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Sunday, 29 April 2007 23:16

Emergency Declaration With Destruction of I-80 Interchange in the Bay Area

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slide28Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has now issued an emergency declaration after an I-80 interchange connector to the Bay Bridge was hit by a tractor trailer hauling 8,600 gallons of gasoline. The cost of the repairs will likely run into the tens of millions of dollars, and the state is now seeking federal disaster aid. The tanker ignited after crashing into a pylon around 3:45 a.m. Sunday on an interchange connecting westbound lanes of Interstate 80, which includes the Bay Bridge, to southbound I-880 in Oakland.
slide29 The fire led to the collapse of a second interchange from eastbound I-80 to eastbound Interstate 580 located above the first interchange, Heat from the flames exceeded 2,750 degrees and caused the steel beams holding up the interchange above to buckle and bolts holding the structure together to melt, leading to the collapse, California Department of Transportation director Will Kempton said. The truck's driver suffered second-degree burns in the crash. Cross identified the driver as James Mosqueda, 51, of Woodland. Authorities said closing two sections of road that carry cars through Oakland and then east and south of the city will cause the worst disruption for Bay Area commuters since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged a section of the Bay Bridge itself. Kempton said nearly 80,000 vehicles per day use the three-lane 580 ramp and the two-lane 880 ramp through the MacArthur Maze to the Bay Bridge. State transportation officials said 280,000 commuters take the bridge into San Francisco each day.
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