Sunday, April 29, 2007

Fire melts steel

Well, actually once it heats up it just loses a lot of its strength long, long before it actually melts, but you get to the same place.

I don't know if this is making the national news, let alone international, but it's pretty interesting so I thought I'd share it. A tanker full of gasoline caught fire this morning in the McArthur Maze which is a basically the intersection of three freeways coming together to cross the bridge to San Francisco. Well, the heat caused the roadway above it to collapse. 250 yards of it last I heard, which of course fell onto the roadway the tanker was on. So some connections between the four freeways work and some don't and I'm not even sure which at this point.

This is going to completely screw up traffic around here in a way that's hard to get your head around - some routes will work for the morning commute but not for the evening commute since you might be able to go from freeway X to freeway Y but not the reverse. Anyway, check out the pictures, they're pretty interesting.

Update 5/26/2007: It's reopened! The folks controlling the money put up a serious bonus for doing it fast - $200K per day, $5 million max. The guy doing the job has a rep for basically lowballing jobs but getting them done fast to pick up that kind of bonus. Last numbers I heard he bid around a million, spent around three million - so if he didn't earn the bonus he would have been screwed. They still have a bit of work to do - painting some stuff, that sort of thing. He did it in a third of the time Caltrans estimated - but that kind of $200K per day value changes the dynamic. If there's some problem you can solve by throwing a hundred thousand dollars at it to speed things up a day, you do it. Caltrans did their part by getting the initial cleanup and evaluation done fast, and basically camping there so inspections and so forth could be done instantly.

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