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Melted Freeway
April 29, 2007 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Melted Freeway
posted by serazin (87 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Mercury News coverage is a little more complete: link
posted by cali at 1:25 PM on April 29, 2007


This is a hoax because everyone knows that a gasoline fire cannot melt or soften steel.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:26 PM on April 29, 2007 [31 favorites]


If Salvador Dali painted a highway.
posted by JHarris at 1:27 PM on April 29, 2007


"Coming home is going to be a big big problem," said Geronimo, who commutes to work in San Francisco as draftsman. "Do you know how many terrorists are looking at this? They're getting ideas."

Seriously?
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:30 PM on April 29, 2007


"You know how many terrorists are looking at this?"
(From the SFGate article)

Yeah: zero. Jesus, do people really live their lives that way, worried that terrorists are going to melt freeway overpasses with exploding gasoline tankers?
posted by maxwelton at 1:31 PM on April 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


Seriously?

Yes. Let's ban gas trucks!
posted by eriko at 1:32 PM on April 29, 2007


Glad to see there are at least two of us with the same reaction, inconsequentialist.
posted by maxwelton at 1:32 PM on April 29, 2007


This gives me ideas.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:37 PM on April 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


Feh. Neocon conspiracy to drive up oil prices.
posted by BeerFilter at 1:37 PM on April 29, 2007


it wasn't a tanker truck, it was a cia rocket
posted by pyramid termite at 1:42 PM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I admit it, I'm planning on hijacking a pair of Goodyear blimps and mounting a gigantic fresnel lens between them. It'll be just like frying ants or starting fires with a magnifying glass when I was a kid. Except I'll be frying people and melting steel.
posted by substrate at 1:42 PM on April 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


Wow, this is gonna make commuting awesome.

Bay Area traffic sucks at the best of times: this is going to take it straight past the sucking event horizon into some strange land where light bends. People will be leaving for work tomorrow morning and getting there last Friday.
posted by scrump at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2007 [20 favorites]


The terrorists hate us for our speed of getting home from work.
posted by DU at 1:52 PM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


So much for my trip the the Emoryville Ikea.

I had just gotten over my general creeping terror of living by the Hayward faultline (there was an excellent MeFi FPP on it about a year and a half ago) and now I see this. I understand that this was a freakish set of circumstances, but it's really not helping to firm my confidence in Bay Area engineering standards.
posted by lekvar at 1:53 PM on April 29, 2007


This is a hoax because everyone knows that a gasoline fire cannot melt or soften steel.

That's exactly the first thing that I thought of as well.
I wonder if there is a recording of a jet-missle hitting the bridge and causing the pre-installed explosives to go off.
posted by c13 at 1:54 PM on April 29, 2007


Yowza. Oh how I miss thee, dear Bay Area.
posted by ninjew at 1:58 PM on April 29, 2007


This happened not long ago in Connecticut. A heating oil tanker exploded, melting an I-95 overpass and closing the highway in both directions. At the fire's hottest, the bridge had melted enough to touch the road below it.

Terrorism scares abounded then as well. Some people even connected this incident to a previous day's terror threat (warning, astrology)
posted by mkb at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Not that I enjoy destruction, or the misery of commuters, but these photos are really beautiful. The sight of an instantly recognizable, man-made artifice sort of dissolving back into a vague, earthy blob is very fascinating.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 2:04 PM on April 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


If it turns out this is the fault of a speeding tanker drive (stress on the 'if'), man that guy is going to be popular tomorrow morning.

They better not publish his name ;-)
posted by teece at 2:23 PM on April 29, 2007


That's eerie. I've driven across that section of freeway many times. I'm glad nobody was killed or seriously hurt.
posted by Malor at 2:24 PM on April 29, 2007


To clarify for those who don't know these freeways, the section of road onto which the melting road fell is a truck route. Specifically, all eastbound 580 truck traffic is required to use 880-S and then re-hookup with 580-E past Oakland.
posted by R343L at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2007


Did anyone die in this?

Anyway, I love the police tape and traffic cones in this picture like they really need to tell people not to dive through.
posted by delmoi at 2:33 PM on April 29, 2007


They better not publish his name

James Mosqueda, 51, of Woodland
posted by quonsar at 2:34 PM on April 29, 2007


Just another day in the East Bay I suppose
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 2:38 PM on April 29, 2007


Nobody died. The driver was badly burnt, though. I actually just drove by this on my way back to the city, having had no idea that it had occured the night before. Huge "what the hell" moment, let me tell ya.
posted by renraw at 2:42 PM on April 29, 2007


mosqueda ... MOSQUEda???
posted by pyramid termite at 2:43 PM on April 29, 2007 [6 favorites]


Yep, according to cnn the driver "walked away" with 2nd degree burns.
posted by gignomai at 2:44 PM on April 29, 2007


They better not publish his name

James Mosqueda, 51, of Woodland
posted by quonsar at 4:34 PM on April 29


I knew quonsar was one of the "they" you always hear so much about.
posted by birdherder at 2:49 PM on April 29, 2007


What are you talking about, birdherder?

