highway 580 will have to be demolished and then rebuilt,
"Unofficially, it's going to take months," Wonder said.
"This is major damage."
The connector from westbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound
Interstate Highway 580 is now open, but eastbound Interstate Highway
80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 remains closed, according
to the CHP.
Traffic continues to flow onto the bridge. Travelers wishing
to enter San Francisco from the East Bay may take Interstate Highway
80, which remains open.
According to Cross, the driver was not intoxicated but was traveling
at an "unsafe speed," lost control and overturned. The
driver walked away from the crash and took a taxi from a nearby
gas station to Kaiser hospital in Oakland, where he is being treated
for second degree burns to his hands, arms and face, according
Travelers coming from San Francisco to Oakland or Hayward, as
well as those traveling from Berkeley to Oakland, on Monday, will
likely experience problems and should seek alternative routes
or public transportation, Cross said.
Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.