Maze work ahead of schedule 

Repairs to the Interstate 580 overpass that burned and collapsed two weeks ago are ahead of schedule — a sign that the heavily traveled MacArthur Maze may reopen well before the June 27 deadline set by the state.

Rancho Cordova-based C.C. Myers Inc., which was hired last week to complete the $867,075 project, is already ahead of its own timeline. Workers finished repairing the two damaged concrete columns of the overpass Friday and are continuing to remove soot and burned paint from the deck.

On the morning of April 29, a gasoline tanker traveling on southbound I-880 crashed into a guardrail and spilled 8,600 gallons of gasoline. The resulting fire caused the I-580 overpass above to collapse onto I-880. The damaged portion of I-880 reopened to vehicle traffic nine days after the explosion, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave C.C. Myers Inc. until June 27 to rebuild the I-580 overpass.

Officials from C.C. Myers Inc. have said the project can be completed by June 2, 25 days before the state deadline. An early opening of I-580 would give relief to the 75,000 daily MacArthur Maze drivers who have flooded mass transit and face congested detours.

The company has financial incentives to complete the project before deadline. For each day shaved off the deadline, the construction company will receive an additional $200,000, up to $5 million. For each day the project is delayed, Caltrans will subtract $200,000 from the deal.

This evening, Lathrop-based Con-Fab California Corp. is expected to deliver a 244,000-pound piece of concrete, called a "bent cap," to the site that will connect the two I-580 columns and support the deck of the overpass. Once the bent cap is in place, workers can begin positioning the girders and rebuilding the deck.

Although Lathrop is only 60 miles from Oakland, it will take the concrete company 16 hours to deliver the bent cap, which is 55 feet long, 5 feet wide and about 5 feet high. The truck carrying the structure will park on southbound I-880 below the overpass, and cranes will lift the bent cap onto the top of the two 80-foot columns.

"This is a key component of any freeway structure," Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said Monday. "The bent cap is what gives the columns stability."

Caltrans will close the portion of I-880 below the I-580 overpass from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday so the bent cap can be put in place.

C.C. Myers Inc. expects the first shipment of 260,000 pounds of steel beams to be delivered from an Arizona company by Friday. Once the steel is delivered, workers hope to begin setting the freeway girders this weekend, and pouring concrete for the deck by the end of the month.

arocha@examiner.com

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