A massive sinkhole caused the collapse and closure of Alhambra Valley Road, near Pinole and Richmond, on Wednesday, according to the Contra Costa County Department of Public Works.
The road was closed indefinitely after the pavement and earth below it crumbled and washed away, leaving a large gap on a popular roadway in the East Bay.
"This route to DVC, for me, cuts a 22-mile commute to 13 miles, so that’s crazy," said Andony Husary of Pinole.
Drivers were forced onto alternate routes as crews scrambled to repair the road.
"The Pinole Creek, it runs right through there," Pinole resident Jeremy Gomez said. "There’s probably a 6 to 8-foot drainage pipe under there. Obviously it went out. It’s crazy, real deep. I don’t know how they’re going to fix it."
County officials also closed several other roads Wednesday because of mudslides and flooding. Another sinkhole opened in Orinda after heavy rains washed away part of a culvert near Miner and Camino Pablo roads.
Utility crews there couldn't work fast enough.
"We are actually having to triage the lower priorities to probably the following days," said Larry Theis, Orinda's Public Works director. "It does take up to 6,000 cars a day, so it is a major corridor."
Meanwhile, county crews worked to reopen Marsh Creek Road, Morgan Territory Road and McEwen Road.
Drivers are encouraged to use Interstate 680 or Highway 4 as alternate routes. There was not an estimated timeframe for reopening the roads.
In Martinez, the downtown area was still partially in the dark after overflowing Alhambra Creek flooded some businesses and residences late Tuesday night. PG&E crews were working to restopre power Wednesday night.
In Benicia, city officials declared a state of emergency after flood waters overwhelmed storm draind and seeped into homes and businesses.
In Lafayette, a massive tree crashed into the family room of Mark Vaisnor’s home while his 88-year-old father was standing in the nearby kitchen.
"This is much worse than the storm that came in over the weekend," he said. "It’s unbelievable."
The flooding in Contra Costa County resulted from overflowing backed-up creeks, blocked drainage inlets, broken levees and heavy rain, officials said.