• Cal-Trans Engineer ?

MacArthur Maze Meltdown

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I don't know about you, but I think it takes some balls to be walking
underneath a collapsed structure like an overpass weighing the tons of
weight in concrete and rebar and whatever else these interchange / overpass
structures are made of. That guy is just plain crazy to me, but then again,
if you happen to be a Structural / Civil Engineeer, I guess you know what
you are doing...

This is another picture in my driving and flicking series at the MacArthur
Maze collapse that occurred this morning at the 80/580 interchange in
Oakland/ Emeryville CA. I took this while standing through the sunroof of a
moving car on an overpass adjacent to this disaster area.

Just to recap as to the cause of the freeway collapse: This occurred at approx.
4AM Sunday morning, April 20th. An oil tanker driver carrying 8,600 gallons
of gasoline lost control and smashed into the guard rail, the tanker ruptured,
causing a fire so intense it collapsed two sections of this interchanged onto
each other, and then to the ground below.

The only known injury was to the driver of the oil tanker, who suffered
second degree burns to his face and arms. CA Highway patrol officers
believe speed played a factor in the crash. This incident will disrupt the
commute for over 280,000 daily commuters. It is one of the busiest
interchanges in the Nation. The last disaster to hit this freeway was the
1989 Loma Prieta earthqauke.

elkit, The Project FC, iluvpepero, and 1 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. l84myflight 85 months ago | reply

    I gotta watch the news more (or not). This is the first I heard of this. A few weeks ago I learned of the fire in the port of Redwood City from another flickr contact.

  2. elkit 85 months ago | reply

    Ouch! So glad I am South Bay (not that it couldn't happen down here either).

  3. bfawn [deleted] 85 months ago | reply

    this will be a traffic nightmare.

  4. pixieclipx 85 months ago | reply

    I heard it on ABC7 News at 9AM and we headed right out there shortly thereafter... we took pix driving, and from two points on foot.

    yes, be glad, this is going to be a traffic nightmare. I use the Bay Bridge and drive in this area about once a week, so it's not too bad for me, I'm not a daily commuter, nor do I need to access this for work. I really feel for the people who have no other options, as our public transportation systems are quite dismal. I'm sure many people will need to take 1 or 2 buses before they even get to BART, and then maybe 1 or 2 buses after they get off BART. It's rarely a straight line. Thanx for the fave :)

    Yes, it will be, see my comments above ^. I feel for you if this is your commute. I think one of the best things that happened after the '89 Quake, and when AC Transit went on strike, was the tremendous amount of carpooling/ ride-sharing with strangers that occurred. That seemed to work really well for a lot of people.

  5. Mr. Mr. [deleted] 85 months ago | reply

    wow, again, good captures Pixie.

  6. misterken 85 months ago | reply

    I work on the other side of this scene. A wonder there were no fatalities.

  7. pthomas_100 85 months ago | reply

    Paula, well.......I am an engineer and I can tell you.......the guy shouldn't be walking around under it. Hey, I just noticed the car driving down the other bridge. You know they have to be just a little nervous! Do they know what caused the bridge to collapse?

  8. pixieclipx 85 months ago | reply

    Thanx, Mr. Mr. just doing a bit of photojournalism today.

    I think it was a Miracle, for sure! And a lot to do with it happening at 4AM when the freeway is virtually empty.

    pthomas_100 I would think not, at least I wouldn't. I have been first responder on many critical incident scenes, and I knew when not to be under something as perilous as this. But, structural engineers know what they are doing, and they take a lot of risks. Yes, traffic is still traveling along on the adjacent freeway interchanges in this MacArthur Maze. Yes, the cause is noted above, I updated the description since you posted. Speed + accident+ 8,600 gals. of gasoline + KABOOM! = intense fire that melted the freeway interchanges down on top of each other, than down to the ground. This will be a 6 month to 1 year project (being optimistic here, the last freeway project took 10 years after the '89 quake!!, but to be fair, it was much larger and involved tremendous amount of litigation). I'm sure they will work on this around the clock as it is one of the busiest interchanges and truck routes in the Nation.

  9. Jiffy Cat 85 months ago | reply

    I knew you would come up with some great photos of this. Hope it's not too horrible out there traffic wise. When the "Lumberjerk" knocked out a support beam on the 93 overpass a few years ago in Boston I thought it was bad. This looks much worse and much more lenghty.


  10. rcvernors 85 months ago | reply

    That will take a long time to fix.

  11. pixieclipx 85 months ago | reply

    Hi there, Jiffy! Ya know, as bad as it looks, they are moving very quickly at demolition clean-up and getting things back in working order. I think this project will be done in a swift manner...fingers crossed! I, of course, hope it's done with top notch safety!

    Ya know, I thought that too, knowing the history of CA and such projects after disasters, especially when it comes to the Bay Area, but they are moving forward really quickly, and I think they might surprise us and get this one done faster than most projects.

    My husband found my pix on a few blogs, hmmm, used w/o permission... oh well, it's a compliment to my work anyway...




  12. carabino 85 months ago | reply

    After the Northridge earthquake in 1994 downed the I-5/SR-14 interchange in Newhall Pass, they estimated repairs would take over two years.

    Working round-the-clock they finished it in 5 months. Hopefully similar results will be had here.

    It was an amazing sight to watch, with the lights and the sparks from torches, lit up the night bright as day.

  13. kellogge25 63 months ago | reply

    i thought at first another quake roked that place.

  14. Department of Photography 34 months ago | reply

    crazy! Perfect capture!

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