10:00 AM: A Hayward man was killed this morning when the big-rig he was driving went out of control and plunged over the side of the Bay Bridge, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.

The accident happened at about 3:30 a.m. when the driver of a westbound big-rig carrying a full load of pears lost control on the bridge’s S-curve and went over a traffic barrier, falling about 200 feet to Yerba Buena Island below, CHP Officer Trent Cross said.

The driver was killed and the truck was left a pile of mangled debris. The driver worked for a trucking company based in San Ramon, Cross said. His name has not yet been released.

Cross said the driver was speeding at about 50 mph when the crash happened.

The speed limit on most of the bridge is 50 mph, but the limit drops to 40 mph on the S-curve, with a maximum of 35 mph recommended on the sharpest curves.

Safety has been an issue on the S-curve since the temporary section of roadway was put into place over the Labor Day weekend. Cross said today’s accident was the 44th crash on that stretch.

Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said the problem is drivers’ speed rather than the S-curve itself.

“Nothing is wrong with the design,” he said.

Drivers simply need to slow down, Haus said. “Every single accident has been the result of speed.”

During the bridge’s recent unexpected closure, Caltrans installed reflectors and raised bumps between lanes on the S-curve so that drivers can feel the bumps when they begin to veer out of their lanes, Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said.

Caltrans also laid down a grit surface over a steel section of the S-curve to provide better traction, Ney said.

In the next month, the agency will install additional permanent signage alerting drivers of the lower speed limit on the S-curve as well as radar signs that show drivers their speeds as they pass, Ney said. Caltrans will also place reflective striping on the barriers along the edge of the roadway on both decks.

This morning’s crash caused only superficial damage to the bridge, but tonight Caltrans will be repairing some signage that was damaged, he said.

6:50 AM: One lane is still closed and westbound traffic is experiencing delays on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after a fatal crash at the bridge’s S curve caused a sig alert early this morning.

At about 3:30 a.m. today, a big rig was traveling westbound on Interstate Highway 80 at high speeds when the driver lost control of the vehicle at the bridge’s S curve, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Trent Cross said.

The truck went over the side of the bridge and dropped about 200 feet onto Yerba Buena Island, according to Cross. The driver was killed in the crash.

The far right lane of the bridge’s S curve remains closed on the westbound side while CHP officers investigate the crash, according to the agency. The lane is expected to be closed for at least a few more hours.

The CHP that traffic is backed up from the S curve to the toll plaza, and drivers should expect delays on the bridge. Traffic is moving past the crash site at about 20 to 30 mph.

5:34 AM: A driver was killed this morning after losing control of a commercial truck and driving over the side of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, according to the California Highway Patrol.

At about 3:30 a.m. today, the driver was traveling westbound on Interstate Highway 80 at high speeds, and lost control of the vehicle at the bridge’s S curve, CHP Sgt. Trent Cross said.

The truck went over the side of the bridge and dropped about 200 feet onto Yerba Buena Island, according to Cross.

The driver suffered fatal injuries was pronounced dead at the scene, CHP Officer Ralph Caggiano said.

Firefighters responded to reports of flames caused by the crash, but the fire was out by the time units arrived, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.

The two right lanes of the bridge’s S curve were closed on the westbound side, according to Caggiano. The CHP did not have an estimate of when the lanes might re-open.

5:09 AM:A driver was killed this morning after losing control of a commercial vehicle and driving over the side of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, according to the California Highway Patrol.

At about 3:30 a.m. today, the driver was traveling westbound on Interstate Highway 80 at high speeds, and lost control of the vehicle at the bridge’s S curve, CHP Sgt. Trent Cross said.

The driver went over the side of the bridge and dropped about 200 feet, according to Cross.

The driver suffered fatal injuries was pronounced dead at the scene, CHP Officer Ralph Caggiano said.

The two right lanes of the bridge’s S curve were closed on the westbound side, according to Caggiano. The CHP did not have an estimate of when the lanes might re-open.

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  • bloomsm

    Caltrans is blaming the driver of the big rig for excessive speed. A Caltrans spokesperson also told the Chronicle that most of the S-curve accidents are caused by excessive speeds.

    Right. It has nothing to do with Caltrans deciding to add a chicane to the Bay Bridge, after 70 years without any curves. Given Caltrans’ recent admission that it never tested the original bridge repair for wind-related stress, it seems ridiculous for Caltrans to lay the blame on drivers. Caltrans needs to own up to its flawed designs.

  • over65

    PLEASE GOOGLE “DEFORMABLE KINGPIN” that explains a simple to understand solution to forbid a tractor to follow into destruction during rollover events. The concept is the same as to why you have fuses or circuit breakers in electrical systems in your home, office or car — a failsafe — to prevent further destruction. This innovation is a simple modification of a component, the trailers coupling kingpin, whose design has been a standard for over 70 years, which can be made to deform and not allow an extremely stable tractor to follow to destruction when the trailer, that is the dominant controlling force, is in IMMINENT peril for rollover, that includes also blown over tractor trailers. The NHTSA & FMCSA continue to turn their backs and ignore their past funded research conclusions, as the trucking industry evolves greater unstable tractor trailers on our highways that have a primary attribute for increasing payload capacity. These catastrophes will continue to occur in thousands of accidents of this type each year as they have in the past, and continue to cause infrastructure damage that will harm and kill many hundreds of tractor occupants annually. These combination vehicles are incendiary bombs when carrying flammable material in tankers, and the flash point for these fires starts with the tractors involvement. A statement received from the FMCSA states There are a variety of technologies for preventing rollover crashes and we believe motor carriers should have as much flexibility as possible in selecting technologies to prevent crashes. Clearly the fox is allowed to guard the hen house!!! The harm, death & destruction will continue with combination vehicle rollover accidents. Donald J. Kaleta