Gasoline-tanker explosion melts bridge, snarls traffic in Bay Area

Hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents faced a hellish commute today because of a major accident that speaks loads about transportation and convenience in our modern age. Early Sunday, a tanker carrying 8,600 gallons of unleaded gas overturned and exploded, causing a section of highway to melt and collapse. The driver suffered second-degree burns, but extricated himself, and no one else was hurt. Authorities say about 80,000 cars used the affected roads each day, and a ripple effect could hit 280,000 commuters. Gov. Schwarzenegger (R) declared a state of emergency, making Bay Area trains, buses, and ferries free for the day at a $2.5 million cost to the state; transportation officials added trains and urged people to telecommute. “People are going to have to find a different way to work and back home in the evening so we are asking them to plan ahead and do their homework,” said Jeff Weiss of the state Department of Transportation. “This isn’t going to be fixed in a matter of days.”