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When the all of the lanes opened around 8:30 p.m., traffic accelerated from 1 to 55 mph in a matter of seconds. People were anxious to get across the Bay Bridge after an ordeal that lasted nearly seven hours.
Caltrans says it towed about 30 vehicles that ran out of gas or overheated. A CHP cruiser even helped push one car along the bridge. The CHP also had their hands full with several drivers who were riding on their rooftops and hoods. Some people even got out and ran around their vehicles.
CHP officials say the driver, who suffered a bruised leg, was driving 55 mph in the 40 mph zone and did not know the speed limit had been changed. He said he had not driven over the bridge since before Labor Day and was taken by surprise by the S-curve.
The 18-wheeler's trailer ripped open spilling some grocery items onto the road.
The accident blocked four of the five westbound lanes for two hours. The crash happened just after 2:30 p.m. and all lanes reopened around 8 p.m.
At 6 p.m., traffic on Hwy 580 was backed up all the way to Hwy 24, on I-880 the traffic jam went all the way to the 80-split, and on I-80 traffic went all the way to University Avenue.
Just after 5 p.m., a second Safeway 18-wheeler was escorted to the scene of the crash. It was used to carry off all of the goods that were spilled by the accident.
AC Transit commuters found themselves stuck at the Transbay terminal for hours, before their ride home could get in from the East Bay.
Turned out the best way to cross the bay into the city was BART.