Construction on hold after accident on Hwy 101 in Burlingame

Byby Sergio Quintana KGO logo
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Construction project on hold after accident on Hwy 101 in Burlingame
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The project to widen a bridge on the Peninsula is on hold right now, as investigators try to figure out how the construction accident that halted traffic on Highway 101 in Burlingame could affect the work.

BURLINGAME, Calif. (KGO) -- The project to widen a bridge on the Peninsula is on hold right now, as investigators try to figure out how the construction accident that halted traffic on Highway 101 in Burlingame could affect the work.

The accident sent live power lines onto the freeway Friday night, sparking a weekend of commute problems that included two shutdowns of Highway 101 in the area.

PHOTOS: Transmission tower collapse closes Highway 101 in Burlingame

There may be more freeway closures to come.

When PG&E finished their work Monday morning, they cleared out because they had successfully installed their two temporary power poles and also the high-voltage cables to be strung onto them.

There is no one currently working on the construction project because there's an ongoing investigation of Friday's accident.

Inspectors spent part of the day climbing on and snapping pictures of a massive piece of construction equipment. According to PG&E, a vehicle topped their transmission tower, causing high-voltage lines to fall onto Highway 101 this weekend.

"This third-party contractor, way too close to that tower. We want to make sure something like this doesn't happen again so we'll be working with them," PG&E spokesperson Joe Molica said.

The contractor is San Jose-based JAFEC USA. The company has not responded to requests for comment and the person operating the excavator has not been identified.

The bridge-widening project is now on hold as inspectors try to figure out exactly how this happened.

"We know what the accident was but we want to make sure we find out the whole timeline of what happened leading up to the accident" Caltrans spokesperson Bob Haus said.

PG&E will eventually have to replace the temporary poles with another steel tower, meaning Highway 101 will likely have to be shut down again.

That may not happen until the project is completed in 2017. Caltrans says it's too early to figure out how much this accident will cost. That is also part of the investigation.

"PG&E is going to have to total up all of their damages to their property and then there will possibly be other people filing claims for damages as well," Haus said.

When the power lines went down across Highway 101 Friday night, a UPS delivery driver was trapped in his truck because power lines were on it.

After more than four hours, he was finally able to get out and go home.

According to UPS, a supervisor then completed his delivery route at 3:30 in the morning.