Big rig spill 2 Photo Greg Merritt
A big rig spilled wood pallets on I-80 west of University Avenue early in the morning of March 10, 2015. Photo: Greg Merritt

Drivers are being advised to avoid I-80 in the Berkeley area after a big rig spilled its load of wood pallets by the pedestrian overpass near the University Avenue exit of the freeway at around 5:45 a.m. this morning.

At least one westbound lane was closed by authorities west of University Avenue near Frontage Road, and traffic was still severely backed up several hours after the incident.

At least one westbound lane was closed to traffic as crews tackled the spill. Photo: Greg Merritt

CHP issued a Sig-alert at 6:13 a.m. after the big rig apparently hit a pothole and spilled the contents of its trailer. CHP told local media that no-one was injured in the accident. KCBS 740 said the big rig was carrying pre-fabricated parts for housing and that CHP doesn’t expect the road to be cleared until 10 a.m.

Berkeley police issued a Nixle alert at 7:13 a.m. which read: “Traffic incident on I-80 near University Avenue has closed West Frontage Road between University and Ashby Avenue and will require a detour of traffic. It is unknown how long the road will be closed. Suggest using alternative routes.”

Traffic on I-80 westbound from Hercules to Berkeley was solid, as it was on I-580 coming off the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, according to KCBS. Drivers  looked for alternative routes like San Pablo Dam Road or The Arlington, but found them jammed, too, according to the radio station.

Several Berkeleyside readers complained that a TV truck blocked the bicycle lane adjacent to the freeway while it was covering the incident (as seen on the photo below).

Crews clear I-80 after the big rig spill. A TV truck blocked the bike path while covering the event. Photo: Dr Speed

This story was updated as Berkeleyside gathered more information.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...