New Road Configuration Leads to Nearly 30 Accidents since Opening


The new S-curve configuration on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge that was created to replace the unsafe eastern section has lead to nearly 30 accidents since it opened on September 8. The latest accident involved a Safeway tractor trailer than overturned and blocked westbound traffic for hours on Oct. 14. Authorities believe speed is the primary cause of the truck accident.

It was also the driver’s first time driving on the new road configuration. As a result of the accident, 40,000 pounds of food were left lying in the trailer for hours until another driver was able to get through to get them; people were trapped on the S-curve for 90 minutes, and it took drivers nearly two hours to get from Berkley to San Francisco. The road reopened several hours later.

The speed of the old section of road was 50 mph, but transportation officials have said the new S-curve will be a 40 mph section. Caltrans plans on installing a large sign with a curved arrow to replace another older sign to warn drivers. However, Caltrans may install reflective bumps on the pavement called “rumble strips” before drivers get to the S-curve.

Though Caltrans has decided to install a giant yellow sign, California Highway Patrol has already logged 20 eastbound accidents and eight westbound accidents that are blamed on the curve. Nearly all of them are believed to be because of excessive speed. CHP will be keeping a heavy presence around the area giving tickets and warnings to those they catch speeding.

There is certainly an element of personal responsibility when driving. That is, you choose the speed you travel. However, if you’re used to driving a certain speed over a particular stretch of road and they suddenly change it, then of course problems will arise. Road construction is a fact of life every day in one part of the country or another.

Ample warning of changes should be part of this construction, whether it’s a sign that says there will be lane changes, roadwork ahead, or that a once straight road is now an S-curve, so slow down. Most drivers pay attention to these signs. But the signs need to be there for us to know these things.