Update 3:30 p.m.

Update 2:30 p.m. The two lanes are now not expected to reopen until 3 p.m. If you click on the Bay Bridge section of this Sigalert chart, you can see that traffic is still crawling along at speeds of 5-10 mph from Central Avenue in Richmond all the way into downtown San Francisco.

Original post

Boy, it’s always something. Bay Area commuters who had made plans to get to work by car, bike, ferry and mule were pleasantly surprised this morning to find a BART strike had been averted, at least temporarily.

The burned big rig that caused the massive backup on I-80 Monday. (Photo: Darlene Jang)
The burned big rig that caused the massive backup on I-80 Monday. (Photo: Darlene Jang)

That should have paved the way for a normal commute. But not so fast, drivers! Not so fast at all.  A big rig that caught fire closed two lanes of I-80 near Fifth Street in San Francisco, causing a huge traffic jam in the East Bay and over the Bay Bridge.

“It was 3-5 mph traffic hell,” said KQED’s Tara Siler, who commutes from Oakland.  She said it took her an hour to get from before the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza just to Treasure Island.

The blaze is out now, but traffic remains snarled. Check out this Sigalert.com map. You can see that traffic is moving mostly 5-10 mph between Central Avenue and Treasure Island.

Here’s the report from Sigalert:

- ***A BIG RIG FIRE IS OUT, BUT THE CLEANUP CONTINUES*** AN EARLIER BIG RIG FIRE HAS BEEN EXTINGUISHED, BUT TOW TRUCKS ARE HAVING TROUBLE WITH ITS REMOVAL….THE TWO RIGHT LANES REMAIN CLOSED, BUT THE CHP IS INTERMITTENTLY CLOSING ALL FOUR LANES…TWO BIG RIG TOW TRUCKS ARE ON SCENE…ETO: NOON (NOTE: THE BIG RIG WAS LOADED WITH RICE WHICH IS NOW WET RICE, AND THE RIG HAS TWO FUEL TANKS THAT REMOVAL CREWS ARE TRYING TO AVOID PUNCTURING)…(THE FIRE DEPARTMENT HAS CLOSED PERRY ST AT THIRD ST IN CASE DEBRIS FROM THE FIRE FALLS TO THE STREET BELOW)….USE BART TO GET INTO SAN FRANCISCO IF YOU CAN…ENHANCED FERRY SERVICE THAT WAS SCHEDULED FOR A POSSIBLE BART STRIKE IS HELPING OUT AS WELL—(394)

On the other hand, look at it this way: Imagine if this had happened and there was a BART strike.

Author

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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