OAKLAND (CBS SF) — All lanes of the westbound Interstate Highway 580 to westbound Interstate Highway 80 in Oakland reopened after being shut down when a big rig crashed and caught fire, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The CHP said the big rig — carrying cooking oil — was first reported to be on fire at 5:16 a.m. in the far right lane. All westbound lanes quickly grounded to a halt, backing up traffic for miles.
Emeryville and Oakland fire department units got to the scene quickly and were able to put the fire out fast.
“It turned out to be a tire fire that did not ignite any of the cooking oil that was inside of the tanker. No oil was spilled on the roadway, said CHP Officer Forsyth. “The roadway was shut down here completely for about an hour and a half.”
But the residual damage lasted much longer than that. As the cleanup process took place, video from Chopper 5 showed just how clogged up traffic got on the connector and on alternate routes where drivers were hoping to get to the bridge faster.
The tanker was full of cooking oil, which meant all of the tankers contents had to be transferred to a different tanker so the damaged one could be towed away safely.
“They’re laying down either kitty litter or some kind of absorbent to soak up any moisture that may still be on the roadway and be a cause of hazard. Again, nothing was spilled from the tanker; they’re just cleaning up the ash and the absorbent,” said Forsyth.
One lane of the connector leading to the Bay Bridge reopened just before 7 a.m. The remaining two lanes reopened after 9:30 a.m. The entire incident lasted a little more than four hours.