SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Commuters headed out of San Francisco to the East Bay Wednesday faced major delays into the evening after a jackknifed big-rig on the eastbound Bay Bridge blocked lanes for several hours.
The crash was first reported on eastbound I-80 just east of The Embarcadero around 11:30 a.m.
According to CHP spokesman Officer Vu Williams, a big-rig somehow lost control during Wednesday’s wet weather and jackknifed, initially blocking three of the left lanes.
The big-rig driver suffered minor injuries and a concrete column on the bridge reportedly sustained minor damage.
Caltrans tow truck are stationed on the bridge and responded right away to the crash, but matters were complicated by the size of the disabled vehicle.
“This case it was a little bit more difficult because it was involving a big rig, so we had to call for specialized equipment to clean that up,” said Williams.
It took until nearly 3 p.m. to clear the mess. Traffic was already sluggish, but it got progressively much worse on approaches to the Bay Bridge.
All lanes of the lower deck reopened around 2:55 p.m., but residual backups were lingering through the evening commute.
Some people traveling south towards Market Street on Battery said they had been stuck in traffic for over two and a half hours.
“I’ve gone about two blocks in the past hour,” said one exasperated driver.
While some were trying to grin and bear the horrible traffic, tempers were flaring and horns were being honked in frustration as the snail’s pace crawl towards the Bay Bridge.
The traffic even stopping the cable car line on California Street literally in its tracks.
The massive back-ups befuddled the California Highway Patrol.
“The traffic on every approach getting on the Bay Bridge right now is absolutely horrendous and if you’re going ask me, I couldn’t tell you why. That crash cleared several hours ago,” said Williams.
On Battery Street, KPIX found a man who ditched his ride and discovered his feet were faster than four wheels.
“I just got out of my co-worker’s car. We tried to go to Costco for a company trip, but we actually got gridlocked for an hour,” said Tristan Eng. “And the she tried to drop me back off at the office and we got caught in more traffic. So I decided to walk back to the office because it’s going to take another 35-40 minutes to get back, even though it’s like two or three blocks.”
For the CHP, the code to cracking the traffic bomb that went off Wednesday lies in why it happened. And that’s something they didn’t know.
“I can’t say that there’s something that I could put my finger on, because if there was, we’d do something about. We get crashes on the bridge all the time. We get crashes right before commute traffic most of the time,” said Williams. “Once it’s clear, traffic usually resumes back to it’s normal slow pace, but at least people are moving. Every once in a while you’ll see these anomalies where traffic completely comes to a stop. I don’t know why.”
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