Governor Schwarzenegger directs series of Bay Bridge maze collapse actions

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to hold a news conference at 10:00 p.m. tonight in Oakland with Caltrans and California Highway Patrol officials on this morning’s collapse of a section of freeway in Oakland’s Macarthur Maze.

The news conference will take place at the collapse site near the eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 connector. Directions to the location will be forthcoming later this evening, according to Schwarzenegger’s press office.

Schwarzenegger will survey the damage and discuss the state’s response to the catastrophe.

Since this morning’s early freeway collapse of I-580 at the MacArthur Maze, the state has taken actions to minimize the upcoming difficulties for Bay Area commuters.

“Gov. Schwarzenegger directed the state to use every available resource to reduce the incident’s impact on the Bay Area,” said Dale E. Bonner, secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency which oversees the Department of Transportation and the California Highway Patrol.

“Caltrans Director Will Kempton and CHP Commissioner Mike Brown have been on the scene since this morning to help manage the traffic situation and expedite repairs on the freeway.”

Steps taken earlier today by the state to manage today’s roadway collapse include:

– Caltrans structural engineers have been on site since early this morning, assessing damage and formulating repair designs.

– Caltrans has already hired a contractor for debris removal. The contractor is already on site and work is expected to start soon.

– CHP has dispatched a Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team to conduct in-depth investigations and analyses of major traffic incident.

– CHP has sent an airplane to fly over the site to provide video downlink to its Traffic Management Centers so traffic flow can be monitored and managed.

– CHP will have extra patrols/assets in the area over the next few days to assist with traffic control.

– The Highway Patrol has established an on scene incident command and is diverting traffic.

– The state will reimburse local transit authorities (including BART, AC Transit and ferry operators) for the cost of providing free public transit services for San Francisco Bay Area commuters for Monday, April 30, 2007.

The interchanges from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580, and from westbound Interstate Highway 80 to southbound Interstate Highway 880, remain closed indefinitely.

For drivers traveling from San Francisco to Hayward, take eastbound Interstate Highway 80 over the Bay Bridge to southbound Interstate Highway 880.

For drivers going from San Francisco to Walnut Creek: after the Bay Bridge, exit eastbound Interstate Highway 80 at West Grand Avenue, take a left on Northgate Avenue, then enter the on-ramp to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 towards state Highway 24, and take eastbound state Highway 24 to Interstate Highway 680.

Four other alternate routes from San Francisco to parts of the East Bay are recommended:

– Take southbound U.S. Highway 101 to the eastbound San Mateo Bridge (state Highway 92) to Interstate Highway 880 north or south.

– Take southbound U.S. Highway 101 to the eastbound Dumbarton Bridge (state Highway 84) to Interstate Highway 880 north or south.

– Take northbound U.S. Highway 101 over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge on eastbound Interstate Highway 580.

– Take eastbound Interstate Highway 80 and exit the Albany/Buchanan off-ramp, turn left under the freeway, left onto westbound Interstate Highway 80, and follow to eastbound Interstate Highway 580.

For drivers going from Richmond to San Jose: take westbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580, then take westbound Interstate Highway 980 to southbound Interstate Highway 880.

Going from Richmond to San Francisco, drivers can take westbound Interstate Highway 880 to the Bay Bridge without any detours.

Going from San Francisco to Sacramento, drivers can take eastbound Interstate Highway 880 to Sacramento without any detours.

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 today.

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.

Office of the Governor of California and Bay City News

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