Gas Tanker Crash Melts California Bay Area Overpass

A gas tanker truck crashed on a heavily used overpass in the San Francisco Bay Area early Sunday morning, causing a large fire, which subsequently melted a 250-yard section of a major expressway just off of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. As the 8,600 gallons of fuel burned, the heat of the fire melted the upper deck of the overpass, causing it to fall on the lower level.

The driver walked away with burns and no other injuries were reported.

According to Department of Transportation officials, this key highway section collapse, in the area known as the MacArthur Maze, affects approximately 280,000 commuters, who are being advised to take rail transporation. As of press time, structural engineers were still inspecting the area to determine the costs and extent of repairs.

However, the damage and subsequent effects on commuters is calling into questions whether California would be prepared for a major earthquake. Damage from this crash is expected to cause the worst traffic disruption in the Bay Area for commuters since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. And repairing the overapss could take months, officials indicated.