HAYWARD (CBS SF) — All lanes of I-880 in Hayward have reopened Friday afternoon after a tank of acid started leaking from a flatbed at the Winton Avenue on-ramp, impacting traffic in the East Bay for hours.
CHP announced that southbound lanes of I-880 reopened at about 4:50 p.m., over three and a half hours since initially closing to traffic due to the tank leak on a big-rig truck at about 12:30 p.m.
Northbound lanes of I-880 lanes reopened at around 3:45 p.m. after being closed by the incident for nearly 90 minutes starting at 2:10 p.m., CHP said.
According to Hayward Fire Department officials, at around 12:30 p.m. the driver of a truck noticed the 300-gallon tank on the back was leaking a blend of sulfuric and nitric acid onto on the Winton Avenue on-roam and pulled over.
The driver pulled the truck to the side of the road where the tank is currently leaking acid onto the dirt and creating a vapor plume that blew southeast near the W. Winton Ave on-ramp to southbound I-880, fire officials said.
A Sigalert was issued at about 1:15 p.m. stating all lanes of I-880 were blocked due to the truck leaking hazardous substance. Traffic is being diverted off to Winton Ave. Motorists are advised to expect delays and to use alternate routes.
The fumes continued for at least a half an hour until it appeared to actually stain the pavement, turning the roadway a brownish orange.
As of about 1:50 p.m., smoke and flames were visible from the brush in the area of the leaking tank.
Crews managed to put some water on the flames and it pretty much burned itself out.
After the smoke died down, two crew members in metallic hazmat suits finally approached thank to assess the situation. They were only at the scene for about 15 minutes.
At 2:10 p.m., authorities announced that northbound lanes of I-880 were also shut down. Northbound traffic is being diverted off of I-880 at Highway 92.
During the northbound I-880 closure, the eastbound and westbound Highway 92 on-ramps to northbound I-880 were also closed, as were the Jackson Street and A Street on-ramps.
Hayward Fire issued a shelter-in-place order for the immediate area with a reverse 911 call, but there were no evacuation orders. The area was bound by Jackson Street to the south, Winton Avenue to the north, Amador Street to the east and I-880 to the west.
The shelter in place was lifted as of 4:26 p.m.
Shoppers at the Southland Mall have been advised to enter and exit through the west doors of the mall, but fire officials say there is no immediate threat.
Shortly before 3 p.m., Hayward and Alameda County Fire officials announced the leak was stopped and that an unknown amount of acid was on the ground.
Just before 3:30 p.m., another four-person hazmat team arrived.
They were able to get onto the truck to see exactly where the leak was coming from.
Two members of that team could be seen pouring powder onto the ground, apparently to soak up the acid.
The hazmat crews were being decontaminated when they stepped away from the acid tank, getting washed down in special baths set up for the operation.
The cause of the leak is under investigation.