He is the they.
posted by jamjam at 2:54 PM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


OMG
posted by caddis at 2:56 PM on April 29, 2007


What is up with the tanker crashes? Another one happened in Houston last Friday:

"Perez lost control of the 18-wheeler, which rolled, crashed into the concrete barrier and exploded, igniting the truck, killing Perez and causing damage estimated at $500,000 to $1 million, Mireles said."
posted by mrbill at 2:57 PM on April 29, 2007


I did this in my bedroom with my brother's hot wheel tracks and modeling glue. Don't tell my parents but that is why there was a burnt spot on the carpet.

Couple more sets on flickr 2 3
posted by srboisvert at 2:59 PM on April 29, 2007


mosQUEDA?

Poor guy, burns suck. Lucky to have lived though.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:00 PM on April 29, 2007


This is pretty huge---the upper portion that collapsed is one of the main arteries out of the city at the very spot where the Bay Bridge meets the East Bay. (it was described as being at hte MacArthur Maze, but it's not.) Anyone with that commute is catastrofucked.
posted by tula at 3:11 PM on April 29, 2007


over a google ad for Gastrolux Non-Stick Cookware
posted by scheptech at 3:12 PM on April 29, 2007


To me the most boggling thing is that the tanker truck was apparently vaporized:
"No recognizable sign of the truck remains at the scene. One Caltrans worker there early this morning held up his thumb and forefinger an inch apart to describe how big the tanker is now."
posted by epugachev at 3:21 PM on April 29, 2007


"You know how many terrorists are looking at this?"

That guy should be less worried about terrorism and more worried about Privatizing Monopolizable Infrastructure.
posted by homunculus at 3:23 PM on April 29, 2007


mosqueda ... MOSQUEda???

It's well known that it's actually a corruption of "Mosque-qaeda," which is Arabic for "SUBMIT TO THE CLEANSING BLADE OF THE ONE TRUTH OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES, INFIDEL!!!! ALSO, SOME OF US ARE BROWN AND WANT YOUR WOMEN!!! ONLY THE DEVILISHLY CLEVER GEORGE BUSH CAN SAVE YOU FROM OUR SINISTER PLANS!!!!"

Arabic, you'll note, is a very consise language.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:24 PM on April 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


Or even a concise one. I've read too much student writing.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:24 PM on April 29, 2007


woah

/hot-shot Los Angeles police SWAT officer who is willing to do unconventional things to resolve hostage situations
posted by acro at 3:27 PM on April 29, 2007


Why does the SF Chronicle hate America?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:35 PM on April 29, 2007


This is pretty huge

I rarely get past Milpitas but if I had Tomahawk & were trying to screw up traffic in the Bay Area the most I think I'd aim for that exact location. Damn.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:07 PM on April 29, 2007


I can't wait for someone to blame this on Bill Clinton and the Lib'ruls.
posted by Balisong at 4:09 PM on April 29, 2007


What is up with the tanker crashes?

Well, trucks full of cereal don't make the news when they crash.
posted by smackfu at 4:20 PM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Something similar also happened in Orlando several years back, but I don't think it actually melted the girders, just weakened the concrete so much due to heat stress that the bridge had to be rebuilt.

Where's the picture of the fireball, anyway? ;)
posted by wierdo at 4:25 PM on April 29, 2007


"No recognizable sign of the truck remains at the scene. One Caltrans worker there early this morning held up his thumb and forefinger an inch apart to describe how big the tanker is now."

That's just proof that it's a HOAX!!1 This happened late at night, I take it? Probably an inside job with thermite in order to DISCREDIT the 9/11 truth movement!
posted by delmoi at 4:27 PM on April 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


Fantastic. It's going to smell like armpits and farts on the BART tomorrow.

Thankfully BART's increasing train runs starting Monday.
posted by OrangeDrink at 4:38 PM on April 29, 2007


Where's the picture of the fireball, anyway? ;)
Here.
posted by epugachev at 4:49 PM on April 29, 2007


From the comforatble vantage point of the east coast, this reminds me of the turbine (jet engine) train locomotives that, according to legend, melted the occasional overpass when careless engineers parked them in the shade...
posted by NortonDC at 4:57 PM on April 29, 2007


This photoshop in the fark thread is amazing.
posted by Mach5 at 5:22 PM on April 29, 2007


I can't wait for someone to blame this on George W. Bush and the Neocons.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:33 PM on April 29, 2007


I can't wait for someone to blame this on Thomas Jefferson and the Whigs.
posted by Balisong at 5:36 PM on April 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


