The California Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a big rig truck who struck the I-80 freeway overpass on Gilman Street on Wednesday morning then fled the scene, authorities say.
The freeway is open but Gilman Street just below it is closed pending a structural assessment, authorities say. No injuries were reported.
The collision took place at about 10:40 a.m. when the driver of a blue big rig was traveling westbound on Gilman Street. He was hauling a yellow John Deere excavator on a flatbed truck, said Officer David Arias of the CHP’s Oakland office.
The excavator appears to have struck the overcrossing and, instead of stopping, the driver backed up and got onto I-80 eastbound and kept going. “He took off,” Arias said. “The CHP and allied agencies are actively looking for this person.”
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Caltrans responded to the scene to assess the overcrossing for safety. A statement from that agency is forthcoming.
Initially, there were reports of potentially significant structural damage to the overcrossing. An assessment is underway.
As of publication time, all I-80 freeway onramps on Gilman Street were open, but the street below the freeway remained closed, authorities said. The freeway was never closed during the incident.
Update, 1:40 p.m. Caltrans said Gilman Street itself, below the freeway, would likely remain closed until at least 5 p.m. and that the public should avoid the area.
Caltrans workers remain at the scene inspecting the overcrossing to assess all possible damage, the agency said.
One lane of the freeway will be shut down “to accommodate crews inspecting the overcrossing.”
Berkeley police are directing traffic to the frontage road and other detour routes.
Caltrans also noted that a major construction project underway in the area — the installation of double roundabouts on Gilman Street at the freeway — was not damaged in the collision.
Update, 2:30 p.m. The CHP has confirmed that the far right lane of I-80 East would be closed until further notice as a safety precaution for the Caltrans assessment underway. The closure is expected to affect traffic Wednesday afternoon.
The freeway is safe at the Gilman interchange, authorities say.
Note: This story was updated after publication due to the developing nature of events.