April 30, 2007 12:00 PM, EDT

Calif. Crash Could Stall Port Traffic

Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

A fiery explosion from a gasoline tanker crash in Oakland, Calif., over the weekend shut down parts of a major freeway and will pose transport problems for freight coming out of the busy Port of Oakland, news reports said.

The single-truck crash early Sunday caused a 170-foot stretch of a major Bay Area freeway to collapse on the highway below, the Los Angeles Times reported.

After the truck with a trailer carrying 8,600 gallons of gasoline overturned, the fuel ignited and witnesses reported seeing flames shoot more than 200 feet in the air, the paper said. The driver was the only one injured, suffering second-degree burns, but was able to walk away from the wreck.

Repairs are expected to disrupt traffic for weeks or even months, and the cost could run into the "tens of millions," television news reports said Monday.

State officials are concerned not only about commuter traffic, but also about disruption of commercial truck traffic, especially to the Oakland port, the Times said.

Dale Bonner, secretary for the state Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, said that work needed to be done as soon as possible and information needed to get out to truckers so they can reroute around major congestion, the Times reported.

The accident forced the closure of two damaged sections of the heavily traveled feeders to the Bay Bridge, which carries 270,000 vehicles to and from San Francisco and Oakland every day, the Times reported.