For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross , Public Information Officer, (510) 981-7008

BERKELEY RESPONDS TO COLLAPSE OF MACARTHUR MAZE ROADWAY
Traffic problems caused by the accident likely to affect entire region’s traffic; residents and local employees encouraged to use public transit

Berkeley, California (Monday, April 30, 2007) - Residents and local employees are being encouraged to use public transportation to avoid the collapsed overpass of the MacArthur Maze.

Early Sunday morning, a tanker truck hit a guardrail on I-880, skidded to a point underneath a I-580 east overpass and exploded, melting the roadway above and causing unknown damage to the road below.

The bridge approaches may become heavily congested, and traffic in and around Berkeley is expected to be impacted. However, none of the detour routes suggested by Caltrans and local officials route traffic directly through Berkeley.

This morning, representatives from Berkeley’s Office of Emergency Services, the City Manager’s office, and the Finance, Fire, Police, Public Works, and Traffic departments met to discuss traffic mitigation and identify other potential problems and opportunities.

According to staff and media reports, it seems as if the free transit day helped alleviate some of the problems that could have occurred in the morning commute, but the evening commute may be more problematic. In addition, an unknown number of workers may have opted not to go to work today, thereby temporarily reducing the pressure on the existing infrastructure. It may take several days or even weeks to see the real effects of the disaster.

In the meantime:

Police and Traffic officials identified the most likely spot of trouble as being Ashby/Highway 13 to Tunnel Road. There are currently tow-away areas on Ashby from 4-6 p.m., and police will be increasing their enforcement of those times. 

In coordination with Caltrans and Oakland, traffic may be directed away from Ashby and toward the Telegraph and 55th onramp to Highway 24 eastbound or the onramp for Highway 580 eastbound at 51st and Martin Luther King Junior.

City staff will monitor several likely trouble spots around town, including Ashby and San Pablo, but no changes will be made until there is a clearer picture of what the regular traffic load is likely to be.

As commuters experiment with alternate routes, the City will respond with extra police attention or directional signs as needed.

The City, like other employers in the Berkeley area, will also encourage employees who currently drive to work to begin taking public transit. The City already offers public transit incentives, and employees will be encouraged to take advantage of those programs.

All residents, visitors and employees of local schools and businesses are encouraged to take public transit as much as possible. In addition, Caltrans recommends that you:

Plan ahead to reduce stress and travel times.
Adjust your schedule to avoid peak hours.
Get Fastrak to reduce the toll collection processing time.
Take the bus. Many transit operators offer transbay service.
Ride your bike. Caltrans offers a shuttle service between the MacArthur BART station in Oakland and the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco. AC Transit's Line M carries bikes across the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge.
Traffic and commute information is available by calling 511 or going online to 511.org.

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