Speedy repair of Bay Area exchange under way

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California officials say the Interstate 580 overpass that collapsed April 29 after a truck accident will be rebuilt by June 28. Caltrans awarded the I-580 upper-deck contract Tuesday, May 8, to Rancho Cordova construction company CC Myers, which began work the next day.

The connector ramp between eastbound I-80 and eastbound I-580 links San Francisco to its East Bay suburbs. Another part of the interchange, the ramp connecting westbound Interstate 80 to southbound I-880, reopened May 7, according to the California Department of Transportation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation contributed $2 million toward the work, and state officials speeded up the bid process after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared the project an emergency priority.

The accident occurred when a loaded tanker hit a guardrail and exploded. Flames shot 200 feet into the air, and the intense heat melted the roadway, causing sections of two highways to collapse.

On typical weekdays, the interchange — just east of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge — is crowded with traffic, but the wreck occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning, so no other vehicles were involved. The tanker driver walked away with minor injuries.