FlashEarth

One of the interesting things you can see nearby is the "scar" of where the Cypress Freeway used to be (routed along what is now the ground-level Mandela Pkwy).
posted by dhartung at 5:39 PM on April 29, 2007


How many hours had the driver been working?
posted by anthill at 5:53 PM on April 29, 2007


Oddly, the chron changed the link so now it's not the most impressive photo of the bunch, but whatever, it's still fucking crazy.
posted by serazin at 6:14 PM on April 29, 2007


As a welder, I know that if you cut steel with an oxy-actylene torch you should put bricks under the hot work, not concrete. I didn't quite believe this when I first heard it, so I didn't put any bricks over my concrete floor. Well, the result was that the hot flame caused bits of the concrete to "pop", or spall, sort of like popcorn. From then on I was duitiful about placing bricks under the hot work...

Concrete incorporates water in the cured matrix, whereas bricks have the water driven off in the firing process.

Though I'm no structural engineer, I suspect the fire caused the concrete to fail by boiling the water within the concrete matrix.
posted by Tube at 6:28 PM on April 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Thanks to that flashearth site I finally understand why the Ikea area always smells like ass. There's a sewage treatment plant within throwing distance. Great planning.
posted by spork at 6:45 PM on April 29, 2007


This is a hoax because everyone knows that a gasoline fire cannot melt or soften steel.

kwantsar, the CIA told me they want to hire you because of your skill in torturing that analogy. stand on the roof of your home and await pickup by helicopter.
posted by Hat Maui at 7:27 PM on April 29, 2007


I had just gotten over my general creeping terror of living by the Hayward faultline (there was an excellent MeFi FPP on it about a year and a half ago) and now I see this. I understand that this was a freakish set of circumstances, but it's really not helping to firm my confidence in Bay Area engineering standards.
posted by lekvar at 1:53 PM on April 29


Then you should leave and find yourself a safer place to live.

I for one enjoy living in an area with its fair share of disasters! I wish they threw in godzilla and UFOs with lasers and General Hummell at the Alcatraz when something like this happens, that way I may actually be able to afford a house in the inner Bay Area at some point in the future...
posted by azazello at 7:45 PM on April 29, 2007


Oh my god, it's another April Disaster!

April 7th, 1982, there was a gas tanker explosion in the nearby Caldecott Tunnel that killed 7 people. Obligatory Wikipedia Linky about it.

Official second non-Wikipedia link about it.

Clearly it's some sort of evil April conspiracy. April must be stopped.
posted by drstein at 8:09 PM on April 29, 2007


I can't wait for someone to blame this on George W. Bush and the Neocons.

Oh, that's not hard at all. You see, if Bush had had a more sensible energy policy throughout his administration instead of relying on the claims of the neocons that installing a compliant regime in Iraq would be relatively easy, then demand for gasoline would probably have been much lower by now, and hence there would have been no need for this driver to be delivering gas at 4 o'clock on Sunday morning.
posted by epugachev at 8:23 PM on April 29, 2007


Clearly it's some sort of evil April conspiracy.

They don't call it "the cruelest month" for nothing.
posted by epugachev at 8:24 PM on April 29, 2007


i hope they don't fix that gap up too fast. i totally want to jump that shit in my prius, like some kind of eco-terrorist, solo-carpoolin' AT-PZEV evel knievel!

seriously though, tomorrow is going to suck with all those fools hoppin' on 980 to get around the mess.
posted by joeblough at 8:51 PM on April 29, 2007


I'm thankful I've got no plans to go into the city soon.

I wonder if this is going to prompt a state law mandating speed governors on hazmat, and flammables trucks.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:05 PM on April 29, 2007


Where is the youtube link?
posted by subaruwrx at 11:50 PM on April 29, 2007


Where is the youtube link?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tjs5ILNkJc

(the Chronicle home page has multiple video & map links)
posted by girlhacker at 12:43 AM on April 30, 2007


"Dude! We got this earthquake thing licked!"

*highway melts*

"Fuck!"
posted by brundlefly at 1:34 AM on April 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


Clearly it's some sort of evil April conspiracy. April must be stopped.

Yes, either you March onto May or the terrorists win!!!
posted by forwebsites at 3:29 AM on April 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I propose they rename that section the Salvador Dali overpass and leave it as is.
posted by TedW at 6:38 AM on April 30, 2007


Traffic flows look pretty decent at 7 a.m. according to this map.
posted by desjardins at 6:53 AM on April 30, 2007


Yahoo traffic looks mostly green as well - especially when contrasted with LA.
posted by desjardins at 6:57 AM on April 30, 2007



One of the interesting things you can see nearby is the "scar" of where the Cypress Freeway used to be (routed along what is now the ground-level Mandela Pkwy).


