In the early hours of April 7th, 1982, a collision in the third bore of the Caldecott Tunnel involving a tanker truck carrying gasoline caused a devastating fire.
The road tunnel, carrying westbound traffic from Orinda to Oakland, acted as a chimney during the fire with the natural draft moving smoke towards oncoming vehicles. Seven people died in the accident, two due to collision injuries, and five killed by smoke and fire. It is thought that the death toll would have been much higher had the accident occurred during the heavier traffic of daytime commuting hours.
The fire-damaged bore was closed for several months to enable over $3 million of repairs to be made. New regulations introduced following the fire restrict the transport of explosive and flammable substances by tank trucks or trailers through the Caldecott Tunnel to between the hours of 3 am and 5 am.