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 Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway

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gaboman

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PostSubject: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:50 pm

Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway

OAKLAND, Calif. - A stretch of highway near the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapsed Sunday after a gasoline tanker crashed and burst into flames, a loss that officials said could leave freeways leading to one of the nation's busiest spans in near paralysis at rush hour. Officials said traffic will be disrupted for weeks, if not months.

Flames shot 200 feet in the air and the heat was intense enough to melt part of the freeway and cause the collapse, but the truck's driver walked away from the scene with second-degree burns. No other injuries were reported in the 3:45 a.m. crash, which officials said could have been deadly had it occurred at a busier time.

"I've never seen anything like it," Officer Trent Cross of the California Highway Patrol said of the crumpled interchange. "I'm looking at this thinking, 'Wow, no one died' that's amazing. It's just very fortunate."

Authorities said the damage could take months to repair, and that it would cause the worst disruption for Bay Area commuters since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged a section of the Bay Bridge itself.

Nearly 75,000 vehicles use the portion of the road every day. But because the accident occured where three highways converge, authorities said it could cause commuting problems for hundreds of thousands of people. State transportation officials said 280,000 commuters take the bridge into San Francisco each day.

On Sunday the collapse doubled the half-hour trip drivers normally face getting to and from San Francisco and the eastern suburbs even though many didn't even attempt the trip because of the crash. Traffic appeared light on the bridge itself, but motorists looking to get on and off were backed up on both sides.

Transportation officials said they already had added trains to the Bay Area Rapid Transit light rail system that takes commuters across San Francisco Bay, and were urging people to telecommute if possible.

State officials said motorists who try to take alternate routes Monday instead of relying on public transportation would face nightmarish commutes.

The tanker carrying 8,600 gallons of gasoline ignited after crashing into a pylon on the interchange, which connects westbound lanes of Interstate 80 to southbound I-880, on the edge of downtown Oakland about half a mile from the Bay Bridge's toll plaza.

A preliminary investigation indicated the driver may have been speeding on the curving road, Cross said.

Witnesses reported flames rising up to 200 feet into the air. Heat exceeded 2,750 degrees and caused the steel beams holding up the interchange from eastbound I-80 to eastbound Interstate 580 above to buckle and bolts holding the structure together to melt, leading to the collapse, California Department of Transportation director Will Kempton said.

The charred section of collapsed freeway was draped at a sharp angle onto the highway beneath, exposing a web of twisted metal beneath the concrete. Officials said that altogether a 250-yard portion of the upper roadway was damaged.

The cost of the repairs would likely run into the tens of millions of dollars, and the state was seeking federal disaster aid, Kempton said. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger planned to issue an emergency declaration Sunday afternoon to allow repairs to happen faster, said Adam Mendelsohn, the governor's spokesman.

The Bay Bridge consists of two heavily traveled, double-decked bridges about two miles long straddling San Francisco Bay.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said the accident showed how fragile the Bay area's transportation network is, whether to an earthquake or terrorist attack, and has the potential to have a major economic effect on the city.

"It's another giant wakeup call," Newsom told reporters at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego.

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shadow stalker

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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:27 pm

wow, i love how they now incorporate the threat of a terrorist attack into everything. this is getting slightly ridiculious IMO.

but anyway, yeah, double tier roadways in an earthquake prone area has never struck me as being the pinnacle of smart engineering.
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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Sun Apr 29, 2007 11:18 pm

SS, I think that they will do that for some time to come... unfortunately. It's what the terrorists want, I believe... for us to live in fear. So, if everything is being blamed on them, no matter what, then they are getting what they want.

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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:15 am

I absolutely agree with that, if you're reminded constantly of terrorists and the 'imminent danger' they pose, then they're still terrorising you without doing shit.

This was a horrible, horrible accident. I'm simply glad nobody died.

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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:40 am

yeah, the one thing i loved about being in overseas airports was NOT hearing the constant "the terror threat level is at orange, mind your baggage." ugh. stupid mindlesss !@#@$#@$@# grr...

anywho, yeah, for something like this to happen at the time it did was very fortuitous. if people had been on the highway at the time....eew.
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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:46 am

shadow stalker wrote:
"the terror threat level is at orange, mind your baggage."
Hahaha awesome. The funniest thing is that you probably didn't make that up, did you?

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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:48 am

No, he didn't, Grant. In America, we have colors for the terror threat level.

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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:50 am

No no no, not that... it's like putting the terrorist threat warning at the airport, plus coupling it with the "mind your bags" warning. Just struck me as funny, maybe it's just me.

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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:52 am

Oh... gotcha!

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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:54 am

nope, i'm not making it up, they do seem to couple the common sense act of minding your luggage with terrorism. wtf. that'd be like saying on the london subway, "the terror alert is orange, mind the gap!" anyway. the colors for terror alerts start at green, then yellow, then orange, then red, the ultraviolet, then hot pink, and then plaid. and if you're homophobic, rainbow appearantly gets thrown in. so does that make skittles taboo then or something?
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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:57 am

Hm, yes, skittles are a 'fruit' rainbow...

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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:02 am

LMAO @ SS. That was great!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Fiery crash collapses Bay Area freeway   Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:13 am

Lawless wrote:
LMAO @ SS. That was great!!!

heh i'll be here all week! Banana Dancing
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