"It's just a mess when anything like this happens on the bridge," CHP Lt. Diana Johnson said.
A pickup truck carrying 5-gallon buckets of epoxy lost his load and 35 to 40 buckets fell onto Interstate 80, just past the Fremont Street off ramp before 4 a.m.
The CHP had to shut down all but one lane. Some cars drove through it before officials got there and got the goop on their cars.
VIDEO: Spill causes massive backup on Bay Bridge
"It was a tremendous mess. There was many gallons of an epoxy-like paste substance that spilled on the roadway," Johnson said.
They first thought it was paint but then noticed it had a grainy texture to it. They swept it up but then worried about spinouts on the gravelly substance, so they sprinkled sand on it.
About that time it started drizzling, creating a slurry of epoxy, sand and rain that covered up the lane stripes.
But Caltrans said that was all they could do at the time, knowing that all these people needed to get through.
They reopened the lanes around 6:45 a.m. but by then, the commute was wrecked.
"It was a bear. I caught the 5:45 bus and I just got here. It's almost 25 minutes to 8," Hercules resident Vanessa Cool said.
"It would have been horrendous. I would have been totally frustrated if I had to drive in," Alameda resident Ryan Paglia said. He caught the news in time and decided to avoid the bridge and take the ferry.
"I am relaxed. I am going to work with a smile, I am not going to work grumpy," Paglia said.
The driver was cited for not securing his load and Caltrans plans to file a claim with his insurance company to charge them for the cleanup.
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All lanes open on WB Bay Bridge. Here's what waiting for you- a slurry of paint, sand and rain. And no lane stripes. pic.twitter.com/KFF9ZoHtqq— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) December 18, 2015
They're done sweeping the Bay Bridge! Now they are laying down sand to avoid spin outs. MIGHT open before 7:30. pic.twitter.com/PerlxXSJFA— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) December 18, 2015
Sweeper on scene at the Bay Brudge mess- a good sign! CHP Ofc. here hoping to open up in an hour- just an estimate. pic.twitter.com/N89otdT8sB— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) December 18, 2015
Back up on the Bay Bridge right now. Debris on the road around the Fremont exit. pic.twitter.com/DBeDtwdLoz— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) December 18, 2015