Transportation

Interstate 5 open near Tracy after sinkhole forced closure, detour

Interstate 5 re-opened in both directions Sunday morning after a sinkhole had forced the heavily traveled roadway to close near Tracy on Tuesday, a California Highway Patrol spokeswoman confirmed.

The northbound lanes on I-5 opened at 11:23 a.m. on Saturday and the southbound lanes opened Sunday morning, according to a tweet from the Caltrans District 10 Twitter account.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Update: I-5 jso SR-33 - all repairs have been made and all lanes are now open to traffic. Thank you for your patience.</p>&mdash; Caltrans District10 (@CaltransDist10) <a href="https://twitter.com/CaltransDist10/status/739484976173879296">June 5, 2016</a></blockquote>

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During the closure, motorists were to detoured to Highways 33 and 132, and faced up to 30-minute delays.

Caltrans crews found the sinkhole on Tuesday morning while performing routine maintenance on the shoulder of the northbound lanes. Those lanes were closed at noon that day. A hole in a 40-year-old, 36-inch corrugated steel irrigation pipe was the culprit. Maintenance crews began removing the culvert and that work continued as the pipe approached southbound lanes.

Southbound I-5 was closed a 7 p.m. Wednesday as crews investigated those lanes for other possible signs of failure. Caltrans kept the lanes closed so samples could be taken to determine the condition of the soil beneath the road.

Caltrans excavated the southbound lanes and removed the rest of the culvert on Thursday. Rebuilding the road base was the only way to assure safety, Caltrans officials said.

Greg Lawson, Caltrans public information officer, explains the cause of the sinkhole on Interstate 5 near Tracy. The freeway was reopened in both directions on Sunday June 5, 2016.

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