Wet weather jams traffic on I-880

This latest round of storms is being blamed for shutting down traffic in both directions for hours Sunday on Interstate 880 between Fremont and Union City.

Caltrans says the closure is the result of a small mudslide. 

Crews have been working all day to reopen at least some of the southbound lanes, but it's going to take a lot more work to reopen the northbound lanes.

Overnight rain dumped around the Bay Area, soaking the eastern side of 880 just south of Thornton Avenue in Fremont. That hillside finally gave way; spilling debris into the roadway, blocking the drains, and backing up traffic. 

"So, that debris flow pretty much went onto our highway causing some blockage of our drainage and causing that flooding in the northbound and southbound directions," said Pedro Quintana from Caltrans.

Caltrans brought in pumps to try to remove water from the southbound lanes first, hoping to reopen some lanes to traffic. But the northbound lanes, closer to the slippage, would need to be inspected by engineers to see if it was safe for trains to use the overpass. 

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"We are bringing in heavy machinery to get that mud, debris, flow off the highway safely and reopen the highway safely as well," said Quintana. "So, again, we are definitely working with our railroad agency to make sure that abutment is safe."

For drivers, the closure created a major traffic snarl, with northbound and southbound vehicles forced off the freeway for hours. 

The delay was so long that Armando Figuroa, says he was running out of gas. The sides of his truck were then covered in mud. In Spanish, he explained that he had to pull to the shoulder, where it was muddy, but because he has a big pickup truck, he was able to get out of there. 

Other drivers agree it was tough going, and say when they saw the water on the road, they understood why they had to get off I-880. 

"I see it, all on the road, yeah. Under the bridge, that's a lot of [expletive] water there," said Francisco Perez. "A lot of water…but that's just like the weather, we can't do nothing."

Currently, Caltrans still does not have a timeline for when all the water and mud will be cleared and when the bridge will be inspected to confirm that it is safe for trains. 

The hope is both lanes of I-880 will be ready for the commute in both directions on Monday morning's commute.

Caltrans is asking anyone driving in the area to be patient, and slow down for crews working in the area.