A large pothole caused a traffic backup and prompted a Sig-Alert on Interstate 580 in Livermore for most of the day Wednesday, finally reopening about 10:30 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
The pothole was reported at 4:13 a.m. on westbound I-580 at the Greenville Road offramp, near Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. The repair work shut down two westbound lanes and took about 18 hours to complete.
Caltrans officials said the prolonged repair was due to cement trucks getting caught in the very traffic jam the pothole was causing.
Joe Melchior is the operations manager for Save Tow, and usually potholes would mean good business for his towing company. on Wednesday, that was not the case.
"We got a dispatcher that lives 30 miles from here in Manteca. It took her three hours, 45 minutes to get to work," he said. "We towed four or five vehicles into the Central Valley this morning. We could not get those drivers back. They were stuck in the mess trying to get back."
According to the CHP, the pothole damaged more than a dozen cars that were stuck on the shoulder with flat tires and other problems. At least six cars had to be towed away, about 6 a.m.
It's frustrating for Caltrans because they say roads crumble due to rainy weather. Add that to a heavily traveled road like the Altamont Pass, and it's a recipe for disaster.
For Heather Self, that means a very bumpy ride.
"With a stick and low impact car, it feels like your bottoming out with the potholes," she said. "They make a huge impact on it."