Richmond-San Rafael Bridge has big backup due to road repair

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The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge reopened after it was closed for more than five hours due to an emergency road repair.

There were big delays for commuters trying to get from the East Bay to Marin County on I-580 Monday.
Several lanes on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge were closed for hours after part of the asphalt started to crumble apart. And, as you can expect, it caused a huge backup.

Some would say the westbound direction of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge looked more like a Los Angeles freeway at midday.

ABC7 News spoke to a family that was driving from Southern California when they hit traffic. Santa Rosa resident Jani James said, "We're headed back to Santa Rosa where we live and we've been on the road since 6 a.m. and this is so disappointing."

Traffic was reduced to one lane while Caltrans crews worked to repair the asphalt which had weakened making it unsafe to drive on.

Caltrans spokesperson Bob Haus said, "What we had was a combination of the after effects of that diesel spill plus the sudden warming in the temperatures, that caused the asphalt to become loose and unravel, it was coming apart."

That diesel spill occurred in mid-May when an 18 wheeler was sideswiped by a car. The big rig then started to lose some of its diesel on the road. Diesel acts as a solvent and begins to loosen up the asphalt if not properly cleaned. Caltrans admits the clean-up most likely didn't happen as quickly as it should have.

"What they do is they put the absorbent down, let it absorb, and then they scrape it up. It didn't happen quickly enough," Haus explained.

On Monday, when Caltrans discovered the problem, they hoped to fix it at night sometime this week, when traffic is lighter, but conditions became too dangerous.

Crews dug up the compromised section and began to refill the hole, creating a massive traffic jam that ended just before 4 p.m.

Related Topics:
trafficI-580richmond san rafael bridgecar accidenttruck fireCHPfiretruck crashroad safetyroad repaircommutingdrivingmarin countycaltransSan RafaelRichmond-San Rafael BridgeRichmond
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