Work on I-580 begins as Maze section reopens

Repairs to the destroyed eastbound Interstate 580 overpass are expected to begin today, a day after state transit officials reopened the portion of southbound Interstate 880 that was charred when a gasoline fire caused a MacArthur Maze roadway to collapse, wreaking havoc on commuters.

Rancho Cordova-based C.C. Myers Inc. has agreed to build the I-580 overpass for $867,075 by June 27. For each day shaved off the deadline, the construction company will receive an additional $200,000, up to $5 million. For each day the project is delayed, Caltrans will subtract $200,000 from the deal.

“Caltrans promised the public a swift response to the MacArthur Maze collapse, and we are delivering,” said Will Kempton, director of Caltrans, which oversees the state’s highways.

At 4:30 a.m. on Monday, Caltrans moved the barriers and reopened I-880 — eight days after a gas tanker crash caused a fire that collapsed the I-580 overpass onto I-880below. About 75,000 drivers use the MacArthur Maze each weekday.

Eight California Highway Patrol officers assisted the first wave of vehicles across the I-880 connector. Additional officers will be deployed to the area throughout the week. On Monday, traffic was light on the southbound I-880 connector, which seems back to normal from a driver’s perspective. To open the interstate, workers shored the freeway deck, which dropped about 9 inches, with stabilizing beams, repaired the guardrails, straightened the freeway’s girders and repaved the deck with polyester concrete.

The left lane of the I-880 connector, however, was closed from 8 p.m. on Monday to 5 a.m. today so workers could begin removing the fire-damaged concrete from columns supporting the overpass, Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said.

Today, C.C. Myers Inc. will begin measuring the distance between the two ends of the I-580. The right lane of I-880 below the overpass will be closed tonight, starting at 8, until 5 a.m. Wednesday.

After the April 29 crash,commuters flocked to BART, which carried a record 375,200 riders May 1, up 35,000 from its weekday average.

With I-880 open to traffic, BART is still experiencing heavier ridership: On Monday morning, there were 57,500 commuters traveling between San Francisco and the East Bay, up 4,000 from the morning peak average, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said.

To accommodate the additional riders, BART will offer 11 more trips between San Francisco and Concord this morning and seven additional trips between San Francisco and the East Bay this afternoon, Johnson said. It is unknown whether BART will continue the extended service Wednesday, he added.

The Alameda-Oakland Ferry and AC Transit systems discontinued the additional service added after the disaster Friday, returning to the regular morning and evening commute services Monday.

arocha@examiner.com

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