Wed, 2 May 2007
A number of listeners to my podcast have been emailing me and asking about the freeway collapse we had in the San Francisco Bay Area last Sunday (April 29, 2007). I thought I would write about it here for those who are interested.
Around 3:30 AM Sunday a gasoline truck crashed into a guard rail and overturned on the 880 freeway near the San Francisco Bay Bridge. The truck burst into flames and the fire was so hot it melted the 580 freeway structure that crosses the 880 freeway, causing it to collapse. Luckily the truck driver was able to get out of his truck in time and hailed a taxi cab who took him to a local hospital. He survived with only 2nd degree burns. No one else was injured. (See video and pictures of the collapse here.)
The freeway collapse was a major news story (and still is). I'm amazed how hot the fire got to melt the structure. The section of freeway affected is near the entrance to the San Francisco Bay bridge from the Oakland/Berkeley side of the bay (called the East Bay). It mainly affects people who work in San Francisco. Commuters can cross the Bay Bridge going into San Francisco but coming home they will need to exit the bridge and take Oakland city surface streets to by-pass the collapsed section. It will be a major traffic issue for months to come. I live in the outskirts of the Bay Area and don’t travel to San Francisco very often so this collapse doesn’t directly affect me.
As you can imagine it really affects traffic in the Bay Area. It mainly affect people who live in the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley, etc.) and work in San Francisco. With the section of the freeway gone commuters have other alternatives (other freeways and city streets) but in watching the news coverage over the past four days you would think the entire Bay Area freeway system had collapsed.
All the Bay Area radio and TV news stations have extended coverage of this event. Reporters are out in traffic; near the site of the collapsed freeway; and riding mass transit (BART). On Monday most commuters stayed home so I think the reporters were the only ones in the traffic. One TV station had an airplane; news vans; and reporters on the side of the freeway near the freeway collapse and showing how bad drivers were acting slowing down to view the collapse and causing a major traffic jam. Maybe the news crew was the REAL cause of slowdown.
I know this is major news story but when news stations only talk about this one story and run extended coverage (starting at 4 AM), something is wrong. I would love to have Dave Winer’s Checkbox News so I could opt out of this “news event” after four days. I’m tired of hearing extended coverage about commuters coping with the change and the lack of a major traffic backup.
A quick update: After four days the collapsed freeway has been removed and the inspection of remaining structure begins. Current cost: 9
Stay tuned …
Category:general -- posted at: 10:35am PST