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A gasoline tanker truck that crashed and burned on early Sunday morning, April 29, caused the collapse of a freeway bridge in one of the nation’s busiest interchanges in Oakland, Calif.-the MacArthur Maze-near the east end of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. According to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the westbound I-80 connector to southbound I-880 and the eastbound I-80 to eastbound I-580 connectors were closed by the collapse. Two, 82-foot-long bridge spans were damaged, Caltrans says, eliminating routes used by about 80,000 vehicles a day.

Debris removal and demolition began immediately with emergency funding provided by the state and the Federal Highway Administration as commuters were advised to take public transportation to avoid the area and diminish traffic tie-ups. Following around-the-clock debris removal and repair, the I-880 connector opened to traffic on Monday morning, May 7.

Caltrans engineers quickly prepared a bid package for replacement of the I-580 connector bridge spans, keeping the design the same as the original structure, but requiring fabrication of custom-made steel girders. Caltrans advertised bids for the repair job on Thursday, May 3, and opened bids and awarded the project yesterday, Monday, May 7. Construction work is expected to begin this morning.

Total cost of the repair project is estimated to be less than $20 million. The contract requires that the I-580 connector be opened to traffic by June 29, with a $200,000-per-day incentive for early completion and a $200,000-per-day disincentive for late opening. The winning, low-bid contractor is being selected from "a short list of pre-qualified, competent bidders who have demonstrated their ability to build bridges and freeways in California," Caltrans says.

More information on the MacArthur Maze damage and repair, including "Maze Cams," is available at www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/mazedamage.