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Adjusting to the Collapsed Highway April 29, 2007

Posted by Stephanie in transportation.

The devastating pictures from The New York Times of Oakland, California immediately caught my attention today. 

“A fiery pre-dawn tanker truck accident caused the collapse of a heavily trafficked freeway overpass near downtown today, sending hundreds of feet of concrete crashing onto a highway below and hobbling a vital Bay Area interchange.”


Luckily no one was killed when the track carrying 8,600 gallons of gasoline crashed.  However the results of the intense fire cause catastrophic damage to the highways.  Most likely it was the extreme heat from the fire which melted the steel girders and bolts that support the concrete roadway which lead to the destruction of the road system. 

“On an average day, the two spans that were destroyed this morning carry 160,000 vehicles.”

We all complain as Route 80 in our neck of the woods is insistently under construction.  This however is planned construction and in comparison a far more manageable situation.  It will be interesting to see how the city reacts to the situation once the weekdays with rush hour traffic and busy work life resumes tomorrow.  With such an unforeseeable situation it will be interesting to follow how the repairs will be made considering budgets, the need to be time efficient and yet ensuring the safety of workers and eventually drivers. 

I would not be envious of handling this situation of project management.  The stress, pressure and watchful eyes of city planners, safety regulators, Californians and other stakeholders are sure to demand a quick yet safe solution.  

Would you be interested in construction/project management? It seems as though there are very clear tasks and goals.  But the unexpected challenges that arise with uncontrollable factors such as weather may be too stressful.

How do you think the city will adjust to the situation? What other problems do you see stemming from accident?



1. collage9 - May 3, 2007

I think the city definitely has a major problem on their hands. The destruction you can see in the picture is amazing and fixing the overpass will obviously take a pretty long time. This will undoubtedly cause some major irritation for people who drive through there on a regular basis. It will be interesting to see how the city balances a quick resolution with safety considerations. I personally get very annoyed with road construction and would hate to deal with a situation like this. It seems like it’s going to cause some major traffic problems and I if I were a stakeholder, I would like to see the city create a very quick but safe resolution.

2. Brian Mulligan - May 8, 2007

I think that this invovles more of disaster/construction management. This problem needs a quick fix because it is a major artery into the city. We always complain about traffic due to construction, but to keep the roads safe, the state has to maintain their roads. I’ve alway thought about what will happen when a major road had to be repaved or repaired due to errosion over the winter. I’m amazed at the management skills of these construction managers that somehow keep traffic moving (sometimes slowly, but still moving).

The accident may have hurt businesses in the downtown area that rely on the roadway to bring customers to their businesses. Also, the workers at these businesses cannot reach their workplace in a timely manner. It also costs the state more money to fix this mess, but with problems like this one, solutions and contingencies are created to avoid them. That may be one of the benefits of this.

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