Update: Southbound I-680 Finally Reopens, More Than Five Hours After Accident

A Friday afternoon traffic nightmare unfolded after an overturned big rig blocks all four southbound lanes and one northbound lane at midday

The southbound lanes of Interstate 680 in Pleasanton finally reopened about 5:30 p.m., more than five hours after a big rig crashed and blocked the busy freeway.

A Friday afternoon traffic nightmare developed after the big-rig overturned shortly before noon on Interstate 680 in Pleasanton, blocking all southbound lanes and one lane on the northbound side of the highway, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

During the clean-up, traffic on southbound I-680 is being directed around the wreck one vehicle at a time. Traffic was backed up to at least San Ramon.

At 4 p.m., all northbound lanes were reopened. During most of the afternoon, one lane of northbound I-680 was closed. Traffic had backed up past Sunol Boulevard.

Traffic also backed up on Interstate 580 from people who could no longer access southbound 680. Patch readers reported westbound traffic clogged all the way to Livermore.

The big-rig flipped onto its side in an apparently solo-vehicle accident at 11:50 a.m. near the Stoneridge Drive off-ramp, said CHP Officer James Evans.

A Sig-alert was issued at 12:07 p.m. after the entire southbound side of the highway was shut down and one northbound lane was also blocked because of the crash, Evans said.

The 50-year-old driver was heading northbound on Interstate 680 when he drifted toward the shoulder, over-corrected and crashed into the center
divide near the Stoneridge Drive off-ramp, said CHP Officer Shawna Pacheco.

When the truck hit the center divide, part of it crossed the divider and the vehicle landed on its right side, blocking all southbound lanes, Pacheco said.

The driver was pulled out from the truck cab and taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley for a complaint of pain, Pacheco said.

One other car was involved in the crash, but no one in that vehicle was injured, according to Pacheco.

A tow truck arrived shortly before 1 p.m. Crews at 2:25 p.m. were also working to clean up about 40 gallons of spilled diesel fuel from the crash, Pacheco said.

Were you caught in this traffic mess? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Stick with Patch for updates on this developing story.

Bay City News contributed to this story.

Janice P Ellis November 03, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I agree, Mary. When one big rig driver drifted into my lane several weeks ago, as I drove by I could see that, in continuing to glance down, he was TEXTING, which is my driving pet peeve of ALL driiving pet peeves. It didn't used to be that way, but, driving around big rigs is dangerous business these days. You can't know if the driver has been on the road for a few hours, or is already at the daily maximum hours on the road limit or even past it. Plus, (and not all big rig drivers do this, but, some DO), if they're using their cell phones or texting on the road, it's a recipe for disaster. AND, they seem to have this new thing going now, where they drive in lane # 3. My morning commute is 580 westbound, and I've even seem them drive in the SECOND lane there, which is absolutely ridiculous! One particularly bad morning, there were big rig drivers in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lanes, which not only backed up traffic, it could have caused numerous accidents due to us "regular" drivers trying to get around them. I just think it was a miracle that no one was seriously hurt or killed in this accident.
Melissa November 03, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I thought it was okay for big rigs to drive in the second lane? Surely if all trucks were confined to just one lane, it would practically be a stop and go, not to mention merging onto the freeway would be hell. Usually when I see them in the second, they're just passing the slower tractor trailers.
Janice P Ellis November 03, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Maybe I should clarify, Melissa - the #1 lane is the far left lane. The #2 lane is the second closest to the left lane. So, the #3 lane is the second from the right, and the #4 lane is the far right lane. Until the last year or so, big rigs would stay in the far right lane, unless it was necessary and safe for them to move to the #3 lane for vehicles entering the freeway. But, for some of them, that practice has changed. I frequently see big rig drivers driving in the #3 lane. Several weeks ago, during my morning commute on 580 westbound, there were big rig drivers in the #2, the #3 and the #4 lanes, all driving within a few car lengths of each other. I'm not sure what they were thinking, but, it created quite a mess, with dozens of drivers trying to get around them without getting into accidents. Given the sheer number of big rigs on the road, I know it's not possible for them to drive solely in the #4 lane, but, I really think they should absolutely steer clear of the two lanes to the left. Regardless of where they are these days, the drifting thing they've been doing has been making me really nervous.
TrueRealist November 04, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Janice, Being that Big rigs sit considerably higher than 99% of vehicles on the road how could you see that he was texting? Also, you admit that it's not the big rigs causing accidents but rather "regular" drivers trying to get around them. I put the blame on the regular drivers who are in a rush. What you don't understand is that "regulars" drivers are responsible for the vast majority of traffic accidents. If they allowed big rigs to ride in the carpool and there would be less traffic as a result of less vehicles trying to pass big rigs on both sides and merge into traffic where the big rigs are confined.
Janice P Ellis November 05, 2012 at 03:47 PM
They're not 10 stories high, TrueRealist. You can still see into the cab of a big rig. Just like with regular drivers, if the driver continually looks down as they're driving, that's a clear clue that they're texting. Having a normal-sized vehicle drifting into my lane because the driver is texting is bad enough. Having a big rig do the same thing is something else entirely.


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