The big-rig that was contracted to haul 66,000 pounds of mail ended up on its side at about 5 a.m. and blocked all three lanes of northbound traffic at the bottom of the Sunol Grade in between the Andrade and Calaveras Road exits. All lanes were reopened at 12:14 p.m.
The delivery was headed to East Bay post offices after being sorted at a San Jose processing center. There were 41 containers that were holding the "large class" mail in place and prevented a bigger mess from happening. The magazines, ads and large envelopes had little chance of escaping.
"Aside from the mail that got impacted or crushed by the flow of the 60,000 pounds -- the mail was intact and did not scatter all over the roadway," said CHP Lt. James Libby.
The CHP moved the truck so it was only blocking two lanes, but towing it wasn't that simple. If the trailer was uprighted with all the mail inside -- it would rip the sides -- creating an even bigger mess. Because of privacy and identity theft concerns, the CHP waited for the Postal Service to arrive before unloading the mail. That didn't happen until four and a half hours after the accident -- delaying the cleanup and also all the drivers funneled through the area.
Postal officials expect the sorting process to take a day before it's sent back out to the East Bay. As for the driver, he had a cut to the forehead but appeared to be fine.