Tutor-Saliba working on broken freewayBy David Goll, Marie-Anne Hogarth
In the aftermath of the Sunday gasoline tanker accident and explosion that destroyed two MacArthur Maze connector ramps, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said she is in touch with government agencies at all levels to speed repair work.
"Everyone is committed to making sure that the disruptions to local commuters are as short and as painless as possible," Lee said in a statement. "My office is working with federal, state and local agencies to ensure that they have the full support of the federal government to make the necessary repairs to our local freeways.
"We have been in ongoing contact with Caltrans, the Department of Transportation, local transit operators as well as the Congressional committees that oversee transportation funding, and we aim to make sure the federal response to this accident is robust and timely."
Transit agencies including BART and AC Transit added extra trains and buses Monday to handle potential commuting headaches. BART offered free rides and free parking Monday and added extra cars to its trains throughout the day, not just during peak rush-hour periods.
But the free ride is over starting Tuesday. Oakland-based BART will reinstate train and parking fees Tuesday, but will continue to run longer trains throughout the day, as well as six additional train trips between Pleasant Hill and the Montgomery Street station in San Francisco during the morning rush-hour period, according to BART spokesman Jim Allison.
On Monday, leaders of Bay Area transit agencies, trucking companies and the larger business community said they do not think the lack of congestion in and around the MacArthur Maze in Oakland will continue as the work week wears on.
They say the full impact of the collapse of the ramps connecting interstates 80, 580 and 880 has yet to be felt.
Richard Coyle, president of Devine Intermodal, a West Sacramento-based trucking company, said Monday his trucks' movements in and out of the busy Port of Oakland were easier than anticipated Monday.
"Today, I don't think, is a clear indication of what reality will be like in a few days or next week," Coyle said. "I think a lot of people did something different today, like stay home."
Coyle added that if port-area traffic does get worse later this week, "then we will have to pay the drivers more ... and we would have to charge the cargo drivers."
He said a driver coming from Stockton might carry two loads in a single day to the port, which could become more difficult to accomplish within existing port hours of operation if traffic worsens.
Michael Bauman, president of Bauman Landscape in Richmond, said he also anticipates more problems, describing the MacArthur Maze as "a nightmare before" the accident, "and now it is going to be 10 times as bad."
He said his company routinely buys materials from a quarry in Vallejo and transports them to a job site in Castro Valley, a trip that could take an additional hour if congestion gets as bad as expected.
The accident has become a business opportunity for some companies, with Cleveland Wrecking Co. of Oakland getting a contract worth an estimated $2 million to demolish the damaged roadway, a process already under way, according to the California Department of Transportation. And employees of Tutor-Saliba Corp., a Sylmar-based construction company, have begun work shoring up the roadway with temporary supports so the demolition project can proceed, Caltrans said.
Copyright ©2007 East Bay Business Journal. Published 04/30/2007.