Posts Tagged ‘CalTrans’

More than 40 crashes on S-curve of death, CHP says

Last night’s big rig plunge off the Bay Bridge, which happened at 3:30 a.m. when a semi with a load of pears hit the infamous S-curve too fast, was only the latest of more than forty accidents on the suddenly jinxed bridge, the CHP said, as reported by KTVU TV’s website.

The truck hit the curve at 50 m.p.h., which is the speed limit for much of the bridge, but not for the S-curve, a temporary detour installed over the Labor Day weekend as part of the decade-long Bay Bridge earthquake retrofit project. After a big rig crashed on the curve Oct. 14, spilling cargo across four lanes, CalTrans lowered the speed limit on the curve to 35 m.p.h. and installed new signs, but evidently they weren’t enough to draw the attention of a sleepy produce truck driver in the middle of the night.

The driver was killed when the truck went over the guardrail and plunged 200 feet to the ground on the shore of Yerba Buena Island.

Quoted in the story, a CalTrans spokesman blamed the driver, saying the crash was “another example of poor judgment.”

A reel of “raw video” on the KPIX website shows the impact scene before dawn, including a grotesque image of the driver’s severed forearm and hand.

Don’t count on Monday morning bridge reopening

Safety engineers were still testing the most recent repairs to the Bay Bridge over the weekend, and the word mid-Sunday afternoon is: don’t count on the bridge being available for the Monday morning commute. Better plan alternatives. Update @ 5:20 pm: That’s confirmed, no Monday morning on the bridge.

Pictures show an eerily empty toll plaza, an eerily empty bridge, and stuffed BART trains. Meanwhile, a car thief blew through barricades in San Francisco and led police on a chase over the closed bridge, and most people in San Francisco today completely forgot there was any problem at all, since it’s a gorgeous, sunny, warm 1st of November.

Bridge still closed through Friday evening commute

bridge_closedEngineers were continuing to test the completed fix-to-the-repair on the suddenly dubious Bay Bridge today, and CalTrans announced at 10:00 a.m. today that the bridge would remain closed throughout the Friday evening commute. It could possibly open as early as late Friday evening. You can click the map at left for a current traffic map or go to

You can text the word ALERT to 45227 (which is KCBS radio) and get a text message when the Bay Bridge reopens.

Update, 3:20 pm: The site now says the bridge will be closed “through Friday,” but “if” the bridge remains closed, BART will run hourly all-night service to the East Bay tonight and Saturday night. Here’s the all-night BART details. Note that only 14 stations will be in operation overnight.

Public pleads with CalTrans: Don’t rush repairs again

The Bay Bridge could be open as early as Thursday evening “if everything goes perfectly” with repairs to the troublesome spot on the cantilever span, CalTrans told KRON Channel 4 today. “If something happens during the testing” and they have to adjust the repairs, it could take days longer.

Meanwhile, a UC Berkeley engineering expert was being quoted in news reports saying the design of the first fix — which was done while crews were cleaning up from the mammoth Labor Day re-route — was “not correct” and left the span vulnerable to complete collapse in the event of an earthquake. It was nothing more than a Band-Aid, he said.

An Associated Press article quoted a driver as saying the accident yesterday had caused her to lose “so much confidence in the experts, the millions of dollars that are being spent to reconstruct and build a new bridge,” referring to the decade-long project that will eventually replace the entire cantilever section with a suspension bridge.

The failure was probably caused by continuous heavy winds this week, CalTrans said. Wind continued gusty today while a new repair was being worked on. Asked to describe what the new design was like, a CalTrans spokesman said, “Think of a big belt around a piece of wood.”

Somehow that image doesn’t comfort me.

BREAKING: Bay Bridge closed again after repair fails

The Bay Bridge was closed around 7 pm this evening after the emergency repair accomplished over the Labor Day weekend broke apart, raining heavy steel pieces and cables down on westbound traffic.

California Highway Patrol officers are still working, two hours after the incident, to clear heavy traffic from the bridge, after which it will be closed in both directions indefinitely. Monitor the Twitter account @baybridgeinfo for information.

New Harrison St. offramp to open Monday

CalTrans will reopen a brand-new Harrison St. offramp from the Bay Bridge to the South Beach district at 5:00 a.m. Monday morning, three and a half years after the original exit closed in 2005. For drivers new to the area, the exit is a left exit off the bridge, half a mile before the left-hand Fifth St. exit.

The new ramp is another milestone in the multi-year project to earthquake-retrofit the bridge, the biggest piece of which will replace the eastern span (the part between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland) with a new suspension structure due to open, oh, seven or eight years from now.

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