So this overpass, if I understand the news (having left the Bay Area 10 years ago), this is the connecter between 80 and 880? Didn't the Cypress Structure connect 80 to 880?

Why does God want to keep the Berkeleyites from getting to the South Bay so bad?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:05 AM on April 30, 2007


Yahoo traffic looks mostly green as well - especially when contrasted with LA.
That's because of joeblough and his Super Prius!
posted by scrump at 7:09 AM on April 30, 2007


Clearly it's some sort of evil April conspiracy. April must be stopped.

You know who else was born in April ...?

/Godwin
posted by WPW at 7:13 AM on April 30, 2007


maxwelton writes "Jesus, do people really live their lives that way, worried that terrorists are going to melt freeway overpasses with exploding gasoline tankers?"

It's a perfect ploy I came up with during the 9/11 hysteria. Your cell steals tanker trucks of diesel and rigs them with a small shaped charge basically just large enough rupture the tank. Rig an incendiary that goes off 30 seconds later which will create a medium hot long burning fire.

Drive these trucks to critical bridges and over passes all over the country depending on numbers in your cell. I don't know the states so this is left as an exercise. Park the truck on the bridge at the appointed time; get out; disable the engine (hammer to the battery maybe) and start walking. A minute or two later set off the charges. Dozens or perhaps hundreds would be seriously injured (people milling around the trucks) or even killed and you will have seriously inconvenienced millions of people. Imagine the impact of a coordinated attack on say NYC major crossings. Even bridges normally closed to trucxk traffic could be attacked in this manner.

Heck you could even just lease the trucks thereby avoiding any chance of the ploy being foiled by police looking for the stolen trucks.
posted by Mitheral at 9:12 AM on April 30, 2007


Where is the youtube link?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tjs5ILNkJc


Woah! Nice! .. uh, I mean .. tragic. Yeah.
posted by SilverTail at 9:22 AM on April 30, 2007


Here in Milwaukee, the main freeway interchange has sections that look like the San Fran aftermath, but we did it on purpose.

(Though it is insanely eerie to drive under a section of freeway that doesn't connect to anything.)
posted by drezdn at 9:36 AM on April 30, 2007


Your cell steals tanker trucks of diesel and rigs them with a small shaped charge basically just large enough rupture the tank.

I think it's pretty hard to steal full tanker trucks of fuel.
posted by smackfu at 9:46 AM on April 30, 2007


What if they steal empty trucks, after slowly accumulating McDonalds drippings, then filling the trucks with homebrewed biodiesel...nEnd the ecoterrorist loophole. No more unlicenced biodiesel!
posted by acro at 11:40 AM on April 30, 2007


Man, I gotta say, it sucks to be someone commuting through Oakland, but driving to SF from Berkeley this morning was awesome. I sailed right through the toll plaza, went 70 down the bay bridge, got to work five minutes early when last week I would have been half an hour late. It was glorious! Thank you, tanker!
posted by granted at 11:56 AM on April 30, 2007


dredzn: Here in Milwaukee, the main freeway interchange has sections that look like the San Fran aftermath, but we did it on purpose.

Here's a decent photo on Windows Live Local of the clusterf--k.
posted by desjardins at 1:19 PM on April 30, 2007


smackfu writes "I think it's pretty hard to steal full tanker trucks of fuel."

Hijackings happen all the time. For example the large scale grow ops have stolen super-b propane tankers in BC. And the simplicity of the plan means you don't need a lot of lead time. The charges could be attached with magnets for example.

But like I said you could also lease or buy the trucks and if you had to buy the fuel retail over a short period of time. It's been a while so regulations may have tightened but 10 years ago you could pull up to a refinery with a truck and pup and they'd fill it up on account or for cash. Used trucks are cheap.
posted by Mitheral at 3:48 PM on April 30, 2007


The charges could be attached with magnets for example.

Most flamible liquids tankers are aluminum.
posted by Balisong at 5:39 PM on April 30, 2007


Wouldn't diesel be difficult to ignite? According to my handy Merck Index, Terror! Edition, gasoline is the preferred fuel for fires; diesel is best used for making bombs.
posted by ryanrs at 11:08 PM on April 30, 2007



there's another thing. Books.
posted by acro at 7:53 AM on May 1, 2007


Could be. I was thinking diesel because it has a low flash point meaning a big spill is likely to burn for a long time rather than flash over creating a fireball. Maybe gas or a gas/diesel mix would be better. Add some soap to gel it up a bit. Or some magnesium or aluminium powder to boost the temps and make it hard to douse. This must be what they teach you in terrorist training camp.
posted by Mitheral at 2:10 PM on May 1, 2007


A gas/diesel mix could work. Very effective against ski resorts, I hear.
posted by ryanrs at 4:47 PM on May 2, 2007


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