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Archive for April, 2007

The Queen is back on her throne

The Queen of the Road is back in the newsoom and typing away. Check the ContraCostaTimes.com home page tonight for her report on the drive from San Francisco to Walnut Creek this evening.

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
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How’s the maze mess affecting your commute?

The Contra Costa Times’ latest reader poll asks how your commute has been affected by the collapse of the MacArthur Maze. If you’re not stuck in traffic, cast your vote.

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
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Baylink ferry ridership jumps

Here’s a statement on Monday morning traffic from Baylink’s Web site:

Through the first six ferry departures this morning, the ferry service has carried 377 more passengers than usual. While we have had no sellouts, the 6:30am, 7:00am, and 7:45am were all very close to capacity. We will continue to monitor ridership through the late morning and early afternoon. Currently, we expect the afternoon commute to be heavier than normal. While the 4th ferry has not been utilized so far, we will keep that option open. Another update will be provided later in the day if the situation changes.

If you want updates, you can join Baylink’s mailing list.

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
Under: George Kelly | No Comments »

Big rig driver’s family speaks

Times reporter Sandy Kleffman forwarded this statement to us from the family of the badly burned truck driver whose big rig crash early Sunday led to the MacArthur Maze connector collapse.

The Family of James Mosqueda issued the following statement through Saint Francis Memorial Hospital this morning, April 30, 2007.

“We are relieved that James is alive and in stable condition. We are grateful that no one else was hurt and thank God that James is on the road to recovery. The family sends a heartfelt thank you to the taxi driver and the Saint Francis Memorial Hospital staff. We ask that the news media please understand how traumatic this has been for James and his family and please respect our privacy.”

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
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One Seattle man’s Maze view

Tom Spear, who lives in Seattle, wrote in this morning to say he’d like to read about ways in which “construction can and should occur without government red tape and union (interference)” in the rebuilding of the collapsed MacArthur Maze connector ramps.

“[T]hey should have this thing up and being driven on in 4 months at the latest,” Spear said. “They built entire runways in WWII over weekends.”

Spear said he was “[d]own in [the] Bay area often on business and yes have traveled through the route often” and described the company he works for, Schrader Co. Sales LLC, as “a material supplier for [the] Bay Bridge project.”

When asked about his experience with “similar construction nightmares,” he referred to I-5. “[T]hey always seem to be tearing it up and the projects take way to[o] long for the work performed.”

Spear also mentioned “the projected work on the Alaska Way Viaduct (it runs
along the downtown Seattle waterfront) which will shut down commerce and the
commute when they start tearing it down.”

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
Under: George Kelly | No Comments »

Amateur photogs take on Maze

Local photographer Thomas Hawk has a shot of yesterday’s MacArthur Maze collapse, with up to 30 comments in Flickr. Hawk posted the shot to his own blog and to his Zooomr.com site.

Mediahound took four shots from atop the IKEA Emeryville parking structure yesterday.

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
Under: George Kelly | No Comments »

CHP: ‘Normal backup’ through Maze

The traffic scene near and around the collapsed MacArthur Maze section doesn’t seem to be seeing protracted or painful holdups, the Highway Patrol said this morning.

“They’ve got the closure in place and pretty much it’s been stabilized,” CHP Officer Scott Cakebread said in a phone call.

“Traffic is not too bad today. There’s about a normal backup. There doesn’t seem to be a holdup.”

Cakebread said that drivers near the collapse site are looking, but not slowing things down too much. He said he hadn’t gotten word from officers in the field or other callers saying traffic is backed up to a specific point.

He added that there wasn’t any word on the CHP’s plans to shift patrols in response to the likely afternoon-commute plans.

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
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Caltrans working ‘fast and furious’

In a phone call this morning, Caltrans spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said the agency doesn’t have an estimated time of completion for MacArthur Maze repairs.

Wonder said a contractor, Cleveland Wrecking Company, has been working on demolition since Sunday evening. Because of the emergency nature of the collapse, she said the contract was probably based on an informal call and that work began around midday Sunday.

Wonder said the portion hanging over the Interstate 880 structure “is gone. Now we have to shore up the other portion that is standing before they can demolish the rest. We need to get in there and do some assessments

“Then our experts can go in with design folks and do a better assessment and then design a permanent fix,” Wonder said. “We’ve got our best design team and structural team. We are working very fast and furious.”

At 7:50 a.m., Wonder said she has been up since 6:30 a.m. Sunday. “I’m like that little Energizer bunny,” she said.

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
Under: George Kelly | No Comments »

Maze blaze on YouTube

Here’s a clip in YouTube of Sunday morning’s connector-ramp tanker fire (via SFist):

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
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