Overturned Truck Wrecks Bay Bridge Commute

It took crews six hours to clear a big-rig that crashed and  overturned mid-span on the westbound San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

CHP spokesman Shawn Chase said the driver of a Safeway truck tried  to slow down as he entered the new S-curve section of the bridge at about  2:30 p.m. but lost control and crashed, initially closing four out of five  lanes.

The CHP had initially estimated the truck could be cleared by 5  p.m., but the effort to right the truck ended up taking several additional hours. 

Chase said traffic approaching the area was "horrendous."  Drivers were told to avoid the Bay Bridge and take either the Golden Gate Bridge or  the San Mateo Bridge.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash, which Chase called  "a minor miracle."

"It was very fortunate," Chase said. "He went across all four  lanes and didn't hit anyone."

The driver reported pain in his lower leg but is "fine," Chase  said.

Chase said the driver has been working for Safeway for some time  and has navigated the Bay Bridge many times, but this was the first time with  the newly added section.  

He reportedly told investigators he was driving at 55 mph at the  time, saw a 40-mph sign at the beginning of the S-curve zone and slowed down  too late.

Chase said the top of the truck's trailer ripped open during the  crash, spilling its contents onto the road.   

Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said today that in the wake of recent  crashes at the S-curve, the agency will begin installing further safety  precautions later this week, including additional 40-mph-zone signage, radar  signs displaying vehicle speed, and an epoxy grit surface over steel plates  at both ends of the S-curve for better traction.

Caltrans is also considering adding "rumble bumps," reflectors  that make a noise when drivers cross them, at the approaches to the S-curve,  Ney said.

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